‘Frankenstein’ is a popular classic novel, read by many people, and written by a young woman named Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley. The novel came about being written because Shelley and a friend were taking part in a competition to see who could tell the best ghost story. Mary won this competition, and it even became a best seller with readers who are still fascinated by the storyline today. Shelley was born on August 30th, 1797, in London. Shelley’s mother tragically died whilst giving birth to her. Percy and Shelley had met as a teenager and fell in love; he later edited her copy of ‘Frankenstein’.
It was published on January 1st, 1818 and immediately became a bestseller. Sadly, three of Shelley’s four children died in infancy, then her husband drowned. She then became seriously ill and died in London, February 1851. There are six main characters included in this novel, first of all, Victor Frankenstein, the main character in the novel throughout. He is a Swiss man who attended University, there he learnt about science and was fascinated by the creation of human life, leading to the birth of the creature.
The creature himself is also a main character, assembled from dead body parts and chemicals, stands 8 foot tall, and is very ugly, therefore doesn’t fit in with society as they cannot understand him, he then turns evil and starts to murder people close to Frankenstein. Elizabeth Lavenza is Frankenstein’s girlfriend who then becomes his wife, but tragically gets murdered by the creature on their wedding night. Robert Walton is the main narrator to Frankenstein’s story who picked up Frankenstein from his chase after the creature.
Justine Moritz is a servant’s daughter, who was later hung for a crime she didn’t commit, (The murder of Frankenstein’s brother). Finally, Henry Cleval, Frankenstein’s best friend from University who helps Frankenstein when he falls mentally ill. The themes used throughout this novel are: ‘Dangerous knowledge’, because Frankenstein attempts to out power all human limits and create human life unnaturally, also Walton is trying to get to the North Pole, which man could not yet do.
Frankenstein shows us how dangerous it can be to go too far, by dying due to the creation of the creature, which Walton realises and therefore quits his journey in case he too turns out dead longing for his passion. ‘Sublime nature’ is showed because Frankenstein goes to the mountains, which are beautiful, and clears his mind. ‘Monstrosity’ is one of the main aspects, seen as the creature is a monster and is what the novel revolves around.
‘Secrecy’ is used because Frankenstein keeps the creation of his creature a secret from everyone, including his family, most importantly Elizabeth, who he breaks up with because of his dark secret. ‘Letters’ are used to communicate the story; notes, journals, inscriptions and books are also a part of the novel. ‘Language’ helps the monster greatly, as he must teach himself how to speak and read so he can later communicate and read Frankenstein’s journal, which helps him to understand why he was created.
‘Abortion’ is a motif in this novel, as when Frankenstein first creates the creature, he immediately wants to destroy him and wished he had never created him, “When I thought of him, I gnashed my teeth, my eyes became inflamed, and I ardently wished to extinguish that life which I so thoughtlessly made”, and the creature similarly feels the same, “I, the miserable and the abandoned, am an abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on”, both of them wish that Frankenstein hadn’t created the creature. Frankenstein then aborts the creation of the lady monster he had begun creating.
‘Light & fire’ are a part of the novel, light symbolises knowledge, discovery and enlightment, the natural world is dark and secretive, and it is then the scientist’s job to find the light at the end of the tunnel. The monster was excited at his first sight of fire. Frankenstein used transplants to create the monster, which are commonly used to save people’s lives today. ‘Frankenstein’ is written as a Chinese-box-narrative. Three narrators are used, these are, Walton, Frankenstein and the creature, which creates more effect, as we know the feelings and thoughts of each character, therefore can feel what emotions each character has.
Most of the novel is written in ‘epistolary’ form (letters), which makes the story more interesting rather than a normal prose. Frankenstein describes his childhood, he tells the reader how he went to University to study natural philosophy and chemistry. He spends his obscene amounts of time creating life out of dead people’s body parts, until finally he brings the creation to life, however this is not how he imagined it to look, far too ugly for the human eye to perceive.
Frankenstein runs to his best friend, Henry and when they return, the monster has vanished. Frankenstein becomes very mentally ill. The creature murdered his younger brother, however Justine Moritz got the blame and was hung. Frankenstein takes a holiday to the mountains where the creature approaches him, who admits the murder of his brother but begs for forgiveness, and for Frankenstein to understand why he committed this crime. He is lonely and wants Frankenstein to create a lady friend for him.