A. In Chapter 5 of the novel ‘Frankenstein’, Victor creates a being through his applications of modern sciences (of the 19th century) and the ancient sciences (such as alchemy and discovering the elixir of life). In this Chapter, Shelley raises ethical questions about the applications of the rapid progress which science had taken, as well as using grotesque graphic details to repulse the reader. The way in which Shelley directs our sympathies towards Victor and not the creature is also interesting, as it introduces the deliberation of whether Victor is to blame for the creation or that the reader should direct their sympathies towards him.
The response of Frankenstein to his creation is one of repulsion and horror. We see this in the way Frankenstein describes the monster and the fact that he runs away from it because of its physical abnormalities. This shows Victor’s love of beauty (which we see prevail through his love of his mother and Elizabeth), but also succeeds in giving the monster the elevated status of a romantic hero. He is an outcast in society because of his physical appearance, and is forced to flee because of his abnormalities.
The irony of this is that modern society (represented by Frankenstein) created the creature yet also shuns it because it is not deemed fit for society. Victor’s creation elevates him to a godly status, which can lead us to compare his story to God’s creation story. God creates Adam and sees him as ‘good’, and admires him. Victor creates his being and is scared of it, directing intense hatred towards it. From a Romantic point of view, this shows how Victor’s God-fixation has resulted in a perverse creation story owing to the unnatural manner of how Victor’s being was created, thus showing the negative consequences of interfering with nature.
Shelley foreshadows Victor’s reaction to the creature by creating a sad atmosphere. Gothic elements are used in creating the atmosphere such as “The rain pattered dismally. ” ” It was on a cold dreary night in November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils” This creates tension and its makes the reader feel that anything could happen. This creates a Gothic setting for the monsters arrival. Shelley presents the grotesque nature of the creature when describing it. She does this by contrasting things like natural attributes and Gothic attributes.
Mary Shelleys physical description of the monster describes its physical attributes allowing the reader that to create their own image of the monster. “hair was a lustrous black hair and straight black lips” This creates a hideous Image of the monster. It also reminds the reader that although Victor has been able to pick out desirable features for the creature from a range of corpses, he has not been able to stop them from decaying- hence the unnatural yellow and black colours found in his features.
However, as disgusting as the modern reader may find the idea of searching through corpses disgusting, it should be noted that in Shelley’s time, grave-robbing was a common practice, as dead bodies were sold to hospitals to operate upon and use for research. Shelley’s concentration on natural/unnatural features develops when she talks of the creature’s “watery” eyes. He has the eyes of a human being but there is something missing- “same colour as the dun white sockets”.