What aspects of Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ contribute to its status as a gothic novel? Focus on the characterization of Victor Frankenstein and the monster, the setting, and the historical and social setting. In 1816 Mary Shelley wrote this original story that is ‘Frankenstein’. ‘Frankenstein’ is a Gothic Novel, which certainly contains a number of Gothic features, which are used throughout the whole story. The Gothic was part of the Romantic Movement that started in the 18th Century and lasted until the 1830s. Gothic Novels are based on imagination, which allows people to indulge in their fantasies.
It was thought that Mary Shelley dreamt this original idea up in a nightmare she had. A lot of the Novel would be affected by what was going on around Shelley at the time. Before and even whilst Shelley was writing Frankenstein there was a lot of deaths in her life. There are many aspects of this novel that contribute to its Gothic Status. The character of Victor Frankenstein has many characteristics that add to the novel’s Gothic status. One well-known feature that is used in Gothic literature is that elements of the supernatural are used:
“Unless I had been animated by a Supernatural force. ” (Chapter 4. P. 49) This quote by Victor Frankenstein portrays the idea that the author could be a medium for some sort of supernatural force. The idea of Victor being animated could also be linked to the idea of him creating a monster later on in the story. The thought of a human being wanting to create life out of other animals is obviously a shocking idea. In Shelley’s time science was progressing which could also have been one of the main ideas for this storyline.
There was a famous painting in this time called ‘The Nightmare’ which could also have been the basis for this idea. A lot of people may think that Victor is just an odd, unusual man. However, Victor Frankenstein does not just want to make a monster for a hobby. He wants to break down the boundaries of science and achieve something that has never been done before: “Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of life into our world. ” (Chapter 4. P. 51) This quote by Victor shows that there are boundaries such as life and death that he wants to break through.
This quote could also show some of Shelley’s emotions and could be linked to her life. Mary Shelley’s life contained a lot of deaths with her mother dieing days after having her. Her sister and husband also died whilst she was writing Frankenstein. Mary would have been very angry and upset at this time and I think the latter part of the quote shows that she is expressing her anger in the book. One main feature in Gothic literature is that the main character is usually a solitary figure with a self-centred nature with spiritual and social isolation.
This feature definitely matches Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ as Victor is the main character and does everything on his own without a word to another human being: “I determined to visit some remote spot of Scotland to finish my work of solitude. ” (Chapter 19. P. 158) This clearly shows that Victor Frankenstein is a solitary figure that is obsessed by his work and needs to do it in isolation. He is determined to find somewhere he can be alone where nobody can be alone where nobody (except maybe the wretch) can see what he is doing. Victor is like this throughout the story in isolation.