Although Gothic novels were written mainly to strike terror in their readers, they also served to show the dark side of human nature. Many of the above mentioned elements appear in Frankenstein. Nature is used frequently to create atmosphere. It predicts forthcoming events (e. g. the rainstorm on Victor’s wedding night foretells something evil is about to occur, when there is warm weather Victor and the monster have their spirits lifted). The eerie atmosphere of Frankenstein is typical of the gothic tradition. Victor, unafraid of the dark, spends his time in vaults and charnel houses.
He visits the cemeteries at night, and such details as the creaking doors, the soft blowing of the wind in the still of the night and the quiet footsteps in the house all succeeds as a gothic horror or even a ghost story. Another element is sickness. Throughout Frankenstein, several characters grow sick during periods of extreme stress. Sickness serves as an escape from life’s harsh reality. It also seems to foretell horrible future events. Science fiction explores the marvels of discovery and achievement that may result from future developments in science and technology.
Mary Shelley used some of the most recent technological finding of her time to create Frankenstein. She has replaced the heavenly fire of the Prometheus myth with the spark of newly discovered electricity. The concepts of electricity and warmth led to the discovery of the galvanization process, which was said to be the key to the animation of life. In fact, it is this process which animates Frankenstein’s monster. The relationship between the creature and Frankenstein changes during the story. However, this isn’t just for the better Frankenstein changes his feeling towards the creature, but then quickly changes back to his gut feeling.
The creature first tries to understand why Frankenstein had decided to leave him alone. Once he had read the books the creature had understood why Frankenstein left him alone, but this then made him angry as he then understood why everyone had attacked him. It was at this point the creature had realised he had to get back at Frankenstein but had to do it without a physical force but had to make Frankenstein see it from his point of view. At this point I believe that the creature had a bit of respect for Frankenstein and thought he would grant him his wish, and when he spoke to Frankenstein it seemed to be working.
However when Frankenstein didn’t grant him his wish he had to resort to physical force to get his wish. It was then the creatures feelings had turned from respect to hatred towards Frankenstein. The creature later states that all the killings did not make him feel better. He says that he was “the slave, not the master, of an impulse which I detested, yet could not disobey”, a state somewhat similar to the Victor’s obsession with science. The monster, just as Victor, reaches a point where he has no feelings left except for hatred.
Frankenstein is the tale of a man doomed to failure and death for his desire to play with nature. By creating a destructive being, in human form, that he cannot control, Victor Frankenstein brings about his own ruin. Frankenstein neglects to take responsibility for his creation, abandoning him, resulting in the murder of his most loved ones as the creation’s revenge. In his idealism, Frankenstein is blinded and is unable to predict the drastic effects of giving life to a being that could never be entirely accepted by human society, that further the creation’s unkindness.
Lastly, consciously choosing to pursue his creation in vengeance, Frankenstein’s sufferings are finally obliterated, for he was well aware that it might lead to his ultimate doom. The creation of an unloved being and the search for a death cure hold Victor Frankenstein more responsible for his own demise than the creation himself. Chapter five begins with ‘it was a dreary night’, which sets the tone for the rest of the chapter. This immediately tells the reader that all hasn’t gone according to plan. The word dreary gives an impression of quite a lengthy but pointless attempt at something.
It also tells the reader Frankenstein’s feelings of tiredness. He called his life long dream a catastrophe, when he saw it come to life. He then goes on to describe it, he says ‘beautiful-great god! His yellow skin scarcely covered the works of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing, his teeth of pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips.
‘ Mary Shelly has created contrast in this quote to show all of the work wasn’t a complete failure. Mary Shelly has also used pathetic fallacy to describe Frankenstein’s feelings. This is when authors describe the settings from the point of view of the character, which tells the reader the feeling of the character. Once again the quote ‘it was a dreary night’, which describes Frankenstein’s feelings to us. Frankenstein realises what he had done and was so disgusted he ran out of the room leaving the monster to fend for himself.