‘Frankenstein’ is a novel written by Mary Shelley in 1818. The story is about a young professor named Victor Frankenstein who created a being but realised that by doing so he may be putting his loved ones lives at risk, so he abandoned it. The story frightened many people as it was around the time of the industrial revolution and represented fears that many Christians had that scientific progress would go too far. Also during that time society was heavily influenced by the opinions of the church, so people didn’t want to displease god by taking the right that only he should have.
The novel attempted to illustrate what may happen if science went past the limitations it should respect. Mary Shelley uses language to create a sense of horror. One example is the use of use was 1st person narrator an example of this is ‘how can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe? ‘ This means that he is amazed at what he has done and that he can’t explain his feeling towards the disaster by using the word catastrophe the reader gets a sense of just how wrong this has gone, it is a disaster. Another technique she uses is pathetic fallacy which contemplates the mood of the story by using weather symbolically.
Evidence of this is in the opening paragraph of chapter 5, the author states, ‘it was a dreary night in November’ which means that the dreariness of the weather makes the atmosphere ominous and scary. Another example of pathetic fallacy can be seen when the author writes, ‘rain pattered dismally’. This means that the rain pattered causing gloom or dejection. Another device used is strong descriptive language and this is illustrated by the phrase’shrivelled complexion’ which addresses a sense of the monsters ugliness because it’s revolting by using the word shrivelled the reader gets a sense that the monster is dead yet somehow alive.
Another device she uses is contrasting imagery such as, ‘his teeth of a pearly whiteness… only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes’. This quotation juxtaposes the idea that the monster is both beautiful and ugly, simultaneously. Shellay uses pearly to illustrate the colour of the monster’s teeth and she uses watery to show that the monster’s eyes are different to humans. Moreover Mary Shelley used foreshadowing to create a sense of horror. Foreshadowing conditions the reader for later events in the novel, by hinting at them in a metaphorical way.
One example of this is when Victor Frankenstein dreams – ‘I thought I saw Elizabeth in the bloom of health… but as I imprinted my first kiss on her lips, they became livid with the hue of death’. This dream suggests that later in the book the monster will kill Elizabeth. The link the monster has with the dream is that the way she died in the dream may be the way she will end up when the monster will kill her. This dream creates tension for the reader because the dreams subject changes unexpectedly from love to death.
Mary Shelley uses repulsive images to enhance the sense of horror, evidence of this is ‘I saw the grave-worms crawling in the folds of the flannel’, This quotation makes the reader feel scared and imagine images like grave-worms, which is a visceral image. Lastly Mary Shelley uses references to other texts to enhance the sense of horror created in this passage. The references are important as by including these Shelley creates links to highly important and influential texts in the readers mind.
This extract relates to the description of Jesus’ death in Mark 15:33-34 ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? ‘because Jesus feels the same way as Victor Frankenstein as he feels forsaken meaning abandoned by god. This would be frightening for the 19th century because it was a very religious time back then and everyone was Christian also everyone read the bible so after seeing something so similar written in the bible happening in real life would be quite shocking. Mary Shelley used the stanza from ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ ‘Because he knows, a frightful fiend doth close behind him tread.
The ancient mariner feels guilty and feels that he has betrayed god by killing the albatross also he is frightened that the albatross is following him. Frankenstein feels guilty and feels that he has betrayed god by attempting to wield the power of creation, which, is only gods right by creating the monster. To conclude my essay I think that chapter 5 is quite a horrific chapter due to the fact of all the dramatic language devices that were used. In the 21st century many people may not find Frankenstein horrific as it doesn’t connect with modern day horror stories or their audiences.