Victor Frankenstein is a young scientist who was fascinated and obsessed with electricity and the idea that you could use it to create a human being. He attempts to recreate a human life and creates a monster out of body parts. When it awakes he is so terrified of it and what he has done that he runs away. The monster, seeing his creator gone, leaves the laboratory. He has to learn about life on his own. The first thing that he sees in the world is evil. So the monster starts its revenge on Frankenstein by killing his brother, William, and blaming it Justine, the maid.
She in turn is killed for the murder of William. After this Frankenstein vows to find his creation and kill it. He follows his monster all over Europe and Russia and almost succeeds in doing so in the North Pole. Victor dies and the monster runs into the distance. Mary Shelley wrote the book because she was interested and inspired by the use of science and the consequences of it when used incorrectly or in the hands of the wrong person. She was finding out about the essence of life. I think that the message she was trying to get across was the question “what makes a human?
” because if it is just body parts then Frankenstein would have succeeded but he didn’t so it is clearly more than body parts that makes a human being a human. In the 1800s there were many experiments being conducted over the use of electricity and a lot of scientific discoveries were being made. In 1802 Luigi Galvani experimented with frogs and believed that he had discovered electricity in human limbs. In 1803 Aldini attached a battery to a corpse of a criminal. In 1818 the first (unsuccessful) blood transfusion was at Guys Hospital in London. At the time many people were interested in science and the discoveries being made.
Edward Jenner discovered vaccination and many people disagreed with the fact that science was messing with God. They thought that using some of the disease in the vaccination to stop from getting the illness in the future was wrong. Lots of people would rather have taken the risk and got smallpox. In the 1800s very wealthy and more educated people would see an experiment as a social event and would find it very interesting and entertaining. The picture by Joseph Wright shows a group of wealthy people dressed up in their finest clothes to watch an experiment. It was an experiment on a bird in an air pump.
Mary Shelley would have done this and found it very enjoyable and entertaining. It shows a scientific experiment harnessing the forces of nature for man to use. The picture of Blake’s Newton portrays a challenge of creationism showing how the precision of science can be used to create the world over nature. It makes out that Newton is more important that a regular human being. That he is God and is using mathematical and scientific skills and equipment to map out the world and create it. This would then link in with the idea of creationism and that life and earth was actually created by God in 6 days.
This picture shoes man interfering with the design of the world. People would argue that God controls everything in nature and it is not up to man to interfere. The fact that scientists would use electricity to make something inanimate, animate, is something that people would argue as wrong and impossible, just like Mary Shelley did when she wrote Frankenstein. Also, back then, experiments on bodies and body parts were illegal and anyone who found out about it would be shocked because it wasn’t something you did. Mary Shelley makes the act of creating the monster unnatural.
The setting seems dark and sinister. “Dreary”, “dismal”, “dull”, “half-extinguished”. These all make the atmosphere of the room seem almost unbearable to live or work in. “Half-extinguished light” shows us that not only is the light nearly fading out but Frankenstein has lost his energy and has worked hard for a long time. He has half the energy and strength than before. “The different accidents of life are not so changeable as the feelings of human nature. ” This shows us that Victor Frankenstein is breaking the laws of nature. That the monster he is creating is unreal and hideous.
Mary Shelley uses pathetic fallacy to show you that Frankenstein’s state of mind is very tired, weary and anxious as to what he has built, his creation appears to have emotions and feelings of its own. “I had deprived myself of rest and health”, “but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished”. Frankenstein had lived and breathed the making of his monster with no rest and yet when it was complete he was horrified and disgusted with himself for what he had done. The story is set in a traditional gothic setting. It is very spooky, dark and secret.
It helps hide all of the secrecy of the monster and the fact that Frankenstein is breaking the law. For example, when he says, “I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into and inanimate body” he is telling us that he has been working on an experiment to create a life from human limbs using electricity which, is illegal. The weather shows personification as it is described in a very explicit way to create the feeling that Frankenstein’s feelings are similar to the stormy weather: angry, tired and weary.
It is a very stereotypical scene with the rain patting against the window and the dark dreary night. “It was already one in the morning”. The setting relates to Frankenstein’s state of mind. He is scared, confused, lost. He is trapping himself inside the room blocking out the outside world. The stormy scene creates and angry atmosphere. This influences Frankenstein’s state of mind and emphasises his feelings. We immediately get the impression that the monster is an unnatural creation. “Yellow skin”, “hair was of a lustrous black”, “straight black lips”. These all show us that he has unnatural features.