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Bronte's "Wuthering Heights" And Shelly's "Frankenstein": A Comparison Of Gothic Films

2149 words - 9 pages

The Gothic genre is a very fascinating one because it is one of mystery, suspense, and high emotion. With intriguing elements and its out of the ordinary style, the gothic genre has captivated readers for centuries. Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" is a classic gothic novel which has been adapted into a film directed by Kenneth Branagh. This film can be perceived as a typical gothic piece because the archetypal elements such as dark setting, horror, and suspense are apparent. However, in the film adaptation of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, directed by Peter Kosminsky, it is harder to identify the gothic elements as they are more obscure, therefore making it difficult to recognize as a gothic work. Although there is a vast difference between the two films, one can see how they both classify as films of the gothic genre. They may contain different Gothic elements, especially because Shelley's Frankenstein is more of a horror film, while Bronte's "Wuthering Heights" is more of a romance. Despite the fact that the gothic elements differ in the two films, there is no doubt that Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights is a gothic film. The Byronic hero, melodrama, and the metonymy of gloom and horror are typical characteristics that categorize Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights as gothic compared to the archetype Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.The Byronic hero or "anti-hero" is a critical gothic element. It can be described as a character in which the viewer roots for and sympathizes with even though they may have traits that make them seem cold-hearted or even mad. This character type is reflected in both the protagonists in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights and Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein". Although the characters of the films may both be considered Byronic heroes, the two characters differ greatly. Victor Frankenstein's monster is one of the Byronic heroes of Mary Shelley's film. He is Byronic in the sense that he is revengeful and frightening. Frankenstein's monster hurts people and plots his revenge, "I will have revenge!" (Frankenstein, 1994). Frankenstein's monster goes on a rampage because he is a victim of a cruel experiment and cannot function in society as others do. However, Frankenstein's monster seeks revenge by physically harming others, compared to Bronte's film where main character Heathcliff seeks revenge on others in an emotional and psychological way. The protagonist in Emily Bronte's film is Heathcliff, an orphan from the streets of Liverpool who has been welcomed into Wuthering Heights, the house of a higher class family in which he goes through many obstacles in terms of love, degradation, and vengeance. Heathcliff is a Byronic hero who differs from the protagonist of Mary Shelly's film. Heathcliff's tragic flaw is ambition since he uses this to get back at those who have wronged him throughout his life. Heathcliff acts revengeful because of the way he has been treated, whereas Frankenstein's monster is revengeful because of his physical...

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