Creating a Real Human Being in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Mary Shelley was a Nineteenth-century English novelist. Mary Shelley,
the wife of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, is best known for her
philosophical gothic horror story Frankenstein which was wrote in 1816
and published two years later in 1818. The novel was produced during a
time of great upheaval and change, and in the era of 'Romanticism'.
This was a reaction to the previous 'age of reason' where social
order, science, and rationality had dominated the way of thinking.
'Romanticism' celebrated emotions, the exotic, and nature over
technology and the individual self.
The idea of 'Frankenstein' came to Mary one night when she was staying
by a lake in Geneva after telling frightening stories with her husband
Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron. That night Mary had a terrifying
dream, she told her husband about the dream the next morning and he
encouraged her to develop and expand on what she had dreamt. In the
novel, scientist Victor Frankenstein infuses life into a collection of
inanimate body parts, the "birth" of his creation overwhelms
Frankenstein with the horror of what he has done.
The novel 'Frankenstein' is an example of gothic horror. This genre
became widely enjoyed because it was adventurous, imaginative and
exciting, a complete contrast to all that had gone on during the age
of reason. 'Frankenstein' includes some classic characteristics of
gothic horror. For example, 'Frankenstein' is set in wild/remote
locations, uses imaginative plots and deals with the subjects of
identity and the individual self, set apart from society.
Certain key events in Mary Shelley's life may have affected and
influenced her writing of Frankenstein, for example, she experienced
much tragedy throughout her life, with the death of her mother,
sister's suicide, and her miscarriage. Her miscarriage made her become
increasingly fearful in the advances in medical science at the time;
she became very worried about the idea of creating life un-naturally.
'Frankenstein' deals with this issue as Victor is so obsessed with
creating un-natural life he creates a 'monster' out of human body
parts, thus, un-naturally. Mary grew up without a mother and was not
close to her father this would have resulted in her feeling rejected.
The 'monster' in 'Frankenstein' also experiences rejection as he is
rejected by Victor. Throughout Mary's life, she occasionally suffered
from deep bouts of depression. During these times she experienced
severe feelings of loneliness and isolation, which are the 'monsters'
main feelings. She experienced the darker side of human nature just as
the 'monster' does in 'Frankenstein'
The question I will focus my essay on is, 'to what extent did Victor
create a real human being? This is very debatable. Certain things