Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
‘Frankenstein is full of ideas and warnings which are relevant to a
-Discuss the enduring appeal of the novel.
Despite being over a century old, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein has
continued to hold public interest for nearly two hundred years. The
novel was published 1818 and is one of the most acclaimed gothic
stories in the history of literature. It has remained a firm favourite
with audiences of the past and present, and has been adapted and
re-told many times through various different kinds of media, for
example; radio programmes, theatre, art, children’s comic books and
cartoons, television and film versions.
Shelley, daughter of one of the first feminist thinkers of the age,
Mary Wollstonecraft, came from a well educated background, of the
artistic and intellectual elite of the time. However, she grew up in
most unusual circumstances; her parents never married (which was
frowned upon) and she herself went on to have children (out of
wedlock) with the famous English poet Percy Shelley.
The idea for Frankenstein developed when Lord Byron, Shelley, Mary
came together in the summer of 1816 in Geneva. On a fateful day, they
were confined indoors due to rain. Byron came up with the idea that
each of them should write a ghost story to pass time. It is thought
she took many ideas from Percy Shelley's ‘Prometheus Unbound’ and most
of Frankenstein became based on the limitations of being a human
Mary Shelley alone succeeded in creating a story that would later
become one of the most famous of all time. In the preface to
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley states that the book was conceived in a
dream in which she saw a "pale student of unhallowed arts putting
together the hideous phantasm of a man." She writes, "the idea so
possessed my mind that a thrill of fear ran through me, and I wished
to exchange the ghastly image of my fancy for the 'realities around'."
She realized that what terrified her would also terrify others, and so
she formulated her story.
Frankenstein has prevailed for many different reasons including some
of the following;
Ÿ It is interesting and has been very well written.
Ÿ It is a provocative gothic novel with an appeal of mystery.
Ÿ It raises all sorts of (moral) issues throughout- some that have
been explored in the text are still relevant to today’s world (prejudice,
parenting, morality, and scientific advances.)
There is no doubt that many factors influenced and inspired Shelley
to write Frankenstein; we know that she had learned about various
philosophical and scientific doctrines. Galvanism (the re-animating of
a corpse) was a popular topic of discussion and interest at her time,
and it seems this was an important influence for...