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Gothic Theme In Chapter 5 Of Frankenstein

1543 words - 6 pages

Gothic Horror has been described as “delightful horror”.
Focusing on Chapter 5 of Frankenstein, how has Shelley used the
Gothic Genre to explore deeper issues?

The term ‘Gothic’ conjures a range of possible meanings, definitions and associations. It explicitly denotes certain historical and cultural phenomena. Gothicism was part of the Romantic Movement that started in the eighteenth century and lasted about three decades into the nineteenth century. For this essay, the definition of Gothic that is applicable is: An 18th century literary style characterized by gloom and the supernatural. In the Gothic novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, a wide range of issues are explored. Frankenstein represents an entirely new vision of the female Gothic, along with many other traditional themes such as religion, science, colonialism and myth.

Mary Shelley, the author of the novel Frankenstein, was born on August 30th 1797. He father, William Godwin, was a philosopher, and her mother was Mary Wollstonecraft, who is still well known for being an author and one of the first feminists. But unfortunately Mary Shelley’s mother died of puerperal fever ten days after giving birth to her daughter. As Mary’s father was a philosopher, Mary had to listen to many intellectual talks. Mary was strongly impressed by the brilliant talks she listened to since she was young as she was surrounded by famous writers and philosophers. The intellectual environment in which she lived stimulated her Romantic sensibility and the political revolutionary ideas of the time. Later on in life Mary married a man named Percy Bysshe Shelley. Percy was a poet and a member of the Romantic Movement. But unfortunately Mary had to elope with Shelley at the age of 16 as he was married to another woman named Harriet Westbrook who later committed suicide. The couple eloped to continental Europe where they lived near the poet Lord Byron. Mary and Percy had four children, of whom only one survived. Mary Shelley had a dream shortly after the death of her first child. In the dream, Mary found that her child was not actually dead, but that the child was only cold, they wrapped up the child and rubbed it by the fire and the child survived, - this theme is considered in the novel.

Mary Shelley was 18 years of age when she started writing Frankenstein, and she was 20 years old when it was published. When Frankenstein was first published, many people thought that it was her husband Percy who had written it. Unfortunately for Mary, her husband drowned during a sailing trip in 1822. Mary had experienced a lot of death of loved ones in her life, which is perhaps what led her to write a story about the boundaries between life, and death, and how they can be pushed. Mary Shelley first began to write the novel for a competition with her friends to see who could write the best ghost story. Her life, the death of her children and the dream she had after the death of her first child, probably had a lot of...

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