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Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: A Gothic Novel

1613 words - 6 pages

Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein is one of the greatest Gothic novels to come out during the Romantic Period. Frankenstein is a prime example of what a Gothic novel should present to its reader through the genre’s twisted themes. Even though it was written in the Romantic period, Mary Shelley still wrote Frankenstein to be a Gothic work of literature. Many characteristics of Gothic novel can be seen within this novel. Mary Shelley’s outstanding novel Frankenstein is a prime example of a Gothic novel because of the many characteristics of a Gothic novel that point it to being a Gothic work.
The Gothic genre, or otherwise known as a Gothic romance, was a popular form of literature during the time that Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein. Mary Shelley used the Gothic genre of Romantic literature in the writing of the novel Frankenstein. She a may have even been influenced by the Gothic structure, Castle Frankenstein, to write the Gothic novel Frankenstein (Williams 3). Gothic novels were a type of fiction that became popular in England during the 1700’s and early 1800’s (Dunn 279). Gothic novels were mysteries that often involved the supernatural and heavily filled with horror (?). Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein was one of the most prominent Gothic novels in the time of the Romantics (?). According to Frank J. Dunn, “In the 1800’s, elements of the Gothic novel appeared in other forms of fiction that shared its interest in the terrible and the exotic (279).” Gothic novels follow a set of many characteristics and aspects that help define what it truly is. Gothic novels have many different characteristics: they evoke terror both physical and psychological, they have character that keep themselves isolated in time or space from contemporary life, they have a story told through inserted letters, documents and multiple points of view, they have elements of the uncanny that challenge reality, including mysterious events that cause the protagonist to question the evidence of his or her senses and the presence of seemingly supernatural beings, and the have an atmosphere that is commonly full of gloom, terror, or mystery. (Abrams 117-118). Frankenstein shows these characteristics in the way that Mary Shelley structured the complex and fascinating story. It can easily be seen that Frankenstein is a Gothic novel.
For instance, Frankenstein definitely evokes terror through both the physical and psychological violence (Abrams 117-118). Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein uses this Gothic characteristic through the monster both physical and phycological. In Frankenstein, the monster is described as being hideous and physically grotesque. Victor Frankenstein describes him as, “His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same color as the dun-white sockets in...

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