The Fulfillment Of The Definition Of Gothic Horror By Chapters 5 And 4 Of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

2352 words - 9 pages

The Fulfillment of the Definition of Gothic Horror by Chapters 5 and 4 of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

'Frankenstein' is a gothic novel, a type of novel most popular between
1760 and 1820. The main components of the gothic novel are mystery,
horror, and the supernatural. The word 'gothic' itself has several
meanings. It can mean harsh or cruel, referring to the barbaric Gothic
tribes of the Middle Ages. However, gothic novels typically feature
wild and remote settings, such as haunted castles or wind-blasted
moors, and their plots involve violent or mysterious events. Sometimes
events are represented in an uncannily macabre way. Occurrences in
such novels feature melodramatic violence and often, strange
psychological states are also explored.

The word 'Frankenstein' has become synonymous with monsters,
originating from Mary Shelley's tragic saga about a pioneering and
well-meaning disciple of science and his almost-human creation. There
were several factors which influenced the writing of the book. Many
breakthroughs took place in the field of science, especially in the
areas of biology and chemistry. Shelley was the daughter of two of
England's most intellectual radicals. Her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft,
was an established feminist who specialised in education and women's
rights. Her father, William Godwin, was a well-known political
philosopher and novelist. Shelley never met her mother as she passed
away several days after giving birth, but was nevertheless inspired by
her works and reputation. While being brought up in a well educated
and literary household, Shelley was inspired by all those around her
to write her novel. She eloped, aged 16, with Percy Shelley an admired
poet. She subsequently gave birth to four children in five years. Many
critics have pointed out that contrasting themes of birth and death
were much on Shelley's mind at the time she wrote 'Frankenstein.'

In the introduction to the 1831 edition of 'Frankenstein,' Mary
Shelley discusses how she came to write her famous novel. In the
summer of 1816, she and Percy Shelley were living near the poet Lord
Byron and his doctor-friend John Polidori, on Lake Geneva in the Swiss
Alps. During a period of constant rain, the four were reading ghost
stories to each other when Byron proposed a challenge to write a story
to 'chill the bones'. Shelley was kept awake for several nights
thinking of a story. Then, while she was listening to Percy and Byron
discussing the probability of using electricity to create life
artificially, according to a theory called galvanism, an idea grew:
'Perhaps a corpse would be re-animated; galvanism had given token of
such things: perhaps the component parts of a creature might be
manufactured, brought together, and [endued] with vital warmth.' The
following day she started work on...

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