The Function of Monstrosity in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
'Frankenstein' is a piece of Gothic literature and was written in the
Romantic era. It was published in the 19th Century and was written by
Mary Shelley. 'Frankenstein' was considered to be one of the most evil
horror stories of its time; it shocked and surprised its readership
due the controversial issues that it addressed. It was inconceivable
that an author could engage with the idea of creating a being from
body parts and bringing it to life. This raised many issues such as,
should we have the right to play God?
In the novel Mary Shelley writes about tragedy, death and romance. It
was thought that perhaps many of the events in her life may have
influenced the events in the story as she suffered a number of
tragedies in her life, two of which where the premature deaths of her
mother and son. In relation to the novel I think that this is very
This is significant because the character of Elizabeth relates to Mary
Shelley in numerous ways: the first being that Elizabeth's mother dies
as did Mary's when both girls were still young. Secondly, Elizabeth
then assumes the maternal role with regard to William her brother, who
later dies; Mary also had a son named William who died.
Monstrosity is apparent throughout the novel in different forms.
Primarily the visual and physical appearance of the creation is
repellant, but also the reaction of the creator and the characters
encountered by the monster reflect an element of monstrosity.
At the beginning Frankenstein is extremely enthralled with the idea of
creating a being. His expectations and standards are high and he wants
his creation to be beautiful. He spends so long in the process that he
becomes mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted. There is a
build-up of tension and suspense within the end of the fourth and the
very beginning of the fifth chapter. It is only in the culmination of
his work that Frankenstein fully appreciates, to his horror, that it
is not a beautiful being that he has created, but a monster. His
realization of this makes him very anxious and apprehensive and he
decided to ignore the situation and not deal with the consequences of
this actions. The following quotes show his despondency and alarm and
how he reacts to the situation,
"How can I describe my emotions at this catastropheâ€¦ "
"The different accidents of life are not so changeable as the feelings
of human nature."
"The beauty of the dream vanished."
These quotes all show that he dreamt of creating something
magnificent, but instead created something monstrous.
His reactions to his creation could be considered hideous or shocking,
because he chose to create this being of his own volition. Now that
the being is finished, he is disgusted and shocked;...