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The Influence Of Gothic Literature On Gothic Music

1355 words - 5 pages

The Influence of Gothic Literature on Gothic Music

   Gothic encompasses many genres of expression. Gothic artists speak out through the forms of literature, architecture, film, sculptures, paintings, and music. Many times, one genre of Gothic inspires another, creating fusing parallels between the two. In this way, each genre of Gothic rises to a more universal level, coalescing into the much broader understanding of Gothic. Gothic writers, such as Mary Shelley, influence Gothic music, as one sees in stylistic devices including diction, setting, and tone.



In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley's eerie diction turns otherwise normal elements of life into bizarre institutions, a transition which Gothic musicians frequently utilize. Under Shelley's power, science turns ungodly, men evolve into monsters, and happiness sours into pain. To an audience taught to celebrate science as a positive step forward in mankind, Shelley shows the dark side of technology. Science grows as not a life-giving or life-retrieving tool, but the very temptation which causes the character, Frankenstein, to crawl "among the unhallowed damps of the grave" and lose "all soul or sensation but for" the unwanted recreation of life (Shelley 39). Frankenstein's passion helps no one, but actually forces a being into existence against its wishes and the betterment of the people around it. Similarly, Gothic musicians use diction to taint common human behavior, namely mental contemplation and sexual intercourse. Through the use of diction, the mind becomes "a twenty four hour unblinking watch," (Bauhaus) whose owner himself must trivialize as "silly" in order to come to grips with his thoughts. The depiction of the mind, no longer treasured for its revelations, frightens the listener as a "spy in the cab." Diction turns the situation still uglier, when making love twists into "dangerous dances" with "Piccadilly whores", only existing "for some cerebral fix". In both Shelley's Frankenstein and Gothic music, the writers use diction to reveal men as the scary ones---the true monsters. Frankenstein begrudges his creation, though Frankenstein himself completed the horrifying acts. After all, Frankenstein let the monster loose, almost as if he let his "own spirit let loose from the grave and forced to destroy all that was dear to" him (Shelley 61). The reader cannot blame the monster, who does not know his own frightfulness, but must turn on the doctor who creates him, a sort of mad scientist. Humanity takes on the same transgression in Gothic music. Tones on Tail 's Daniel Ash sings that he is "a vampire" "in this age of frozen freaks," terms to describe today's drug culture (Tones on Tail). Gothic literature, no doubt, influences such perceptions of humanity. Lastly, Shelley uses diction to replace all joy with pain. Though most words in Frankenstein unsettle the audience and portray the characters' situation as grim, some words stand...

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