Year12 Literature Long Essay
Discuss the societal bourgeois ideology and Romantic ideology that informs construction of Shelley's narrative in her novel, Frankenstein.
Mary Shelley lived during the eighteenth century, a time of great social upheaval. It was during this time that the Bourgeois or middle class ideologies were becoming ever more prominent. It was Bourgeois ideologies such as religion and education that helped to inform the construction of Shelley's novel Frankenstein. Mary Shelley was a writer who was greatly influenced by the ideologies generally associated with romanticism. It is then clear to see through her exposure to these ideologies; Shelley relied upon her experiences to help inform the construction of the narrative in her novel Frankenstein. Featured quite heavily in her novel are the romantic ideologies of the fear of scientific experimentation and the superiority of nature.
The Bourgeoisie were people who were considered to be middle class and who endorsed the ideologies associated with the middle class.
In a Bourgeois society, knowledge equates to power. Only males had the opportunity for a structured liberal education. Victor and Henry both attended university in Ingolstadt, where Victor, who was passionate about his study, further developed his fascination for natural philosophy.
"...but with all my ardour, I was capable of a more intense application, and was more deeply smitten with the thirst for knowledge..." (pg 38)
At the heart of Shelley's Frankenstein, is the pursuit of knowledge. Victor attempts to surge beyond accepted human limits and access the secret to life, while Walton attempts to surpass previous human exploration, and reach the North Pole. This ruthless pursuit of knowledge proves to be dangerous for both Victor and Walton. Victor's act of creation results in the demise of all those close to him, and Walton finds himself trapped dangerously between sheets...