Explore the ways in which Shelley uses place, setting and the natural world in Frankenstein.

Essay by MeganMcRobbieHigh School, 12th gradeA-, November 2014

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Megan McRobbie ! Explore the ways in which Shelley uses place, setting and the natural world in Frankenstein.!! Shelley opens Frankenstein in the barren setting of the Arctic, onboard Walton's expedition to discover uncharted territory and satisfy his ambition. This could be considered a typically gothic setting due to being uncivilised, remote and a place of overwhelming "desolation". However, it defies gothic conventions with it's "wonders and beauty", as despite the wilderness, Walton depicts no fear at the scene only excitement as to what lies ahead. This Arctic setting, perhaps represents a place of discovery, as they enter land previously unexplored by humanity, this creates parallels between Walton and Frankenstein, linking to the gothic features of doppleganger and the liminal, as both characters are looking to seek and shatter the limits of human understanding. This Arctic also structurally frames the novel, featuring as both the opening and concluding setting, therefore serving as the place of failure where everything eventually accumulates. This idea supports the interpretation that Frankenstein is a cautionary tale about the dangers of overreaching ambition. It is notable that Shelley uses such an extreme setting, an unexplored "wild" where Frankenstein confesses his narrative, the reasoning behind placing the unimaginable tale within an extreme landscape is to not only reflect extremities, but also to take the reader away from "normal" society to an inventoried setting, where it can therefore be believable. This setting is outstanding evidence of Shelley's use of the Romantic sublime. Walton describes himself as being "surrounded by ice" making human life appear small and insignificant against the vast power and size of nature.!! Arguably the most gothic setting Shelley describes in Frankenstein is Ingolstadt, where Frankenstein himself partakes in "nights in vaults and chamber houses" tis is conventionally gothic as graveyards in particular are obviously highly...