Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and the features of Gothic.

Essay by bellj16 April 2003

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In What Way Is Frankenstein a Gothic Novel?

Gothic novels originated from gothic architecture, this medieval type of architecture was pointed arches, cathedrals, ruins and ancient statues, therefore these novels where very often set in a gloomy castle replete with dungeons, subterranean passages and sliding panels. Gothic novels were written mainly to evoke terror in their readers; they also served to show the dark side of human nature. They describe the "nightmarish terrors that lie beneath the controlled and ordered surface of the conscious mind." The foundations that make an excellent gothic horror novel are the inclusion of supernatural elements, a story line that builds up suspense and tension, which also frightens the reader. There should also be a struggle between good and evil, this is represented in the cathedrals where god is good against the cold gloomy atmosphere and the gargoyle statues that sit on top of the cathedrals, which is evil.

These gargoyle statues inspired writers because of their scary looks, which was to drive away any evil spirits. The weather is also an element, which should be included, where the atmosphere is overcast and dull. Surprisingly, there were a vast number of female Gothic authors. Mary Shelly was one and she used some of the most recent technological finding of her time to create Frankenstein. She has replaced the heavenly fire of the Prometheus myth with the spark of newly discovered electricity. The concepts of electricity and warmth led to the discovery of the galvanisation process, which was said to be the key to the animation of life. Mary was born in Somers Town, Great Britain, in 1797. In 1816, her and her husband went abroad, this time spending time with Byron and his friend Polidori in Geneva. Their Byron suggests that they should all write...