Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Is 'Frankenstein' purely a gothic horror story, or is it a precursor of modern science fiction?

Essay by sarahkazimHigh School, 10th grade July 2004

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After realising the criteria of Gothic Horror and Science Fiction, this essay will be discussing further these criterion and deciding which one of these two genres does Frankenstein most relate to.

It is accurate to say that a gothic horror story is defined as a frightening story that has echoes of the past and has a constant theme of gloom and the supernatural, which makes it dark and rather threatening. Science Fiction, on the other hand, is fiction based and claims scientific discoveries and often deals with convincing technological events, such as, space travel or life on other planets.

By taking into account the definitions of the attributes, you can clearly see that one of the criteria for a gothic horror story is the use of light and darkness to create a sinister atmosphere. In chapter 5 during the creation of the monster, Mary Shelly effectively uses light and darkness to create shadows and give concealment.

"It was a dreary night of was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out...glimmer of the half-extinguished light..."

In this paragraph Mary Shelley deliberately uses candles as the main light source, which flicker and cause mysterious misapprehensions, for example, shifting shadows.

Following on, another criterion included in a gothic horror is the use of blood and violence. In the book 'Frankenstein', blood and violence was used a great deal, usually on an innocent victim. In the passage below 'Elizabeth' became the helpless casualty of Frankenstein's creation.

"She was there, lifeless and inanimate, thrown across the bed, her head hanging down, and her pale and distorted features...her bloodless arms and relaxed form flung by the murderer on its bridal bier."

This paragraph effectively engenders pity on Elizabeth; it doesn't give much detail...