Gothic horror has been described as "delightful horror". Focusing on chapter five of "Frankenstein", how has Shelley used the gothic genre to explore deeper issues?

Essay by Sophie_06High School, 11th grade March 2006

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Mary Shelley was brought up in radical surroundings. Throughout her life she was dominated by writers and poets. She had a very intellectual and opinionated family; her mother was a campaigner for women's equal rights and her father was a political free thinker.

Chapter 5 reveals that Mary Shelley has overturned the usual gothic conventions. She uses violent thunder storms to create an eerie, tense and ghostly atmosphere. The storm in chapter 5 is undramatic, it lacks violence and power which is completely different from the usual convention of a thunderstorm. Thunderstorms are usually the climax of what is happening but in this case its gives a sense of foreboding, a sense that something drastic is about to happen. The storm could reflect Victor's obsession in his creation as this lead him to become dull and miserable. The scene is lifeless to emphasise the horrific and monstrous creature that Dr.

Frankenstein brings to life.

At the beginning of chapter 5, a contrast between light and dark is shown. Darkness encroaches on the light as the "candle was nearly burnt out". Shelley builds up the description of the creature and begins with the "dull yellow eye". By doing this Shelley builds up tension. It is a kind of calm before the storm until the monster is actually completely revealed.

Shelley uses subliminal mental landscapes to communicate with Victors feelings. They reflect his shifting mental stability. Sublime landscapes are the only landscapes extreme enough to communicate with his "painful state of mind". Dr Frankenstein's ability or power over bringing something so grotesque and macabre to life, lead him to retreat from the society in which he lives and isolate himself in the confines of his creation.

"Dear mountains! My own beautiful lake! How do you welcome you wanderer? Your summits...