the gothic setting of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Essay by angie1High School, 10th gradeA+, February 1996

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Frankenstein: What makes it a Gothic Novel?

One of the most important aspects of any gothic novel is setting.

Mary Shelly's Frankenstein is an innovative and disturbing work that

weaves a tale of passion, misery, dread, and remorse. Shelly reveals the

story of a man's thirst for knowledge which leads to a monstrous creation

that goes against the laws of nature and natural order. The man, Victor

Frankenstein, in utter disgust, abandons his creation who is shunned by

all of mankind yet still feels and yearns for love. The monster then seeks

revenge for his life of loneliness and misery. The setting can bring about

these feelings of short-lived happiness, loneliness, isolation, and despair.

Shelly's writing shows how the varied and dramatic settings of

Frankenstein can create the atmosphere of the novel and can also cause

or hinder the actions of Frankenstein and his monster as they go on their

seemingly endless chase where the pursuer becomes the pursued.

Darkly dramatic moments and the ever-so-small flashes of

happiness stand out. The setting sets the atmosphere and creates the

mood. The "dreary night of November" (Shelly 42) where the monster is

given life, remains in the memory. And that is what is felt throughout

the novel-the dreariness of it all along with the desolate isolation. Yet

there were still glimpses of happiness in Shelly's "vivid pictures of the

grand scenes among Frankenstein- the thunderstorm of the Alps, the

valleys of Servox and Chamounix, the glacier and the precipitous sides of

Montanvert, and the smoke of rushing avalanches, the tremendous dome

of Mont Blanc" (Goldberg 277) and on that last journey with Elizabeth

which were his last moments of happiness. The rest goes along with the

melodrama of the story. Shelly can sustain the mood and create a

distinct picture and it...