Look at the Significance of Chapter Five to the Novel as a Whole: Frankenstein' by Mary Shelly

Essay by //darkgerm June 2006

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Mary Shelly's novel, 'The Modern Prometheus' also known as 'Frankenstein', is about a man, Victor Frankenstein, who has the desire, some may say an obsession, to create a human creature, and bring it to life. It ends up with disastrous consequences. Frankenstein is a complex novel, written in 1818, when the author was challenged to write a horror story. In 1816, Shelly was in Geneva, Switzerland, on a trip with her husband, Percy Shelly, and his friend and associate Lord George Byron, who challenged them all to write their stories. At Eton College Shelley had become interested in Luigi Calvani's experiments with electric shocks to make dead frogs' muscles twitch. Shelly allegedly had a dream, in which she said that she witnessed

"the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with a uneasy, half vital motion.".

These were the two reasons that Shelly spoke of to chose to write the novel that she did.

At the time Shelly published Frankenstein, 1818, people of the day disbelieved that a nineteen year old woman was capable of writing a horror novel such as "The Modern Prometheus". Because of the way that the people of the time felt, Mary Shelly published the book anonymously, but many people wrongly believed that the author was her husband, Percy.

In my opinion, the most important and significant chapter in the book is chapter five. This is the chapter in which Frankenstein's monster is finished and brought to life. We see that the scientist has begun going almost in to a trance to complete the monster, and does not think of the consequences. One knows this because of the line

"I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded...