How Does Frankenstein Reflect Its Distinctive Context?

1039 Words5 Pages
Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, published in a period of change and progression reflects the philosophies and attitudes of its time. In the 18th and 19th centuries the gothic novel came into popularity and gained a cult following. The writing style of Frankenstein features many elements which are also prevalent in the gothic novel. The ideologies of the Romantic period are also reflected in the novel through Victor’s awe of nature which was a common theme in Romantic philosophy. The period in which Frankenstein was written was also a time of great change. In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley questions the suppression of the working class and the creature’s hunting down of Frankenstein can be seen as representative of the rise of this working class. The gothic novel rose to popularity in the late eighteenth century, partly due to a desire to escape the reality of the terrific events of the French Revolution through literary extremes, and its many elements are reflected in the novel, Frankenstein. The gothic novel can be considered an amalgamation of elements of romance, the natural and supernatural, monstrous all set in a landscape of macabre and desolation. Although the setting of Frankenstein cannot be considered desolate and macabre the themes of the natural and supernatural are certainly prevalent. The origin of Frankenstein itself stems from a challenge from Byron to write a ‘ghost story’. Shelley took this challenge to mean the creation of a story which inspired fear in its reader. The appearance of the monster itself generates fear in the reader and fits into the gothic theme. “His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath” reveals Victor’s horror when he first sees his creation come to life. What follows can also be considered part of the gothic theme; Victor flees from his creation and takes to the streets. He dreams of Elizabeth
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