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Gothic Romanticism in Frankenstein

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Lindsey Hudson

on 24 November 2013

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Transcript of Gothic Romanticism in Frankenstein

Characters react based on their emotions rather than taking a more rational approach
Emotional healing may be found in nature
The most significant imagery is that of nature
The disenfranchised man, or a man unable to live in society, was a popular character
Deals in the supernatural
Set in exotic and beautiful places
Made ordinary happening appear wonderful and inspiring
Gothic Literature
Spin-off of Romantic literature
Antecedent to the contemporary horror movie
Nature has the power to destroy
Mood is indicated through weather
Suspenseful and mysterious
Utilizes the macabre, or the grisly/terrifying
For example: death or injury
Frankenstein has characteristics from both types of literature
Emotional Healing
Gothic Romanticism in Frankenstein
A novel written by Mary Shelley
Published in 1818
To summarize:

By Lindsey Hudson
A Quick Review
Victor Frankenstein, an ambitious scientist, reanimates a dead body. He is horrified by the results and abandons his creation. The creation, however, is a sentient being who is rejected by humanity because of his appearance. He is eventually pushed to the breaking point. He takes revenge on Victor, his creator, by killing Victor's friends and family. Victor chases the monster across the world in the direction of the North Pole to take his revenge.
Frankenstein was written in the Romantic and Gothic periods of literature
Romantic Literature
Emotional healing is found in nature
Set in exotic and beautiful places
Characters react based on their emotions rather than taking a more rational approach
Gothic Traits
Nature has the power to destroy
Use of suspense
Utilizes the macabre, or the grisly/terrifying
For example: death or injury
This is known as
Gothic Romanticism
When Victor Frankenstein is mourning William Frankenstein (his brother) and Justine Moritz (a friend), he wanders through a valley.
Regarding this, he says, "These sublime and magnificent scenes afforded me the greatest consolation that I was capable of receiving. They elevated me from all littleness of feeling," (Shelley; ch. 10).
This quote shows that being with nature helps Victor recover from his loved ones' deaths. Nature has the power to heal.
At one point in the novel, Frankenstein's monster is rejected by a family he has come to care about. As a result, he is in a bad emotional state. The next morning, however, "[t]he pleasant sunshine and the pure air of day restored [the creature] to some degree of tranquillity," (Shelley; ch. 16).
This quote illustrates nature's ability to provide healing for anyone, even someone who is considered a monster.
Exotic and Beautiful Settings
Switzerland is an exotic and beautiful location. Geneva, in Switzerland, is Victor Frankenstein's birthplace.
Victor describes the nature surrounding Geneva: "The road ran by the side of the lake, which became narrower as I approached my native town. I discovered more distinctly the black sides of Jura, and the bright summit of Mont Blanc. I wept like a child. "Dear mountains! my own beautiful lake! how do you welcome your wanderer? Your summits are clear; the sky and lake are blue and placid"," (Shelley; ch. 7).
This quote depicts the beauty of Switzerland. It would be considered exotic as well because many of the people who read Frankenstein had never been to Geneva, Switzerland.
Some other exotic settings of the novel Frankenstein are:
Lake Como, Italy: Vacation place for the Frankenstein family.
Ingoldstadt: Victor goes to college here and creates the monster.
Mont Blanc (Chamonix): Victor encounters his monster and hears his tale.
Orkney Islands, Scotland: Victor begins to create a mate for his creature (and then has second thoughts and stops).

Characters React Emotionally Rather Than Rationally
By the end of the novel, Victor Frankenstein and his monster have engaged in a mindless chase.Victor describes it: "I pursued him, and for many months this has been my task. Guided by a slight clue, I followed the windings of the Rhone, but vainly. The blue Mediterranean appeared, and by a strange chance, I saw the fiend enter by night and hide himself in a vessel bound for the Black Sea. I took my passage in the same ship, but he escaped, I know not how. Amidst the wilds of Tartary and Russia. . .I have ever followed in his track. . .To you first entering on life, to whom care is new and agony unknown, how can you understand what I have felt and still feel?" (Shelley; ch. 24).
The chase is not rational at all. Rather, Victor is driven by emotions, specifically anger and hurt.
In the novel, the monster is rejected by people he cares about. The people are so afraid of them that they flee their cottage.
The monster describes his following actions: "I lighted the dry branch of a tree and danced with fury around the devoted cottage. . .with a loud scream I fired the straw, and heath, and bushes, which I had collected. The wind fanned the fire, and the cottage was quickly enveloped by the flames, which clung to it and licked it with their forked and destroying tongues," (Shelly; ch. 16).
This shows that the monster's actions are based on his anger towards those people. He does not rationally consider that setting fire to the cottage will not help him; he does it only to vent his fury.
Nature has the Power to Destroy
The Macabre
Works Cited
In the novel, Victor marries a woman called Elizabeth Lavenza. On their honeymoon, a storm begins. Victor describes the scene: "The wind. . .rose with great violence in the west. The moon had reached her summit in the heavens and was beginning to descend; the clouds swept across it swifter than the flight of the vulture and dimmed her rays, while the lake reflected the scene of the busy heavens, rendered still busier by the restless waves that were beginning to rise. Suddenly a heavy storm of rain descended," (Shelley; ch. 23).
Following, Frankenstein's monster appears and murders Elizabeth.
This shows how nature can be destructive in the novel. It is gruesomely destructive here, as Victor's innocent wife is gruesomely killed.
The monsters first victim is William Frankenstein, Victor's brother. As Victor makes his way home to join his family in mourning, a storm begins:
"[F]lashes of lightning dazzled my eyes, illuminating the lake, making it appear like a vast sheet of fire; then for an instant every thing seemed of. . .darkness, until the eye recovered itself from the preceding flash," (Shelley; ch. 7).
Following, Victor sees his brother's murderer, his monster for the first time since he had abandoned him. The monster continues to be destructive throughout the book. This is only the beginning, and the storm foreshadows the coming destruction.
The macabre includes gruesomeness and death. Here is a list of characters that die in Frankenstein:
William Frankenstein
Justine Moritz
Henry Clerval
Elizabeth Lavenza
Alfonso Clerval
Victor Frankenstein
The monster (commits suicide, but isn't shown)
The description of Elizabeth's corpse is particulary horrifying: "She was there, lifeless and inanimate, thrown across the bed, her head hanging down and her pale and distorted features half covered by her hair. Everywhere I turn I see the same figure—her bloodless arms and relaxed form flung by the murderer on its bridal bier," (Shelley; ch. 23).
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus. N.p.: Project Gutenberg?, 1993. Gutenberg.org. Project Gutenberg, 17 June 2008. Web. 05 Nov. 2013.

Lowe, Sean. "Frankenstein: A Mix of the Gothic and the Romantic." Frankenstein: A Mix of the Gothic and the Romantic. Tripod, 10 Oct. 05. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.

Fox, Stacy. "Romantic and Gothic Representation in Frankenstein." Portfolio Page. N.p., 31 Jan. 2007. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.

Frankenstein Book Cover. Digital image. Knowledge Lost RSS. Wordpress, 2010. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.

Frankenstein's Monster. Digital image. Kellyann Zuzulo. Wordpress, 26 Oct. 2012. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.

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Healing Sun. Digital image. Zen Gardens. Zen Gardens Consulting, 2012. Web. 22 Nov. 2013.

Switzerland. Digital image. HD Wallpapers. HD Wallpapers, 2009. Web. 23 Nov. 2013.

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Dead Looking Emoticon Face. Digital image. Vector Toons. Google+, n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2013.
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