Essay on Elements of Romanticism in Frankenstein

649 Words Jun 20th, 2009 3 Pages
To what extent do the Frankenstein extracts reflect the central concerns of Romanticism?

Romanticism, a literary movement that emerged in the late 18th century in reaction to the Industrial Revolution, inspired Mary Shelley's “Frankenstein.”Romanticism celebrated life and embraced ideas of intense emotion experienced by individuals, appreciation of the beauty of nature and non-restrictive power of imagination, all of which are explored in “Frankenstein.”Mary Shelley focuses on the central concerns of Romanticism whilst incorporating elements of the Gothic novel, thereby releasing a warning to the responder. Shelley conveys the central themes of romanticism through the complex characterisation of Dr Frankenstein and Captain Walton, as
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Exaggeration is a device used frequently by Shelley, “His full-toned voice swells in my ears; his lustrous eyes dwell on me with all their sad sweetness,” in order to depict the intensity and bring life to the characters. The use of a retrospective narrative, conveys the older, more experienced Frankenstein reflecting on his past mistakes, “How dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge, and how much happier that man is who believes...who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow,” which can be seen as a warning to the Romantics of the effect of living spontaneously and with maximum intensity. The extracts reveal Frankenstein's manipulation of nature and its forces in contrast to an otherwise Romantic celebration of nature. His obsession with animating the dead is seen as “playing God” and acting against the forces of nature, is depicted metaphorically, “the moon gazed on my midnight labours, while, with unrelaxed and breathless eagerness, I pursued nature to her hiding places.”The disaster which his intrusion eventually proves to be supports the Romantic view that nature should be appreciated and not meddled with. The irony, however, is that in order to create life, Frankenstein locks himself up in his laboratory, where he is isolated from life, and nature. Dark elements are evident in Frankenstein's unnatural dream, where his wife

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