Gothic Symbolism In Frankenstein

1072 Words 5 Pages
Extracts derived from Letter IV of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein foreshadows the elementary ideas that are instilled during the course of the novel. Throughout key ideas and motifs such as the pursuit of knowledge and the dangers involved, appreciation for nature and the sublime, elements that make this a gothic text, the recurring motif of life and death or light and dark. These ideas are found throughout the text and consistently recur. Shelley instilled these ideas because of the political perspectives that would have influenced her, her husband the romantic poet P.B Shelley her father William Goodwin and his friend the Scientist Erasmus Darwin.
The pursuit of knowledge and the dangers involved in that is perhaps the most repetitive moral
…show more content…
Possibly influenced by the science of the time the novel involves dead bodies and the theory of ‘galvanism’ which are a clear indicator of its Gothic genre status. The setting of the scene in letter IV “wild and mysterious regions” gives the artic an eerie and solitary feeling, a popular convention in gothic novel. Moreover, later in the novel setting “unhallowed damps of the grave” and “collected bones from charnel houses” creates a sinister atmosphere, while highlighting the length Victor will go to, often willing to meddle with death a gothic notion. Of course, the monster has to be the most gothic part of the novel, repulsed tone “Thin hand raised in animation… lineaments of his face irradiated by the soul within…strange and harrowing must be his story;” Victor alluding to the monster during dialog with Walton, casting the monster as a broken and damaged creature, gothic in appearance. Relatedly, when Victor first creates the monster he is repulsed. Disgusted description, literary allusion “yellow skin… horrid contrast…watery eyes… straight black lips” “even Dante could not have conceived” referencing Dante who came a with horror in his work, like ‘The Divine Comedy’ filled with unimaginable nightmares, yet Frankenstein had created something more gothic and horrendous. Without a doubt gothic themes are seen in letter IV and then …show more content…
In letter IV the contrast/juxtaposition “ones man’s life or death” is used to represent an ultimate price, but runs deeper as it is seen throughout the novel, this a foreshadow to its appearances later. After a narrative shift, repetitive juxtaposition “life and death appeared ideal bounds… pour a torrent of light into our dark world” as Frankenstein describes his experiment, using the life death/light dark motif to describe how he is transcending the natural order, alluding tho his omnipotence. Again narrative shift, the monster uses sublime description and personal pronouns “gentle light stole over the heavens… enlightened my path” light a positive force allowing for visibility and guidance, the contrasted “was dark when I awoke … I felt cold and half frightened” where dark is paired with discomfort and pain, once again juxtaposing two different ideas. Both life death/light dark are used throughout the novel and often intertwined to help juxtapose the two different ideas.
With the example of life death/light dark in mind, Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ incorporates many fundamental ideas, some of these seen in letter IV. The pursuit of knowledge and the dangers involved is a consistent theme throughout the text alongside a Romantic Movement based appreciation for nature and the sublime. Also, the elements that make this

Related Documents