Mary Shelley's Frankenstein As A Critique On Romanticism

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Frankenstein as a Critique on Romanticism
The Romantics focused on creating work that was truly original and spontaneous. In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley does not reject this desire to create, but she critique parts of it. She attacks the unrelenting obsession to create that drives Victor and Walton. This view of Romanticism reflects her own experience with the movement. She accepted many Romantic principles, but had seen her loved ones become obsessed with a desire to write something novel and lasting. This was true for Samuel Coleridge whose obsession and addiction destroyed him and her husband, who was similarly obsessed. Her view of Romanticism was also shaped by her issues in childbirth that caused her to experience loss, and see the difference
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I do not think that the pursuit of knowledge is an exception to this rule.” (Frankenstein 34) This statement is similar to much of Wordsworth’s writing about creation coming from moments recalled in tranquility. (Wordsworth, 1800) And in that way is seemingly Romantic. But Shelley is also criticizing the Romantic pursuit of knowledge, if it knocks life out of of balance. Shelley believes in Romantic philosophy, but thinks that it can be taken too far. Knowledge and creation may be beautiful, but if they become one’s only focus they lose their meaning and disrupt …show more content…
She appreciates the sublime and beauty in nature, and writes beautiful descriptions of nature in Frankenstein. But she also saw the other side of the Romantics and their pursuit of new creation. This desire often consumed them and led them away from their families like Victor. This pursuit once taken up drowns out the beauty of nature and replaces the sublime with a crass ambition to make something new. Shelley never says that appreciating nature is wrong, she actually positively portrays beauty through Clerval. But the desire to create new literature should never outweigh desire for one’s family. Because of her young child’s death Shelley sees that real life outweighs literary creation. Shelley also discusses having to destroy something old to create something new. Victor and Walton both destroy old bonds and end up failing to achieve their goals while neglecting their families. Victor’s self reflection binds together many of the principles she has discussed, but even after acknowledging his faults he cannot let them go. Shelley does not say that creation should never be attempted. Instead, she cautions against becoming consumed with creation at the expense of all else. Shelley is making a moral argument that there should be balance in life and everything should be taken in

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