Theme Of Gothic Villains In Frankenstein

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‘Mad, bad and dangerous’, how accurate is this description of Gothic villains in the texts studied?

The quote ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’ was originally attributed to Lady Caroline Lamb in description of Lord Byron. The Romantic poet was infamous for his behaviour: excesses including huge debts, numerous affairs and aristocratic living. In the Gothic context, however, the concepts of ‘madness’, ‘evil’ and ‘danger’ take differing, more threatening forms. The role of the ‘villains’ in ‘Frankenstein’, ‘Dr Faustus’ and ‘Wuthering Heights’ are varied, and for the larger part the antagonistic/protagonist dynamics do not necessarily align with a traditional ‘hero/villain’ paradigm.

In Frankenstein, the obvious ‘villain’ seems to be the Creature, in that he exhibits the most violent, damaging behaviour, notably the murder of William Frankenstein and Elizabeth. Physically, the Creature falls into a typically threatening model, being of ‘gigantic stature’ and inhuman ‘deformity’. Frankenstein’s ‘horror’ at the Creature on first seeing him after the ‘ardour’ of the creation process is complete implies the terrifying nature of the Creature’s appearance. The appearance of the Creature is central to the narrative, as it shapes the response of others and yields the isolation
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In chapter sixteen, for example, the Creature saves a girl from drowning, only for her guardian to shoot at him, assuming the Creature is a threat. This incident,

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