Frankenstein and Romanticicsm - "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley

Essay by lilbreeUniversity, Bachelor'sA, May 2006

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Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is among the best Romantic/Gothic novels. Shelley incorporates many ideas stemming from Romanticism into the novel. Some of these ideas are the power of nature and addressing emotions. Shelley also alludes to another Romantic writer, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and his most famous Romantic poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

The most prominent theme of the Romantic era is nature. Romantics involve themselves with the natural world rather than the modern technological world. This idea that nature overpowers technology is shown through the monster. Victor Frankenstein tries to defy nature and "play God" by creating his own life form. Once his experiment is over, he realizes the monster is not the perfect human being he was hoping for. Since nature is the only pure source, there is no way a corrupted human could create the ideal man. Throughout the novel, weather plays an important part in foreshadowing the mood of the monster.

On a sunny day, the monster saved a girl from drowning. When he is seeking his revenge on Frankenstein, he is plowing through a snowstorm looking for him.

Another major characteristic of Romanticism is the examination of inner feelings. The monster immediately begins to express feelings when he escapes and is repeatedly beaten by the horrified town. He retreats off into a forest where he realizes that he is lonely. Shelley writes of this to show society how it is corrupt. Things are constantly being rejected from society for being "inhuman" or "abnormal." In response to this, the monster isolates himself in nature, much like many Romantic writers.

By alluding to other Romantic literature, Shelley is making it even more apparent that Frankenstein is a Romantic piece. The albatross and the ship being stuck in the ice in Frankenstein are parallel to that in The...