Published in 1818, Mary Shelley’s novel is styled with Romanticism (the descriptions and prose), Gothic (atmosphere and setting), and Horror (story and plot). At first I felt pity for the Frankenstein monster, but the story did give way to horror. I was not scared so much as fascinated by the way the death and violence unfolded. The set up of the novel is interesting too because there is a lot of characters telling each other stories: Victor Frankenstein telling his story to the narrator Walton, and the monster telling Frankenstein of his own story early on. The monster is really eloquent due to his readings of classic works. In the film versions, I think they dumb his rhetoric considerably. I think this is a testament to the time because everyone just spoke elegantly compared to now. The character of Victor is introduced as this broken but noble man, and as you read his story, the huge mistake in his life becomes him. He goes from being just a solitary, content young man to someone full of despair, self-pity, and misanthropy. The character is best seen at the beginning and at the end when he has accepted his mistakes and actions. There are few themes that can be read into this story. The references to Paradise Lost made me consider the idea of inheritance of the earth and who has more right? The monster says, “You are my creator, but I am your master; -obey!” Does Adam do unto the Earth because he is created to inhabit it? Does Lucifer have rights to rebel once he is created? Once we create, what are our responsibilities and what is that in which we’ve made? The novel did ask questions about the limits of man in science and technology. A quick and enjoyable classic.
I loved this when I read it in university. I should read it again.
Aha, so this is a quick one too! I don’t know why, but I expected it to be long. I must read it. I think it’s interesting what you say about elegant speaking because it is something I’ve often wondered – did they really speak like this then – or is this how it was expected themselves to speak?
Victor may have been written as a noble but there was never a being less noble than he was. He not only brought it all on himself, he let all those innocent creatures – and I include Frankenstein – deal with the fallout of his vainglory.
The prose was wonderful.
Do you know the story of how this came to be written? It’s an interesting one.
I had an unnatural adversion to re-reading books, especially books assigned to me in school, this is on my short list of exceptions. I think it’s a wonderful little book, I loved and feared the monster on the first read and the fasination continues.
Nice review. I enjoyed Frankenstein, so much better than most of the film versions, but I felt it was TOO quick. Shelley took a lot of “short cuts” IMO.