LITB3 Elements of the Gothic Mind Map (relating to Frankenstein, The Bloody Chamber and Dr Faustus

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  • LITB3 Gothic Genre in relation to Frankenstein, The Bloody Chamber and Dr Faustus
    • FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley (1818)
      • PORTRAYAL OF WOMEN- Elizabeth is a completely passive character and she does whatever Victor tells her to, which eventually gets her killed by the Monster. However, there is the minor character of Safie to consider, as she bravely defies her father in order to be with Felix
      • RELIGION- Victor knowingly aspires to become a being with godlike powers over  life and death. However, the fact that the Monster is more hideous than intended indicates that, as a man, Victor is not capable of achieving perfection
      • THE OTHER- the Monster is so hideous that no one can look at him without feelings of disgust
      • MARRIAGE/SEXUALITY-Victor is very uncomfortable about marriage, his relationship with Elizabeth being completely asexual. His dream of his mother may indicate that his love is for her, not Elizabeth. By creating the Monster from dead body parts, Victor eliminates the need for the mother. By contrast, the Monster wants nothing more than female companionship
      • SOCIAL CLASS-many critics have argued (due to Shelley's radical views) that the Monster is symbolic of revolution against the careless upper-class (represented by Victor). However, the Monster's brutal killings can be seen as a condemnation of the mob violence of the revolutions themselves
      • ISOLATION-both Victor and the Monster are isolated. However, whereas Victor chooses to isolate himself, the Monster is forced into isolation because of his pariah status
      • FAMILY-Victor's relationship with his family is ambiguous-he is often praising their qualities, yet he knowingly isolates himself from them, in favour of fulfilling his own goals. His appreciation for family values is ironic, given that he is a terrible father figure for the Monster
      • PERSECUTION- The Monster is persecuted simply because of his unsightly appearance (it is telling that the only human who shows him any kindness is the blind DeLacey). Also, Safie's Islamic father is portrayed negatively
      • THE HERO-VILLAIN- Victor, whilst he is ostensibly the protagonist, has many undesirable traits-e.g. his cold refusal to acknowledge any wrongdoing he committed against the Monster, his arrogance etc. Meanwhile, whilst the Monster is a murderer, he usually shows remorse for his crimes and he is capable of great kindness
      • THE SUPERNATURAL-Whilst the supernatural does not appear in the traditional sense (i.e. black magic and monsters), there is a "scientific supernatural", of man-made origin
      • DEATH-The vast majority of Victor's loved ones-and Victor himself-are conclusively dead, whilst the Monster is presumed dead. The high presence of death is thought to have been largely inspired by the numerous deaths in Shelley's life e.g. her husband, her children etc.
      • THE LIMINAL-As a being made from dead body parts and as an "artificial" construction, the Monster straddles the point between life and death
      • OVERREACHER/FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE-Victor is an overreacher, seeking power over life and death, knowledge forbidden to him. His punishment is to have his loved ones die. The novel's subtitle likens Victor to Prometheus
      • ENTRAPMENT-For part of the novel, Victor struggles with the dilemma of whether to create a female creature as the Monster has demanded (and risk the creation of a race of Monsters) or refuse (thus risking the lives of his loved ones). In the end, he destroys the female, leading the enraged Monster to murder Henry Clerval and Elizabeth
      • DOPPELGANGERS-The Monster can be said to represent Victor's dark side-the Monster's killing of Elizabeth could embody Victor's fear of women
      • THE ABHUMAN- The Monster is far stronger than the average human, as he can easily kill an ordinary human
      • METAMORPHOSIS-No physical metamorphosis,but there is psychological metamorphosis, as both Victor and the Monster have become embittered and vengeful by the end
      • TABOOS AND TRANSGRESSION-Victor's grave-robbing to find body parts for his creation would have shocked at least a few people in Georgian Britain, as would Victor's desire for control over life and death
      • INSANITY-Twice in the novel (firstly after he has created the Monster and secondly after learning of Clerval's death), Victor'outbursts of hysterical terror lead those around him to believe he is mad
      • THE PAST-The novel is set during the 1790s, the decade in which the French Revolution took place
      • REVENGE-Victor and the Monster both seek revenge on each other-the Monster for Victor's abandonment of him and Victor for the Monster's killing of his loved ones
      • OPPOSITIONS-Some of the personality traits of Victor and the Monster are completely opposite-e.g. whilst Victor is a perfectionist, the Monster is far more easily satisfied; whilst Victor is governed by his emotions,the Monster is more logically minded etc.
      • AMBIGUITY AND UNCERTAINTY-Victor is the Monster's creator, yet it is the Monster who exerts the most power
      • HORROR/TERROR- An instance of terror is where the Monster ominously warns Victor "I will be with you on you wedding night", as the reader knows that the Monster has something evil planned. The descriptions of the killings elicit horror from the reader
    • THE BLOODY CHAMBER by Angela Carter (1979)
      • PORTRAYAL OF WOMEN- given Carter's feminist stance, it is not surprising to learn that most of her female characters-especially the mother in the title story-are independent heroines who don't conform to patriarchy. In TLOTHOL, the gender roles are reversed-it is the young soldier who is the innocent virgin, not the Countess
      • THE OTHER- the Beasts in TCOML and TTB, the werewolves in TCOW,TW and WA and the vampiress in TLOTHOL all fit into this category
      • RELIGION-Carter clearly has very negative views of religion, as it is depicted as completely useless against paranormal threats in WA and TCOW
      • SETTING- as the majority of the tales are based on European folklore, all are set in one area of Europe or another
      • SOCIAL CLASS- most of the stories revolve around those with wealth-class is not really an issue that is explored in these stories
      • ENTRAPMENT- in TBC, after he learns of the narrator's discovery of the chamber, the Marquis cuts off all the phone lines and sends away his servants, so that the narrator is truly alone. In TEK, the Erl-King has transformed several girls into birds, then imprisoned them in cages
      • FAMILY-family is presented in various ways. In TBC, the narrator and her mother share a very strong bond, as do the narrator and her father in TCOML. However, the father in TTB simply gambles his daughter away as though she were just another possession, whilst the girls in TCOW and TW are'nt even bothered by the deaths of their grandmothers
      • PERSECUTION- In TW, the grandmother is killed because she is a werewolf and is suspected of being a witch
      • THE HERO-VILLAIN- Most of the "monsters" have human traits and are to some extent sympathetic, whilst the "human monsters", such as the Marquis in TTB, have no sympathetic traits whatsoever
      • THE SUPERNATURAL-The stories are littered with anthromorphic animals, werewolves, spirits and vampires. There is also magic in some of the stories
      • DEATH-the Marquis and his previous wives in TBC, the Countess in TLOTHOL, the Erl-King in TEK etc. all meet their ends in their respective stories
      • THE LIMINAL-As a vampire, the Countess in TLOTHOL straddles a point between being dead and alive. Also, in TBC, the narrator describes how the Marquis's home is "at home neither on land nor on water". The girl is WA is half-way between human and wolf
      • OVERREACHER/FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE-In TBC, the Marquis gives the narrator a set of keys and tells her not to open a particular door (namely the one to the eponymous chamber, where his murdered wives lie), but she does so anyway. The pornographic book she finds is called "Reproof of Curiosity", foreshadowing her inevitable discovery. No real overreachers
      • ISOLATION-In TLOTHOL, the Countess is all alone, save for her caretaker; in TEK, the Erl-King has turned many girls into birds and imprisoned them in cages; the grandmother in TCOW lives in a cottage in the middle of the woods; in WA, the feral girl and the lycanthropic Duke are both social outcasts and form a bond with one another
      • DOPPELGANGERS-in TSC, the girl is simply a manifestation of the Duke's desires
      • THE ABHUMAN- The human characters are often completely powerless to defend themselves against more powerful supernatural threats
      • METAMORPHOSIS-The girl in TTB is transformed into a tiger, whilst the girl in TCOW is implied to have become a werewolf; the Beast in TCOML, the Countess in TLOTHOL and the Duke in WA all become fully human
      • TABOOS AND TRANSGRESSION-There is a lot of taboos featured in the stories, such as pedophlia, bestiality and necrophilia
      • INSANITY-The Marquis  in TBC is completely psychopathic-he is sexually sadistic and is a murderer
      • THE PAST-TLOTHOL is set shortly before WWI, whilst TBC contains references to the French Revolution
      • REVENGE-In WA, a man seeks revenge on the Duke for the death of his wife, whilst the girl in TEK kills the Erl-King as revenge for his intentions to imprison her
      • OPPOSITIONS-The young, innocent, slight narrator is the complete opposite of the older, malevolent, imposing Marquis in TBC
      • AMBIGUITY AND UNCERTAINTY-Very few of Carter's characters are ever actually given names, so we know very little about them
      • HORROR/TERROR-The narrator's discovery of the murdered wives in TBC fulfils horror, whilst in TEK, the repeated phrase "the Erl-King will do you grievous harm" makes the reader suspicious of what the Erl-King will do and so fulfils terror
    • DR FAUSTUS by Christopher Marlowe (1592)
      • PORTRAYAL OF WOMEN- for the most part, women are significantly absent, but the apparition of Helen of Troy is a sexual predator who entices Faustus even further away from redemption
      • THE OTHER- the demonic characters are portrayed as hideously ugly-Faustus demands that Mephistopheles return in a human form when he first meets him and comments on Lucifer's "terrible" appearance
      • RELIGION- Faustus is very critical of religion, but (at first) his references are drawn from Christianity . His repentance to God is depicted as being the only way to save himself from eternal damnation. The play itself could be subversive of religion, because we never know if God actually would have forgiven Faustus, whilst the fact that Mephistopheles still hasn't been forgiven by God could be said to question the idea of a forgiving God. interestingly, Faustus tells Mephistopheles to take the shape of a Franciscan friar, saying "That holy shape becomes a devil best". However, the play makes it evident that the only way Faustus can save himself from eternal torment is his repentance to God
      • SETTING-Faustus resides in Wittenberg and visits Rome
      • MARRIAGE/SEXUALITY- Faustus desires a wife, but Mephistopheles refuses to give him one, firstly because marriage is something that can only be sanctioned by God and secondly because a wife would compromise his hold over Faustus. It is also interesting to note the sexual undertones of the relationship between Faustus and Mephistopheles
      • SOCIAL CLASS- it is mentioned that Faustus's parents are "base of stock". The play could be said to be critical of those who aspire to more power than they are entitled to, whilst the servants Robin and Rafe are portrayed as stupid and their only role is comic relief
      • ISOLATION- Faustus feels alone and desires a wife, whilst Mephistopheles tells Faustus that one reason he wishes to see Faustus damned is so that he has a companion in hell
      • FAMILY-not very much is made of family, but as Faustus wants a wife, it is likely he wants children also
      • PERSECUTION- Whilst it is possible that the depiction of the Pope as the butt of a joke could owe something to Marlowe's supposed atheism, it could also be part of an anti-Catholic attitude widespread in Elizabethan England
      • THE HERO-VILLAIN- Although Faustus has signed a pact with Lucifer, his reluctance to repent is as much due to a fear of Lucifer's reprisal as for any arrogance. Also, he does not (with the exception of when he wants to torture the old man) do anything "evil". Meanwhile, Mephistopheles regrets his role in Lucifer's rebellion and initially tries to persuade Faustus not to sign the contract
      • THE SUPERNATURAL-Faustus practices magic, whilst the presence of supernatural beings also fulfils this convention
      • DEATH-Towards the end of his contract, Faustus becomes aware that he only has a short time to live and that in hell, he will die "an everlasting death"
      • THE LIMINAL-Between signing the contract and his descent into hell, Faustus is neither really dead or alive
      • OVERREACHER/FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE-Faustus is dissatisfied with the level of knowledge available to him and so signs a contract with Lucifer in order to gain it. He goes to hell for his transgression. Faustus is likened to Icarus in the prologue
      • ENTRAPMENT-Part of the reason why Faustus does not repent to God is because he fears Lucifer's wrath if he abandons the contract. However, Mephistopheles also makes Faustus feel under an obligation to Lucifer
      • DOPPELGANGERS-The presence of the Good and Evil Angels fulfils this, as does the relationship between Faustus and Mephistopheles
      • THE ABHUMAN-As demons, Lucifer and Mephistopheles are far more powerful than any mortal, despite what Faustus arrogantly thinks.
      • METAMORPHOSIS-Faustus is invisible during the Pope scene, whilst Mephistopheles turns Rafe and Robin into a dog and an ape. psychological metamorphosis is also present, as Faustus comes to be more concerned about where he spends eternity, than he was at the start of the play.
      • TABOOS AND TRANSGRESSION-Faustus' denunciation of God, his use of dark magic, his aspiration to godlike power and his loyalty to Lucifer would have shocked many in the contemporary audience
      • INSANITY-The scenes with the Good and Evil Angels are simlar to the hallucinatory symptoms of many mental health disorders
      • THE PAST-The play is set in the early 16th Century
      • REVENGE-When Faustus is insulted by a knight at the Holy Roman Emperor's court, he gets his revenge by placing horns on his head and humiliating him. Faustus' descent into hell could be God's revenge for his disobedience
      • OPPOSITIONS-All of the opposites are centered around Christian morality- heaven vs hell; God vs Lucifer; good vs evil
      • AMBIGUITY AND UNCERTAINTY-Faustus naively believes that Mephistopheles is genuinely loyal to him, as in reality it is Faustus who has the least control
      • HORROR/TERROR-One instance of terror is an hour before Faustus is dragged to hell, as the audience may be able to emphasise with Faustus' desperation. The following scene, where Faustus is dragged to hell by demons, could be said to fulfil horror.

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