Frankenstein Revision Notes

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Frankenstein Revision
Gothic
» Horror : fear from physical shock ­ `Watery eyes almost the same colour as the dun white
sockets in which they were set'
» Terror : fear from uncertain or obscure ­ ` frightful dreams', `he might have spoken, but I
did not hear; ne hand was stretched out, seemingly to detain me, nut I escaped'
» Sublime : sense of awe at something much bigger than ourselves that we cannot
understand fully ­ `A serene sky and verdant fields filled me with ecstasy', `A cold wind
played on my cheeks which braced my nerves and filled me with delight'
» Obscurity : both physical and mental, things not properly seen or understood - `The for an
instant everything seemed of a pitchy darkness'
» The Uncanny ­ unsettling experience over something that is strange, eerie or mysterious
-`dull yellow eyes'
» Taboos: Cultural, moral or religious rules which are under pressure, challenging limits and
norm- `the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body'
» Doppelganger: double, mirror image or alto ego of a character ­ both called
`wretch',
`creature'. Later in the novel, the loss of control of the creation mirrors Victor's loss of
control of himself.
Elements of Romanticism:
» `Romantic' writers interested in the concept of ` self' as distinct from society indulging a
sense of individuality. Walton is physically isolated on a ship in the Artic carrying notions
of discovery and adventure whereas Frankenstein mentally alienates himself to
concentrate on his work as well as physically distancing himself at the University of
Ingolstadt . Can be seen as the less healthy version. Walton longs for companionship, `I
greatly need a friend who would have sense not to despise me as a romantic'.
Context
Mother died in childbirth
Marxist criticism: Frankenstein= elite but negative portrayal, creation = lower class,
mistreatment by society leads to desire for radicalism/reform
Shelley's parents argued for social justice, human rights and equality, against repression.
Godwin believed, believed that institutions such as law, government, marriage and
property were unnecessary and the causes of corrupt relations between people.
Development of man shown through Creation. `Man is naturally good, loving justice and
order, that there is absolutely no original perversity in the human heart, and that the
first movements of nature are always right'

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Period before Romanticism, seen as The Enlightenment, saw nature as
something to be dominated.…read more

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The Creature
THE CREATURE IS SYMBOLIC OF THE CRUELTY AND INTOLERANCE OF HUMANITY!
REPERSENTS JOHN LOCKE'S RADICAL PHILOSOPHY!
Shelley uses the creature and his narrative as a symbol of the cruelty and intolerance of
humanity in order to demonstrate the need for change within society. This key idea of a
need for change can be seen through the monster's treatment as he is brutally abused by
humans who "stone [him] out of the village".…read more

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God. This shows how important religion
is to Justine as it consoles her what would be a time of torment and torture for many. It also
illustrates how at peace and fulfilled Justine is due to her acceptance of her fate and
divine power.…read more

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Victor's influence on him is paradoxical: one moment he exhorts Walton's
almost-mutinous men to stay the path courageously, regardless of danger; the next,
he serves as an abject example of the dangers of heedless scientific ambition.
In his ultimate decision to terminate his treacherous pursuit, Walton serves as a foil
(someone whose traits or actions contrast with, and thereby highlight, those of
another character) to Victor, either not obsessive enough to risk almost-certain
death or not courageous enough to allow his passion to drive him.…read more

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Geneva is a harmonious landscape where man and nature are in balance ­ however,
terrible things also happen like Williams murder and the condemnation of Justine.
Ingolstadt ­ The city of learning is an all-male environment ­ it is here where he goes wrong
and is cut off from all women.
The Alps­ they are "sublime", Victor visits them to recover from the trauma of creating
the creature.…read more

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Justine shows courage in the face of suffering ­ her self-possession is contrasted with
Victor's hidden turmoil and cowardice.
Walton's sister is a sympathetic friend to her brother, despite the fact that he does
not appear to appreciate her. She is possibly caused pain by her brother.
Elizabeth ­ is shown as courageous in her attempt to save Justine's life. Is described
as an angel, pure and soft, not strong.…read more

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The Monster is another victim of isolation. Unlike Walton and Victor, it does not bring
this upon itself. Indeed, it tries early on to make contact with humans and connect
with them, but is always abused, leading to self-imposed isolation in the hovel next
to the DeLaceys' cottage.
The torment it feels at being excluded from society in general, and loving
companionship in particular, is what makes it ask Victor for a mate.…read more

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In fact, it is simply the natural action of a 'child' reaching out for its
'parent'.
People who come across the Monster are all deceived by its appearance into thinking it
will do them harm, when in reality it has been born with completely pure and good
intentions. It is attacked by townspeople, beaten by Felix (who it thought could be a
friend) and shot at by a peasant. It is no wonder it turns evil in the face of such prejudice.…read more

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The Creature:
John Locke's radical 18th Century philosophy
Shelley uses the monster to illustrate her key ideas about human behaviour. The
monster is used to show the cruelty and prejudice of humans as the novel could also
be perceived as a liberal and radical, emotional manifesto aimed at improving
society.…read more

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