Otázka: The themes of Mary Shelley´s Frankenstein
The debut novel Frankenstein, written by teenage Mary Shelley, is a prime example of a romantic novel, as can be proven on the three main themes of the book. Those being: nature, anger leading to revenge, and beauty contrasted with the lack of it. We can see these topics in the works of other Romantic authors such as in the works of her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley or in Victor Hugo´s Les Misérables. But what really sets Frankenstein apart is the way she uses these vastly different themes to form a coherent image and a gloomy atmosphere creating the most famous gothic novel in history and a creature which appears in modern pop culture to this day known as Frankenstein. However, in the book that is the name of the scientist who created him not the monster itself.
The Ugliness of the monster created by Doctor Frankenstein is root of his diabolical actions later in the book. Yet the book subtly suggests we would have treated the monster differently and raises the question if he is not also deserving of love and acceptance. “I intended to reason. This passion is detrimental to me, for you do not reflect that you are the cause of its excess. If any being felt emotions of benevolence towards me, I should return them a hundred and a hundredfold; for that one creature’s sake I would make peace with the whole kind! But I now indulge in dreams of bliss that cannot be realized.” This is on the other hand often contrasted with the beautiful that he destroys in the process making him now also horrifying on the inside.
Which brings us to the next motif, that being built up anger and lust for revenge. The book makes us understand the reasons why both the monster and Victor seek revenge on each other, since both caused great deal of pain to them. “When I reflected on his crimes and malice, my hatred and revenge burst all bounds of moderation. I would have made a pilgrimage to the highest peak of the Andes, could I, when there, have precipitated him to their base. I wished to see him again, that I might wreak the utmost extent of abhorrence on his head and avenge the deaths of William and Justine.” Yet the author shows to us that vengeance is not the solution, but rather the cause of their demise.
But what really brings the whole story together are the beautiful descriptions of Nature. They create an impeccable atmosphere and really draw the reader into the story itself. “In the meanwhile, also the black ground was covered with herbage, and the green banks interspersed with innumerable flowers, sweet to the scent and the eyes, stars of pale radiance among the moonlight woods; the sun became warmer, the nights clear and balmy;” They divide the story nicely and further help the contrast between beauty and nastiness.
Frankenstein manages to clearly express its main notion, while also forming perfectly dark, and blurred mood. The vast contrasts help the reader to distinguish between good and evil, but also reveal our own shallow perceptions. Combined with the determinism and topics of nature Marry Shelley´s Frankenstein really is a peak romantic novel.