Frankenstein, written by Marry Shelley in 1818, is a well known novel that is truly a classic. It is often believed to have had a large influence on later literature as well. For example, some believe that Frankenstein may have been the first science-fiction novel. Others say it resulted in a large increase in horror stories. However, this essay is written concerning another characteristic of the novel. Gothic literature, originating in England in the mid 1700’s, combines both horror and romance, a rather unusual combination. After reading Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, this essay addresses the question, “Is Frankenstein in fact an example of Gothic literature?”. There are a number of reasons why Frankenstein falls under the category of Gothic literature. The following will discuss those reasons.
First and foremost, Gothic novels convey a strong feeling of horror and terror, combined with elements of the supernatural, gloom, fear, depression, and darkness. It doesn’t take more than a quick glance to see that these characteristics all contribute in some way to the novel. Also, the setting of a Gothic novel is very often foreboding and has a large affect on the mood and atmosphere of the novel. And finally, characters are often nameless, and isolated or alienated.
With concern to the first characteristic of a Gothic novel, it is very clear that Frankenstein abides by this guideline, in that almost the entire novel is written to fill the reader with horror and terror. There is the exception of the very beginning of Victor’s tale where his life is happy and peaceful. However, you will agree that that only adds to the effect of what is to follow, creating an even greater feeling of sorrow and depression. By the end of the novel, all of Victor’s family and loved ones have been brutally murdered. The descriptions that Shelley gives of the monster are enough to fill her readers with terror. You can also...