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Essay on romanticism in frankenstein

Essay on Romanticism in Frankenstein

All literature is influenced by the time period in which it was written;

whether it be war, poverty, or any other social trends. People tend to write

commentaries of political events, or just describe the time period. Whether it

is intentional or subconscious, an author can not help to include some aspects

of the time period in which they are in. The Romantic Period had a tremendous

influence on Marry Shelly's writing of the novel, Frankenstein.

The Industrial Revolution in England during the late 1700's was a time

of great change. The populace was moving into cities, and people were

disillusioned by the destruction of nature and the living conditions in the

cities. In response to this disillusionment, people started to envision the

world differently than they had before. They saw nature as all beautiful,

powerful, and perfect. Previously, the inspiration for literature was law, order,

and religion; now, it is in the writers imagination and powerful emotions. This

change in the attitude of the people is called Romanticism. The Romantic

Movement is one of the most important literary periods in history; affecting the

literature, music, and art of the period. It encouraged spontaneity, and acting

with emotions, not common sense. In the more classical style of writing, writers

addressed their books to the upper class, but now writers addressed the common

man and his problems. Their was a new feeling of spirituality. People were

seeking eastern concepts of nirvana, transcendentalism and being one with nature.

People wanted to experience life, not study it. They seeked extreme emotions,

whether they were good or bad. Marry Shelly used all of these philosophies of

the Romantic Period in writing, Frankenstien.

Victor Fankenstien is a man with great ambition, he is obsessed and

self-centered. His life is the mirror of a Greed Tragedy. In his case, the flaw

is his excessive pride. This flaw causes Victor to rush into something, for

which he is not prepared. He fulfills his ambition and makes the biggest mistake

of his life by creating a monster. Finally, just before Victors death, he has

his catharsis. He tells Robert his story and cleanses himself. "seek happiness

in tranquillity, avoid ambition" (pg. 205) This paradox, that he created a

creature to help society, but it turns out to be the undoing of society and

himself is an example of Victors self-centeredness. His life degenerates from

here on. Victor is a product of the Industrial Revolution. In reaction to people

with Victor's characteristics, the Romantic Period is born. His beliefs are in

science and the known world, which is the opposite of the Romantic ideal. He

believes that he can conquer nature, and tries to be a god, but discovers that

he cannot conquer nature and knows nothing on how to be a god.

The two Romantic characters in the novel are Henry Clerval and the

monster. Henry is the complete opposite of Victor. He is emotional, carefree,

and innocent. Henry has studied eastern languages and cultures, and wants to go

to the east to study the people. He is caring and Romantic. The monster is born

as a romantic, but because of the worlds transgressions on him, he becomes an

anti-Romantic and a Gothic character. The monster become dark, and wants to

bring death and destruction to everything around him. Now, when he sees beauty,

he becomes jealous. "but she, shall suffer; the murder I have committed because

I am forever robbed of all that she could give, had its source in her, she shall

atone,; be hers the punishment!" (pg. 137) When he first went into the world,

all he desired was human interaction. After watching and studying a family of

cottagers, the monster felt that he was part of their family without ever

meeting them. Even after the cottagers rejection he still had hope that they

would accept him. "But I did not believe my error to be irretrievable, after

much consideration I resolved to return to the cottage, seek the old man, and by

my representations win him to my party." (pg. 131) The monster had not condemned

humanity until he saved the life of a young boy, and for a reward, he is shot. "

I had saved a human being from destruction, and as a recompense I now writhed

under the miserable pain of a wound which shattered flesh and bone." (pg. 135)

After this event, he condemned all mankind. "I vowed eternal hatred and

vengeance to all mankind." (pg. 135) He wanted to be accepted and to be human,

but everyone he sees scorns and hates him. Even an innocent child despises him. "

You are an ogre" "Hideous monster, let me go!" (pg. 136) He now hates the world

and himself. The monster has all the connections to Romanticism, such as his

temper being parallel to the weather, his physical and intellectual abilities

surpass those of a normal person, and he represents all of man kind: good and

bad. The monster loves nature and its beauty, but when he is transformed into an

anti-romantic, nature mocks him. "Nature decayed around me, The sun became

heatless; rain and snow poured around me; mighty rivers were frozen; the surface

of the earth was hard and chill, and bare, and I found no shelter." (pg. 133)

Shelly creates an excellent contrast between a Romantic and a

Industrialist, and makes a social commentary about social acceptance in her

novel. In the novel, Frankenstien, Marry Shelly definitely shows the influence

of the Romantic Period.



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