Essay on Frankenstein


In her Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus Mary Shelley managed to say a lot to her readers, but the underlying message of the novel reveals even more details, which are not perceptible right away. Critics around the world are struggling to decipher what the author meant. Thus, the resource shares a profound critical analysis of the work, but probably we can find out even more by reading the text carefully. In this essay on Frankenstein writers from PurEssay will, too, analyze this famous British masterpiece from different perspectives.

Allusions in Frankenstein

In her novel Mary Shelley made allusions to essential literary and mythological sources, the traces of which are clearly visible if we analyze the work either as a whole or by separate parts. First of all, we must dwell on the title: Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. It refers to ancient mythology, which is typical for authors of any historical epoch. The myth about Prometheus, who created humanity from mud and water, is especially popular among writers.

Frankenstein really resembles the creator of a human being, although with reserve: he took fright at his creation and rejected him. Moreover, the mythological Prometheus was married to Pandora, an infamous woman who opened the box with evils. Frankenstein, too, wanted to create a girlfriend for his monster, but restrained himself and had to pay for it with the lives of his closest people. In our Frankenstein analysis essay, we come to this conclusion: the author implies that people must be responsible in the process of creation – whether it is a work of art or a living creature. Otherwise one must reject his brainchild, as Frankenstein did when destroyed an incomplete being.

Apart from Greek mythology, Marry Shelley also refers to Jewish folklore by interpreting a legend about the Golem. It was a human-like creature, made from clay with magical assistance. Only experienced cabalists were allowed to create the Golem because of the possible danger the process supposed. Victor Frankenstein acted recklessly when making a creature similar to the Golem, without either a soul or consciousness. Besides, the scientist was guided by his own vanity, which made him willing to prove his importance in the field. However, his creature, despite the intentions of the author, could boast a mental world resembling that of a human. The monster strived for kindness, but due to human violence became a source of evil. PurEssay points out that Marry Shelley endowed the creature with a well-developed sense of responsibility, which Frankenstein himself was lacking, and that is why his evil deeds made him suffer greatly.

Having analyzed the sources Marry Shelley used for her novel, we see that the woman had her own interpretation of the relationship between a creator and a creation. They not only contrast with each other, but also co-exist, as two parts of a whole.

Genre features of the novel

Essays on Frankenstein cannot be complete without analyzing the genre of this work. It can be described both as a Gothic novel and as a Romantic novel, by which we mean a Romantic-era work, not a work with a love story in its plot. Mary Shelley’s style indicates that she is a representative of Romanticism. Here are the things that point at that:

  • interesting, vivid descriptions;

  • characters’ pompous inner monologs;

  • the author’s lively imagination that takes the form of stylistic devices.

The manner of addressing Frankenstein’s creature is what brings Mary Shelley close to a Gothic novel. She employs such works as devil, wretched, vile insect, abhorred monster, fiend, daemon and so on.

We will also touch upon composition issues. The novel is given in the form of letters. The Arctic explorer Robert Walton writes to his sister, telling a story of his recent friend Victor Frankenstein. At the end of the novel Frankenstein dies, and Walton meets the monster, describing then the event in the last letter. Such a composition is typical for the Age of Enlightenment. But if enlighteners used a letter to explain a character’s thoughts and feelings, Marry Shelley uses the correspondence as a way to structure her novel. The letters are not sentimental; they have romantic features – they unveil for us the depths of a human mind and outline the mental worlds of the characters.

Main motifs in Frankenstein

Frankenstein critical essays enumerate a lot of motifs present in this novel. We will start with the journey motif, which is very popular in Romantic literature. Marry Shelley makes a journey a starting point of the story. Frankenstein leaves his home to go after knowledge, which eventually results in creating the monster. Then, Frankenstein traveling across Europe, the monster seeking for a shelter – they try to understand themselves on a journey. Captain Walton sets off to explore the North Pole but fails to fulfil his ambition. In his case a journey symbolizes disappointment in rational ideas and a tendency to pessimism.

The final pursuit of the creature leads Frankenstein to the Arctic ice. It proves that a creator and a creation have a strong connection between them, which they cannot break. It makes the interpretation of the journey motif extremely important for the understanding of the novel.

A landscape plays an important role, too. Frankenstein essays often contain vivid descriptive citations taken from the text. Mary Shelley creates a system of symbols based on a type of landscape. Thus, disquieting scenes take place in an ice desert, which evokes associations with the frozen lake in Dante’s Inferno. With carefully selected words, the author draws fantastic pictures of unexplored lands.

We can come to the conclusion that the tragedy described by Mary Shelley is based on a notion of responsibility. When a person thinks that he can make a living creature, neglect it and avoid the consequences, he can be proven wrong by his own creation. The author used stylistically rich language when putting her ideas on paper. Moreover, she made allusions to similar stories in popular cultures, including Greek mythology. The journey motifs help us observe how the intentions of characters transform over time, while nature in the novel acts as one of the symbols. All in all, the novel has a well-organized structure, but to get it right, one should read between the lines.

That is how our Frankenstein essay ends. But you can always find more academic works on different topics on PurEssay’s blog.

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