Discuss the main features of the Romantic Movement with reference to specific examples from Mary Shelly's Frankenstein.
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One of the central aspects of the Romantic movement concerned man's relationship with nature, and in particular the way that nature represented balm to the soul of man and restored him to a right understanding of himself and the world. The Romantics saw in nature an untrammelled simplicity that was to be craved and that had been lost by so many through the Industrial Age and the focus on wealth, work, and the accumulation of property. This is why in this novel there are some fantastic descriptions of nature, all of which relate to Frankenstein's state of health, and Shelley shows how he finds restoration and healing from being in beautiful places. Note how Frankenstein described the healing impact of nature upon himself when he returns to Ingolstadt after achieving success in his goal of giving life to the creature:
When happy, inanimate nature had the power of bestowing on me the most delightful sensations. A serene sky and verdant fields filled me with ecstasy. The present season was indeed divine; the flowers of spring bloomed in the hedges, while those of summer were already in bud. I was undisturbed by thoughts which during the preceding year had pressed upon me, notwithstanding my endeavours to throw them off, with an invincible burden.
Nature is therefore shown to be successful where Victor, in spite of all his efforts, only failed. It restores him to the carefree individual he once was before he pledged himself to scientific discovery, and the sight of spring and summer in all of its glory fills him with "ecstasy." This highlights one of the central aspects of Romanticism which is the relationship between man and nature and the beneficial impact that nature has upon the human species.
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