Frankenstein Questions and Answers
by Mary Shelley

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Discuss the use of Gothic elements and/or references to Gothic fiction in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.  

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Mary Shelley’s 1818 science fiction novel Frankenstein is “gothic” in every sense of the word. Defined as literature (at least, within the context of literature) characterized by the confluence of horrific images and romantic elements, the story of Victor Frankenstein’s efforts at, first, creating and, later, seeking the destruction of the hideous creature that would bear his name for all eternity qualifies as gothic for those images and for the main protagonist , Victor’s, love for his family and for his fiancé and, briefly, bride. In fact, the theme of companionship is present throughout...

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megan-oakes | Student

At it's core, the novel typifies the Gothic trope of the ultimate failings of humans and humanity; the Gothic was reactionary to Romanticism and the idea that humanity was ultimately perfectible. The Gothic strove to expose the inherent fallacy of this school of thought by presenting the pursuit of Romantic ideals as ultimately destructive. In Victor's pursuit of perfection (i.e. the reanimation of life), he ultimately authors his own destruction. Additionally, the novel is characterized by the notion of the "sublime," or a sight or phenomenon capable of inspiring fear and awe, most commonly exposed through interactions with nature, a central motif in both Romantic and Gothic writings. Additionally, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is typical of what is known as the "female gothic," which is typified by the absence of supernatural elements as opposed to the "male gothic"; Frankenstein's monster is a product of the novel's science of reanimation, rather than a ghost or specter.