How does studying chapter 5 of Frankenstein give a better idea of the 19th century novel?

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Chapter 5 in this novel is key for a number of reasons, but perhaps most interestingly it is important because it is the beginning of the story that Shelley wrote during her trip to Lake Geneva that was borne out of the horror story competition.

One of the key occupations of the 19th Century was the impact of the huge scientific advances that were being discovered on society, and in particular on man's understanding of religion and the divine. Some people were coming to think that "Science had disproved the existence of God", with ideas such as Darwin's Theory of Evolution seriously challenging doctrines such as how the world was created.

This Chapter taps in to such fears and expectations, with Frankenstein bringing his creation to life. Significantly, his response is mixed - he is fascinated by his creature but also appalled. This is contrasted directly with God's creation, which was deemed "good" in the Bible. In fear, Victor flees his appartment and wonders the streets of Ingolstadt, clearly deeply affected by what he has done. The author refers to "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" to create a picture of someone being pursued by a monster, which perhaps refers to how Victor will know be haunted by what he has done. The dangers of "playing God" are clearly outlined in this Chapter, and are further underscored in the rest of the novel.

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