Frankenstein Questions and Answers
by Mary Shelley

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How is terror used as a gothic element throughout Frankenstein?

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In Frankenstein, the first time that Frankenstein experiences terror is the morning after the "birth" of the creature. He "traverse[s] the streets" in fear of what the creature he has made might do. So horrifying was the creature's appearance that Frankenstein imagines it capable of terrible things. Shelley at this point in the novel quotes a passage from Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner:

Like one who, on a lonely road,
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And, having once turned round, walks on,
And turns no more his head;
Because he knows a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread.

The "dread" of both the mariner and Frankenstein is the anticipation of something terrible stalking them, about to strike.

This "dread" is, for much of the novel, a permanent emotional state for Frankenstein and is heightened after the creature murders William . He comes to fear what the creature might do to his friends and family, and he describes this fear as a feeling which "haunt[s]" him and "fill[s] [him]...

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