1 Answer | Add Yours
[eNotes editors are allowed to answer one question per posting. Each new question must be posted separately.]
Romanticism (in literature) arose in response to England's Industrial Revolution—mining destroyed the beautiful English landscape, and the Romantics sought to stop the destruction by promoting a return to nature. Romantics also idealized women and children—who were oppressed as workhouses provided them with much needed work, but under inhumane circumstances. There was the presence in the Romantics' work of melancholy, superstition, and the championing of personal freedom.
Dark Romanticism is also seen in specific writers whose work was closely identified with Gothic literature (such as Shelley).
Dark Romantics present individuals as prone to sin and self-destruction, not as inherently possessing divinity and wisdom.
In Chapters Seven and Eight of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, there is the opposition to Victor's rejection of nature—when life should only be created by God, but Victor plays God and creates a monster that is not natural, but deadly. Victor's error is evident in creating a monster that first murders Victor's brother, William. Alphonse says:
About five in the morning I discovered my lovely boy, whom the night before I had seen blooming and active in health, stretched on the grass livid and motionless: the print of the murder's finger was on his neck.
(Nature: "blooming and active in health..."). Before Victor goes to his house, he rests, and nature comforts him:
...in this painful state of mind[,] I contemplated the lake: the waters were placid; all around was calm; and the snowy mountains, “the palaces of nature,” were not changed.
The creature is wise enough to know that planting evidence on the innocent Justine will convict her of the murder, leaving the creature free to do as he wishes.
I saw him too; he was free last night!”
"I do not know what you mean,” replied my brother..."but to us the discovery we have made completes our misery...Indeed, who would credit that Justine Moritz...could suddenly become capable of so frightful, so appalling a crime?”
Even Justine reports to the court:
I believe that I have no enemy on earth, and none surely would have been so wicked as to destroy me wantonly. Did the murderer place it there?
The creation of the monster arises from the advancements in medicine and science that provide a way to create a creature—this is also a criticism of the Industrial Revolution.
In terms of Dark Romanticism, the character "prone to sin" is primarily Victor—he "plays God" by creating a life. In doing so, he sets into action a series of events that will ultimately destroy his life as the creature kills Victor's loved ones to punish his creator. Victor does not show wisdom by his actions—simply misplaced intelligence. In Dark Romanticism...
...the natural world is dark, decaying, and mysterious; when it does reveal truth to man, its revelations are evil and hellish.
The natural world for Victor and his family has become dark and mysterious; death surrounds them. The revelations to Victor are evil and hellish, and these same thoughts must also come to each of the monster's victims the moment before they die at the creature's hands. The story is steeped in melancholy: Victor sees the innocent die for his actions.
William and Justine [were] the first hapless victims to my unhallowed arts.
We’ve answered 318,992 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question