Background of the Novel

Historical Context

Gothic fiction is the subgenre of Gothic horror. It is mode or genre in film and literature that has the combination of fiction, death, horror, and sometimes romance.

This genre was originated by Horace Walpole with the publication of his novel The Castle of Otranto in 1764. The novel was subtitled as “A Gothic Novel” in the second edition. The main characteristic of the gothic literature is that it focuses on the emotions and terror (pleasurable terror).

Gothic fiction also serves as an extension to the literary movement of Romanticism. The movement was relatively new and not widespread when Walpole published his novel.

Many critics regard the genre of gothic fiction response to the 18th century British and European movement “Age of Reason.” The movement was both political and artistic and focused on the power of the human mind than anything else.

Sanctioned by an unrestrained belief in humanity, the masses set forth to restructure society as a result of which The French and The American Revolution exploded.

Moreover, the Industrial Revolution forced common people into long exhausting days in factories. In response to these gloomy days, the Gothic literature started presenting the dark sides of the age in which “materialistic” human progress is at peak.

The writers of the “Age of Reason” had sometimes started believing in the “infinite perfectibility of man.” However, gothic literature presented man as miserably imperfect and dependent on the mercy of higher and powerful forces of nature and death.

Literary Context

The gothic novel flourished until 1820. The novels belonging to gothic literature focus on horror and mystery. It contains castles, dark forests, the trap door, the supernatural, the secret rooms, and other familiar dark elements.

Frankenstein is one of the famous gothic novels. It was written during the time when the gothic literature was slowly developing into Romanticism. Frankenstein, like Romanticism, is based on the “sublime” power of nature.

The main influence of Shelley while writing Frankenstein was Paradise Lost by John Milton, written in the 17th century. The epic poem deals with the fall of humankind from grace. An epigraph of Frankenstein, Shelley quotes the verses from Paradise Lost in which Adam blasphemies God for crafting him, just as Victor Frankenstein is cursed by the Monster for creating him.

Frankenstein Summary

The novel opens with Robert Walton writing a letter to Margaret Saville, his sister. Robert Walton is the captain of a ship that is headed towards the North Pole. In the letter, Robert Walton writes that his crew members recently found a man wandering at sea. The man they found is Victor Frankenstein, who told him his story.

In Switzerland, Frankenstein has been living a perfect childhood. He has a loving family that adopts needy orphans. Among the orphans, there was a beautiful Elizabeth who then became the closest friend, love, and confidant of Victor Frankenstein. Frankenstein also has another best friend, Henry Clerval, who was also wonderful and caring. His mother died due to scarlet fever when Victor turned seventeen years old and went to the University of Ingolstadt. 

At university, Victor starts studying natural philosophy with pleasure. He starts studying the secrets of life with such passion and zeal that he loses his connection with his family. Soon he becomes a leading figure in his field of study, and suddenly one night, he comes to the secret of life. Victor sets his knowledge of life into work and envisions, creating a new and noble race.

However, when he produces his first creation, its horrifying appearance makes him abandon it. Frankenstein expects the Monster to disappear forever, however, after a few months, he receives the message of the murder of his youngest brother William. Victors see the Monster wondering at the murder and become assured that his brother is killed by the Monster.

However, he remains silent as he knows that no one would believe him. An adoptee in his family named Justine Moritz is wrongly accused of the crime of murder and is imprisoned and then executed. Frankenstein is overwhelmed with guilt.

The Frankenstein family goes on vacation to escape the tragic event. To lessen his guilt and suffering, Victor frequently climbs the mountains and spends time in the beauty of nature.

One day, suddenly, the Monster appears and begs Victor to listen to his story. The Monster tells him that just because of his dismaying appearance, he is living a life of suffering and rejection. He also tells him about how he learns to speak and read. The Monster blames the inability of a human to notice his inner goodness that made him angry and thus results in his isolation. He demands the creation of the female Monster from Victor so that she can give him love and affection that no human will ever give. At first, Victor refuses. However, he then agrees. 

When they return to Geneva, Victor’s father proposes that Victor should marry Elizabeth. Victor declines the proposal saying that he will first travel to England. Frankenstein meets Clerval on his way to England. Frankenstein then leaves Clerval in Scotland at his friend’s house and goes to a distinct island to create the female Monster.

However, one night, Victor senses that the female Monster may turn out to be more damaging than the male Monster. Simultaneously, he notices that the first Monster is seeing him throughout his work from the window. When he creates the Monster, its horrifying sight makes him destroy him. 

The Monster declares to avenge Victor. He warns him that he will be with him on his wedding night. Frankenstein throws the remains of the female Monster into the ocean. When he goes back to shore, the people accused him of the murder committed on that very night. He collapses and becomes delusional for two when he learns that the victim of murder is his best friend, Clerval. The next day when he wakes up, his father has arrived and clears him of the charges of murder against him.

Victor goes back to Geneva with his father. He marries Elizabeth. On their wedding night, instead of accompanying him, the Monster kills Elizabeth. Soon, the father of Victor dies with excessive grief. Victor becomes alone in the world and decides to take revenge from the Monster. He follows the Monster to the Arctic Ocean, and on breaking ices, he is entrapped. He is then rescued by the crew of Walton’s ship. 

In another letter to his sister, Walton writes to his sister, telling her that they have failed to reach the North Pole and also could not rescue Victor Frankenstein. Frankenstein dies soon after he is rescued from the sheets of ice. In his final letter to his sister, Walton writes about the discovery of the Monster, who grieves over the corpse of Victor. The death of Victor marks the accomplishment of his revenge, and he then ends his own life.

Frankenstein Characters Analysis

Victor Frankenstein

The life story of Victor Frankenstein is the center of the novel Frankenstein. He is a young boy who grows up in Geneva. He always read ancient works and outdated alchemists. This background of knowledge does not serve him at all at the University of Ingolstadt. In Ingolstadt university, he studies modern natural science and soon becomes a leading figure in his field. He learns the “secret of life,” and with it, he creates a huge Monster.

The Monster kills his brother, best friend, and newly wedded wife. The Monster also indirectly kills two other people: Justin Moritz and Victor’s father. Victor was highly ashamed of his act of creating the Monster; however, he does not tell anyone about the horror he has created even when it is getting out of control.

Over the course of the novel, Victor changes from an innocent youth into a disillusioned man by the fascinations he gets from the prospects of science. He becomes the tormented man resolute to abolish the result of his arrogant scientific efforts. It is not clear what exactly made Frankenstein conduct this kind of act; either he wants to attain the God-like power to create a new life or his remoteness from the public life in which he conducted his scientific experiments.

However, his act doomed him forever as it lacks humanness. He alienates himself from the world and eventually binds himself completely to the obsession of taking revenge from the Monster.

At the end of the novel, Victor, after chasing the Monster, is trapped at sea and is rescued by Walton’s ship. Frankenstein narrates his story to Walton and then dies. As the novel has multiple narratives from multiple perspectives, the readers have a contrasting interpretation of the character of Victor. Some view him as a classic mad scientist who crosses all the boundaries without any concern of consequences, while some brave adventurer into a mysterious land and does not hold him responsible for the consequences of his actions.

The Monster

It is the mad scientific creation of Victor Frankenstein. Victor creates him from the old body and parts and chemicals. When he is born, he is eight feet tall and immensely strong; however, he has a mind of a newborn. Victor abandoned him for his horrifying looks. He is highly confused and tries to assimilate into the society of humans, but society also rejected him. When he looks into the mirror, he realizes his ugliness that prevents society from looking deep into his inner goodness.

To seek revenge from his creator, he kills the younger brother of Victor Frankenstein. Moreover, when Victor diminishes his creation of the female counterpart of the Monster at his request, he also kills Victor’s best friend and his newly wedded wife.

Though the Monster shows pure hatred for Victor, he is not evil and wicked by nature. When Victor provides the Monsters’ narration of the experiences, it is revealed that he is highly kind and sensitive to human actions. He helps the poor peasants and saves a drowning girl. However, the people beat him for his looks. He is doomed between compassion and hatred and ends lonely and grief-stricken in his life. Even when Victor dies, he has a mixed feeling of joy and sorrow. He is happy because Victor is the source of his suffering and grief because he is the only one who has some association with.

Robert Walton

He is the main narrator of the story. He narrates the story through letters to his sister. He is the captain of the ship bound to the North Pole. The ship is entrapped between the ices. When they are waiting for the ice to melt, he and his crew members rescue Victor, entrapped in the braking ice, while chasing the Monster for revenge. When Victor recovers from his illness, he tells his account of his life to Walton and then soon dies. Walton’s meaningful and strong friendship with Victor is about to form that he dies, and he laments over his death.

The job of the Walton is of a channel through which the story of Victor and his Monster is narrated to the readers. His role is somewhat parallel to Victor Frankenstein. Walton, like Frankenstein, is adventurer and explorer; he is chasing after the “country of eternal light.” The influence of Victor of Walton is ironic.

Before he meets Victor, his ship is in control, moving smoothly without any danger; however, afterward, he becomes a miserable object of the dangers of a reckless scientific drive. However, he immediately turns down his treacherous pursuit and serves as a foil to Victor. 

Elizabeth Lavenza

She is the adopted sister of Victor Frankenstein. She turns into his best friend, confidant, lover, and, ultimately, his wife. In the novel, she is the mother figure. When the mother of Frankenstein is dying, she wishes for Elizabeth to replace her place.

In the life of Frankenstein, Elizabeth plays a significant role. When the Monster kills her, he deprived Victor of his beloved and the only female companion he has. For some critics, Elizabeth is unrealistic and obscure who is not as developed as the male characters of the novel. The character of Elizabeth is also obscure because the narrator, Frankenstein, is not able to see her clearly. Whenever he sees her, he considers her as his procession.

At a crucial moment in their life, Frankenstein overlooks her, and ultimately she dies. Though the Monster warns him that he will be with him on his wedding night, he is reluctant to realize that the Monster is threatening Elizabeth’s life.

Henry Clerval

Clerval is the best of Victor Frankenstein. The story of Clerval is placed parallel to the story of Frankenstein in the novel. It illustrates the comparison between the outsized ambitions of Victor and the ordinary ambitions of Clerval, an ordinary man.

Initially, Clerval is portrayed as a boy who adored hardships, enterprise, and even danger. Clerval, like Walton, also shares the desire of Victor to achieve great things in his life. He also made a discovery at his university.

At this discovery, he claims to find the “means of materially assisting the progress of European colonization and trade” in other countries. Victor makes a comparison between his own findings and creation of the monster and the discovery of Clerval. With the comparison, he asserts that it is because of ambitious men like Clerval that give rise to colonialism. 

The friendship between Frankenstein and Clerval also illustrates the significance of friendship and companionship. Being a friend with Clerval, Frankenstein feels strengthened and comfortable and shares his feelings with him. Frankenstein says these words for Clerval: “Excellent friend! how sincerely you did love me, and endeavor to elevate my mind until it was on a level with your own!”

Alphonse Frankenstein

He is the father of Victor and is a very sympathetic man. He consoles Frankenstein when he suffers from pains and motivates him to realize the importance of family.

William Frankenstein

He is the youngest brother of Frankenstein. He is dear to everyone in the family. He is killed by the Monster in the woods outside Geneva to seek revenge from Frankenstein for creating him and then abandoning him. The death of William makes Frankenstein very guilty for creating the Monster.

Justine Moritz

She is the young girl adopted by the Frankenstein family like other children. She is wrongly accused of murdering William and is imprisoned and then executed.

Caroline Beaufort 

She is the mother of Frankenstein and the daughter of Beaufort. When her father dies, she is taken by Alphonse Frankenstein and then marries her. When Frankenstein leaves for the University of Ingolstadt at the age of seventeen, she dies of scarlet fever. 


He is the merchant and father of Caroline Beaufort. He is also a friend of Victor’s father.


It is the family of peasants that also include a blind man. The Monster learns to read and speak by observing them. They beat the Monster when he reveals himself to them, thinking that they might help him.


He is a professor of chemistry at the University of Ingolstadt. He ignites Victor’s interest in science. He dismisses the knowledge of alchemy that Victor has and makes Victor read the science that will enable him to search for “big questions.”


He is a professor of natural philosophy at the University of Ingolstadt. He also dismisses the study of Victor of alchemy and calls it a waste of time. He encourages Victor to study something new.

Mr. Kirwin

He is the magistrate at the shore who wrongly accuses Frankenstein of murdering his friend Henry Clerval.

Themes in Frankenstein

Treacherous Knowledge

The central theme of the novel Frankenstein is the pursuit of knowledge. The protagonist of the novel, Frankenstein, tries to rush to the knowledge to know the secret of life that is beyond the limits of humans. Similarly, Robert Walton also tries to go beyond the exploitations of humans by struggling to reach the North Pole. This merciless hunt for light, of knowledge, proves to be dangerous.

For instance, with his high knowledge of science, Victor creates a monster that kills his dear ones; likewise, Walton entraps himself between the sheets of ice. Though both of them were obsessive to explore new things, the obsession of Victor to avenge the monster overwhelms, and he eventually dies; whereas, Walton soon realizes, and he withdraws his obsession for the treacherous mission.

Sublime Nature

The late 18th century and early 19th-century movement of Romanticism embraced the sublime natural world as a source of unlimited emotive experience. It also offers the feasibility of the spiritual renewal of the characters. Victor goes to the mountains to elevate his spirits after being caught up in depression and guilt after the death of Justine and William.

Similarly, when the Monster encounters the cold of winter and abandonment, his heart lightens when the spring arrives. Throughout the novel, the influence of nature on the moods of characters is very evident.

However, the power of the natural world to console him vanishes when he realizes that he cannot get rid of the monster no matter wherever he goes. Moreover, at the end of the novel, Victor hunts the Monster and natural functions only as the representative setting for his primitive tussle against the Monster.

Miscreation and Monstrosity

The theme of miscreation and monstrosity is another central theme of the novel Frankenstein. Victor, using his knowledge of natural science, creates an eight feet tall monster with a horrifying appearance. Victor abandoned his creation and so as a society.

However, his monstrous behavior does not result from his strength and looks, but his miscreation in an unnatural way. Victor creates him from mixing the stolen body parts and chemicals. He is not a product of science, but supernatural workings.

The Monster is the only apparent entity of all the monstrous entities in Frankenstein. These include the monstrous knowledge of Victor that he used to create the Monster.

The readers can also say that the way Victor is selfish, secretive, and ambitious, he himself is a monster who is alienated from his society. Man on the outside, “monster” from inside. He is consumed by the “monstrous” obsession to avenge the Monster and eventually die.

For most of the critics, the novel itself is monstrous as it is the combination of the multiple texts, voices, and tenses.


For Victor, science is a mystery that must be investigated; once the secrets of science are discovered, it must be resentfully protected. When he meets the natural philosopher M. Krempe, he considers his model scientist who is “an uncouth man, but deeply imbued in the secrets of his science.” The entire life of Victor Frankenstein after creating the monster is masked in secrecy; likewise, his animalistic obsession with avenging the monsters is also secretive until he narrates his story to Walton. 

As Victor does not reveal his creation because of the guilt and shame, the monster is also living a forceful life of isolation because of his horrifying appearance. Both of them confess their secrets to Walton, and Walton immortalizes their tragic experiences in the letters to his sister. Victor confesses before him that he has destroyed his life; similarly, the Monster takes benefit from the presence of Walton, someone who will understand him and sympathize with him.

Family, Society, Isolation

In the preface of the novel, Shelly claims the novel to be a pleasing representation of “domestic affection.” In the novel, full of tragedy, murder, and despair, this claim seems to be strange and weird. In fact, in the novel, all these murders, despair, and tragedy occur because of the lack of association with both family and society. 

In other words, the real evil in the novel is neither the Monster nor Frankenstein; it is the alienation and isolation. Victor isolates himself from his family and society in the pursuit of knowledge; therefore, he does not realize his responsibilities towards the society and the consequences of his actions.

Similarly, the evil nature of the Monster is nor by birth but by his abandonment by society. He is filled with anger and hate and wants to isolate Victor the way he is isolated. Therefore, isolation from society and family is the worst fate that a person can have and is the root cause of evilness in the world.

Determination and Failure

In the novel Frankenstein, the characters of Walton and Victor illustrate the deep determinations of humans, as well as their flawed nature. Through scientific achievement, Victor and Walton try to change society; however, it is their ambition that marks their failure.

They become blind with their ambitions and cannot realize the consequences of their actions. Victor creates the Monster and tries to attain God-like power.

However, he fails to fulfill his responsibility as a creator, thus highlighting his failure. He thinks to be like a god; however, he ends up being the father of a devil. Walton soon realizes the danger of his determination and prevents himself and his crew from dying; however, he does not give up on his ambition in a positive mood but says that his glory is robbed. This suggests that all people who try to seek ambitions above anything, they are nothing but “unfashioned creatures” who have faulty and weak natures. 


When Victor creates the Monster, he has horrible looks but is innocent and has an open heart. When he receives the mistreatment from his creator Victor and from society, he becomes angry and vengeful. This behavior of the Monster is understandable as he gets hurt by the unfair treatment and rejection and wants to hurt them back. When Felix attacks the monster and escapes with the peasants, he says that his heart is now filled with the feeling of hatred and revenge, and “I bent my mind towards injury and death.” The monster wants to isolate Victor from society as he is isolated. For him, revenge is more dear to him than food and light.

In the novel, revenge is not also consumed by the monster, but also by the protagonist of the novel, Victor Frankenstein. When the monster murders his brother, friend, and wife, he vows revenge against the monster. The desire for revenge turns both the Monster and human into true monsters that lack any feeling and emotions.


Prejudice is one of humankind’s everlasting and destructive flaws. Almost for every character, the Monster is dangerous and destructive because of its horrible outward appearance. However, nobody knows the inner reality of the monster, which is warm and kind hearted. Despite his efforts to help the people and peasants, the Monster finds himself beaten up and rejected by the villagers. He becomes convinced that humans, by nature, are barbaric and brutal. The only character in the novel who befriends the Monster is De lacy, a blind man. This suggests that humans are blinded by their own prejudice and barbaric

Lost Innocence

The novel Frankenstein is the illustration of the loss of youthful innocence. The most apparent case is Victor, the protagonist of the novel. Victor is a highly ambitious man and wants to change the world with his creation. He wants to explore the mysterious powers and gain knowledge of the hidden mysteries of creation.

However, he lost his innocence in the course of gaining this knowledge. Victor creates the Monster that shows him the inherent corruption and wickedness of him and his own species. In return, the barbaric nature of Victor also destroys the innocence of the Monster.

The loss of innocence by both Victor and the monster leads to the death of William, Justine, Clerval, and Elizabeth. These four characters in the novel are portrayed as kind, innocent, and gentle. Through this, Shelley highlights the fact that innocence is never static; humans lose innocence at some stage of life. However, some lose it early while some late.

Frankenstein Literary Analysis

In Frankenstein, the central conflict revolves around the inability of the Victor to understand the consequences of his actions. He only focuses on his goal and works hard to achieve his ambition without any concern about its impact on the people surrounding him. The presence of the Monster in the novel is a constant reminder of Victor’s failure and his lack of sense of responsibility. He does not accept the fact that his action against the laws of nature. 

The first sign of conflict appears when Frankenstein immerses himself in the studies at the University of Ingolstadt and neglects his family and society. This conflict increases when Victor discovers the secret of life, and he becomes obsessed with creating a monster.

He never worries about the experiences of the Monster and nor he is worried that he has abandoned his family in pursuit of knowledge. What he is concerned with is his ambition and nothing else. His quest for creation comes to the peak when he creates the Monster, and the horrible sight of it makes him run from the room in horror. This episode shows the conflict between Frankenstein and his moral obligations. He is the one who creates it, and when he does not like it, he abandons it.

The tension in the novel increases when William Frankenstein, younger brother of Victor, dies, and the adoptee Justine is accused of the murder. The murder provides a chance for Victor to take responsibility for his actions but fails. By allowing Justine for execution than revealing the truth, he further increases the conflict. Victors meet up the monster in the mountains, and Monster’s narrating the account of his suffering, loneliness, and alienation heightens the conflict. This meeting gives another chance to Victor to give up his selfishness. Victor reluctantly accepts the demand of the Monster to create a female monster for him, and then the two will live outside human society.

However, Victor reignites the conflict when he gives up on creating the female monster and throws away the remains of his works in the sea. Unaware of the consequences of his action, his reckless choice makes the Monster vow revenge against him. The Monster killed his friend Henry Clerval and his newly wedded wife, Elizabeth.

Though the Monster clearly states him that he will take revenge, Frankenstein is genuinely surprised by the Monster’s revenge. The life of Victor is turned into a living hell, deprived of the loved ones. The conflicts are shifted to its final stage when Elizabeth is killed.

At this stage, Victor vows to avenge the Monster and hunt him to destroy him. The conflict is partially resolved by Victor’s vow as it is what the Monster exactly wants. The total attention of his creator is turned to him, and the two interlocks each other’s fate.

Victor hunts the Monster around the world, and when he reaches the Arctic Ocean, he encounters Walton. At this point, the story is brought back to the point from where it started. The narration is switched back to Walton from Victor. Victor dies because of his exhaustion after narrating his story of life to Walton. The climax of the novel occurs when walks see the Monster in the room weeping at the dead body of Victor.

Frankenstein never realizes his role in creating the tragedy and chaos that caused miseries of the Monster and the deaths of many innocent people. In contrast to Victor, the Monster shows guilt and self-abhorrence, which suggests that he is more “human” than his manly creator. At the end of the novel, Walton listens to the Monster’s perspective of the story as well, which makes him feel a combination of inquisitiveness and sympathy. In the falling action of the novel, the Monster tells his plan to end his life and then set off alone to carry out his plan.


Abstract ideas and concepts in a literary text are represented by objects, characters, and figures. Following are the symbols in the novel Frankenstein by Merry Shelley

Fire and Light

In displaying the hope and faith in science, Walton asks: What could not be expected in the country of eternal light?“ In the novel Frankenstein, light is the symbol of discovery, knowledge, and enlightenment. For Victor and Walton, the natural world is full of hidden places, dark secrets, and unfamiliar mechanisms. It is the goal of scientists to discover them, that is to say, to reach the light. The next to light is it’s dangerous and more controlling cousin fire. When the Monster first experiences the blazing flame, he gets to know its dual nature. It is productive as it gives out light, as well as it is destructive; it hurts when it touches it.

The fire symbol in the novel is representative of the full title of the novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus. In Greek Mythology, the knowledge of fire is given to humanity by god Prometheus. He was then severely punished for it. In the novel, Frankenstein tries to become god Prometheus and is indeed punished; however, he does not give the knowledge of fire but of the secret of life.


The recurrent images, structures, and literary devices in a literary text are called Motifs.  The emphasis on the idea helps develop the major themes of a work. The following are the motifs in the novel Frankenstein by Merry Shelley

Passive Women

Though the novel Frankenstein is written by the daughter of the leading feminist, the novel lacks a strong female character. The novel has women who are passive and calmly suffer and then dies. For example, the mother of Victor Caroline Beaufort is a sacrificing woman who spends her life in taking care of the adopted daughter; Justine is wrongly accused of murder and is executed; Victor aborts the creation of the female monster in fear of it more destructing nature; Elizabeth waits for Victor throughout her life and is helpless to Victor to come back and marry her and is eventually killed by the Monster. Despite the passivity of the female character, one can also argue that Shelley wants to put emphasis on the destructive actions of Victor and the Monster, which is why she does not establish her female characters as strong and dominant as males.


The character of Victor and Monster illustrates the motif of abortion with their feeling of the ugliness of the Monster. When Victor first sees his creation, he says: “When I thought of him, I gnashed my teeth, my eyes became inflamed, and I ardently wished to extinguish that life which I had so thoughtlessly made.” Similarly, when the monster sees himself, he has some views about it that looks like his creator. He says I, the miserable and the abandoned, am an abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on.” Both of them regretted the creation of the Monster and wished that Victor had never created it. 

The motif of abortion also occurs in other pursuits of Victor. He aborts his act of creation when he discards the female monster before animating it. When Victor describes the natural philosophe, he figuratively aborts materialization. He says: “I at once gave up my former occupations; set down natural history and all its progeny as a deformed and abortive creation; and entertained the greatest disdain for a would-be science, which could never even step within the threshold of real knowledge.” With the creation of a monster, Victor also aborts the natural philosophy saying that it is unhelpful and intellectually grotesque. 

Setting of the Novel

The story of the novel Frankenstein is set in Switzerland. The country is in central Europe. Mary Shelley was living in Switzerland when she started writing the novel.

The setting of the novel is not static. It changes within Europe and also across the world. Victor Frankenstein travels to England, France, Germany, and Scotland. Elizabeth belongs to Italy, the peasant family is French, and Walton visits Russia. Safie belongs to Turkey, Clerval decides to shift to India, and the Monster decides to move to South America.

The frame story of the novel is narrated by Walton and is set in the Arctic Ocean.  As the novel Frankenstein encompasses the whole world, it is represented as a collective and universal story. The wide and multiple settings of the novel suggest that it can be read as an allegory. The rapid expansion of European power across the globe in the time to Shelley is driven by the likewise advancement in the science that facilitates Victor Frankenstein to craft the Monster. 


Gothic Novel

With the employment of elements of secrecy, mystery, and disturbing psychology, the novel Frankenstein belongs to the genre of Gothic literature. The novel is an account of the doomed monster of Dr. Frankenstein. The Gothic novel initiated as a literary genre in the 1750s. The genre has the characteristics of secretive and mysterious events, supernatural elements, ancient setting, isolated locations, and mental undercurrents that are associated with the repressed sexuality or family dynamics.

The novel provides an obscure description of the procedure that Victor uses to create the Monster. His dialogue “Who shall conceive the horrors of my secret toil” increases the horror instigating the reader to imagine the procedure itself. The action of the novel mostly took place in the nighttime with mysterious circumstances. 

The novel also suggests that the weird behavior that Victor possesses is because of the repression. When he admits his love for Elizabeth, his tone is incestuous as they grew up as siblings.

Moreover, he appears to be reluctant to marry her and is obsessed with his friend Henry. His need to have a live remote from sexual reproduction shows that he may have a traumatic mind or disgust heterosexuality and may be general sexuality

Frankenstein also falls short of the traditions of Gothic literature. In contrast to traditional Gothic elements like ghosts, etc., the birth of the Monster is not mysterious but deliberate. The questions of his birth and creation are known to the readers.

Moreover, the question of whether he really exists or is the creation of the character’s mind is totally out of the question. The mystery around which the novel revolves is not the creation of the Monster, but what he wants. The setting of Frankenstein is the same during the time it was written.

However, traditional gothic novels and stories were always set in the past. Moreover, it is custom to show that past people lack knowledge that leads to supernatural situations. Frankenstein suggests that excessive knowledge and extreme focus of innovation is also destructive. 

Science Fiction

Frankenstein also initiates the genre of science fiction. According to many critics, Frankenstein is the first novel of science fiction. The genre of science fiction deals with the speculations about the possible applications of scientific advancement and technology. The rules necessary to maintain order in life have lapsed in the science fiction novels.

For instance, in science fiction, the common practice is the existence of life out of the earth. Science fiction novels can be used to criticize contemporary society implicitly through scientific developments and fictional technologies.

For example, the rapid expansion of European power across the globe in the time to Shelley is driven by the likewise advancement in the science that facilitates Victor Frankenstein to craft the Monster.

Point of View

The novel Frankenstein has multiple narrators; however, the story is narrated from the first-person point of view. Each narrator narrates the story at a different point in the novel. The constant shifts in narrator and different points of view suggest the readers look beneath the reality and ponder on the deep things.

The novel opens with the narration of Walton. Walton is a ship captain and is writing letters to his sister. The narration shifts to Victor Frankenstein, who narrates his account of life to Walton and tells him about his weird creation and how he happens to be at sea.

After listening to the story of Victor, Walton admires his experiences. When Victor reaches in the story to the episode in which he meets the Monster, the narration shifts to the Monster. The Monster narrates his miseries in the first person.

Initially, the readers and Victor both assume the monster to be inhumane and barbaric; however, listening to his perspective, both realize the kindness and innocence of the monster. The narration again changes to Victor, who continues his story. The novel ends with the narration of Walton, who ends the story from the first-person point of view.

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