Romanticism In Frankenstein Nature Essays

Romanticism & Technology In Frankenstein Essay

Romanticism as defined in the American Heritage dictionary is a movement "characterized by a heightened sense in nature, emphasis on the individual's expression of emotion and imagination, and rebellion against established social rules and conventions." Technology is defined as "the practical application of knowledge especially in a." Mary Shelley joins these two realms in Frankenstein, to create one of the most memorable characters in literature, Victor Frankenstein.

Historically situated, Frankenstein falls into the age of Romanticism. The age has been dated from the late eighteenth to mid-nineteenth centuries. Frankenstein was written in 1816 and published in 1818. In her novel, Shelley conforms to many of the aspects of the Romantic novel. Some of the most noticeable trends were setting, focus on emotional behavior (internal and external), the deviation from common or ordinary characters and the acceptance of intuitive and emotional characteristics in place of intellectual and rational characteristics.

Shelley places her first narrator in a Romantic environment and state of mind, as all of the above components are present in his situation. Before reaching the story of Victor and his monster, we are introduced to our first narrator, R. Walton. Our narrator is preparing for a long journey on a vessel to discover uncharted lands in the north. He is surrounded by raw nature. He is isolated and left with his own thoughts and imagination. Finally, he has rebelled against his social rules. He is a failed writer who has decided to venture out in the world to find himself.

The letters that Walton writes to his sister set the tone of the story. We the readers have softened ourselves to the narrator. We are reading letters in which he is baring his inner most thoughts to his beloved sister. A tactic that is typical for the romantic writer. Shelley has beautifully created this world, only to turn it upside down with the invasion of technology.

Victor's story begins with a description of his childhood and the love that he shared with his friends and family. Up to this point the story has not embarked on his technological endeavors. In fact, it is still hard to imagine this story turning into anything remotely close to technology or horror.

Upon the death of his mother and his preparations to depart for Ingolstadt, we see a Victor who is ignorant to the changes he will undergo. We still see him only as a romantic, not yet as a mad scientist.

A professor of his by the name of M. Waldman presented Victor's interest in science and technology to him. He taught Victor that the modern philosophers and scientists were able to "penetrate into the recesses of nature, and show how she works in her hiding places. They have acquired new and almost unlimited powers; they can command the thunders of heaven"(929). The notion of penetrating nature was very romantic and would lead to the unleashing of Victor's...

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Many of the main ideas behind the literary movement of Romanticism can be seen inFrankenstein by Mary Shelley. Although the dark motifs of her most remembered work, Frankenstein may not seem to conform to the brighter tones and subjects of the poems of her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, and their contemporaries and friends, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Mary Shelley was a contemporary of the romantic poets. Despite this apparent difference, Mary Shelley was deeply influenced by the romantics, and the reader of Frankenstein can certainly identify a number of characteristics of romanticism in this novel. Some critics have argued that Frankenstein is actually more sophisticated than the prose of other romantic writers, as this novel “initiates a rethinking of romantic rhetoric" (Guyer 77). This rethinking is achieved by Shelley’s engaging and simultaneously challenging the typical romantic tropes, which results in the production of a novel that is “more complex than we had earlier thought" (Goodall 19). The introduction of Gothic elements to Frankenstein questions the facile assumptions of romanticism, thereby redefining and contextualizing the romantic text. In short, the argument can be made that through Frankenstein, Shelley not only engages with Romanticism,she exceeds much of what her contemporaries were writing by taking the movement one step further.

Before discussing this aspect of Shelley’s work, it is necessary to lay forth the ideological groundwork underlying Romanticism as a literary movement

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