Essay on Frankenstein as Gothic Literature

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In what ways can Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Be considered as a
Gothic novel? Can Gothic literature still appeal to us today?

Gothic Literature was most popular from about 1764 until 1832, a period of nearly seventy years. At this time there were many successful and famous authors who wrote books which contained a somewhat 'gothic theme'. These include the famous Brontë Sisters with the novels 'Wuthering Heights' and 'Jane Eyre', both of which can be found on many modern bookshelves of today. As well as the famous sisters, well know authors, of the time, also included Ann Radcliffe with her 'Mysteries of Udolpho' and Horace Walpole's 'The Castle of
Otranto'. Amongst the most famous Gothic writers Mary Shelley can also be found
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This is shown through the treatment of a certain character within the book.

When deciding whether Shelley's 'Frankenstein' can be considered a
Gothic novel we have to take into account each aspect of a 'typical
Gothic novel' and compare it with Shelley's work.

In a Gothic novel the setting in which the story has been told usually consists of a grand castle, (or similar) which may be isolated or at least very mysterious. The setting may seem dark and eerie and certainly not familiar. It may also be described as being majestic and almost medieval in a way. In 'Frankenstein' the tale is not set in one lone place but in many different and sometimes peculiar settings. For example, when Victor Frankenstein starts work on his monster he is said to be working in:

'a solitary chamber, or rather cell, at the top of the house, and separated from all other apartments by a gallery and staircase'

This produces an image of a hideous workshop in which Victor is creating another 'human being' of a very different kind. The fact that is has been called a cell makes it enclosed and almost 'hellish' because one would associate a cell with a prison in which you would be locked and confined. As well as this, later on in the novel, when
Victor travels with Henry Clerval back to England, the place in which they visit is described as being a:

'majestic assemblage