Romantic Elements in Frankenstein and the Fall of the House of Usher

3538 Words May 28th, 2011 15 Pages
Romantic elements in Frankenstein and

The Fall of the House of Usher

Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, and Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, The Fall of the House of Usher, although published in different periods, on different continents, have in common many of the main ideas that stood behind the literary movement of Romanticism (the sublime, the Romantic hero, imagination, isolation), combined with elements of the Gothic (the mysterious and remote setting dominated by a gloomy atmosphere, death, sin, pain, exotic elements, supernatural).

One of the main elements that is integrated into the Romantic movement is the sublime. In his A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful , Edmund
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The picture appeared a vast and dim scene of evil, and I foresaw obscurely that I was destined to become the most wretched of human beings.”

The night that Victor gives life to his creations is “a dreary night of November”, with rain patting “dismally against the panes”. This is similar with the gloomy nature described at the beginning of The Fall of the House of Usher, where the imminent destruction of this ancient family is foreshadowed by the atmosphere of melancholy and decay and the eerie semblance of the house, covered by minute fungi and weakened by the fissure that extends from the roof to the foundations:

“ During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher.”

Poe’s description of the unearthly storm that takes place on the dreadful night that brings the ultimate destruction to the ancient House of Usher is strikingly similar with the ones described in Frankestein:

“It was, indeed, a tempestuous yet sternly beautiful night, and one wildly singular in its terror and its beauty. A whirlwind had apparently collected its force in our vicinity; for there were frequent and

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