The Support and Criticism of Romanticism in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein contains attributes from both the Enlightenment as well as Romanticism. The central idea of the book, the quest for the unattainable, is a very romantic idea, however the ending of the book provides a critique of this grand idea with the deaths of Victor and his loved ones along with Walton’s abandonment of his expedition. Ultimately, the book raises and attempts to provide an answer to the following questions: is the pursuit of the unattainable good or bad and what is the necessary balance between freedom and responsibility. Frankenstein provides support for some Romantic values through Victor’s love for nature and his quest for the unattainable, yet criticizes them when Victor’s life falls apart with his own death and the deaths of his loved ones.
The quest for the unattainable, the reason why the creature exists, shows Shelley’s support for Romantic ideas. Victors says, “In other studies, you go as far as other have gone before you, and there is nothing more to know; but in scientific pursuit there is continual food for discovery and wonder” (30). In a Romantic sense, this quest is a good thing because the Romantics were all about asking the questions that no one had the answer to or to keep asking questions, to never stop with one solution.
Another major aspect of Romanticism is getting back into untouched nature. Victor often uses nature to clear his mind and help him
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Frankenstein, a novel first published in the year 1818, stands as the most talked about work of Mary Shelley’s literary career. She was just nineteen years old when she penned this novel, and throughout her lifetime she could not produce any other work that surpasses this novel in terms of creativity and vision. In this novel, Shelley found an outlet for her own intense sense of victimization, and her desperate struggle for love. Traumatized by her failed childbirth incidents, troubled childhood, and scandalous courtship, many of Shelley’s life experiences can be seen reflected in the novel. When discussing the character and development of the monster, Shelley launches an extensive discussion on the
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In most people’s minds as of today, there is no question to who the monster is in Mary Shelley’s book, Frankenstein. It is the creature that Viktor Frankenstein created, that murders innocent people. However, when looking beyond the appearance of the creature, it is evident that he did not begin as a monster. Mary Shelley analyzes fundamental and crucial issues in her novel in terms of being able to use science and knowledge for the good of people and not for the satisfaction of personal ambitions without even being able to take responsibility for that. It is also the novel of social rejection based on external looks and inability to accept. It was the extreme misconceptions of humans that resulted in the extreme isolation of Frankenstein’s