Frankenstein - Dilback English 12

English 12 Acc.
Dark Romanticism: AKA
Gothic Elements
Elem. of Gothic Novel
• Imagination leading to the
unknown (dark regions of the
mind where the fantastic,
demonic, and insane reside)
• Individual = potential evil (Poe)
• The Darkness of the
• Focus on nature (stems from
• Haunted or creepy settings
• Gloomy and dreary mood
• Setting in a Castle
• Atmosphere=mystery and
• Ancient prophecy
• Omens, portents, visions
• Supernatural/Inexplicable events
• High, even overwrought emotion
• Women in distress
• Women threatened by a
powerful, impulsive, tyrannical
• Metonymy of gloom and horror
• Vocab. of gothic (mystery, fear,
terror, sorrow, surprise, haste,
anger, largeness)
• Nature
• Written at the age of 18
• Mary Shelley and her
husband, famous poet,
Percy Shelley spent
summer 1826 in Geneva,
• Friends/neighbors with
Lord Byron, visiting
during fierce storm
• Passed time by telling
ghost stories, Mary
Shelley initially unable to
think of anything
• Mary Shelley has a
dream which inspires her
• In dream, she sees a
“student of [the]
unhallowed arts”
kneeling beside a
hideous corpse and, with
help of a powerful
machine, bringing the
horrible creature to life
• Begins writing feverishly
to tell her ghost story
• Published one year later
Background Cont.
• Frankenstein, or the
Modern Prometheus
• Linked to the Greek myth
of the char., Prometheus,
who was punished by
Zeus for stealing fire from
Mt. Olympus and giving it
to humankind.
• As punishment, Zeus
chained him to a rock and
each night renewed the
liver that a vulture ate
during the day
• Used her story to
reexamine the idea of
Prometheus as a heroic
rebel by considering the
dangers of unchecked
• Victor Frankenstein’s fate
was to be offered as a
warning to those who
glorified science and its
demystifying, rational
Source: A Guide to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Opening Letters
• Begins as a “frame story” (a
tale within a tale)/Egg
• English Explorer and seafarer,
Robert Walton, sets out on a
voyage to the North Pole
• He has a burning passion to do
something no man has ever
done before—travel to the
North Pole.
• He writes a series of letters to
his sister, Margaret Saville,
telling her of his preparations
for the departure and his
mental well-being, and lack
thereof due to loneliness.
• Longs to find a friend with
whom to share his dreams
(not like that he could find in
his shipmates).
• 3rd letter tells that his ship has
set sail, and he is confident
that his dream will be
• We will now begin reading
with the 4th Letter.