Frankenstein English 12 Acc. Dilback Dark Romanticism: AKA Gothic 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 Supernatural • Focus on nature (stems from romanticism) • Haunted or creepy settings • Gloomy and dreary mood • Setting in a Castle • Atmosphere=mystery and suspense • Ancient prophecy • Omens, portents, visions • Supernatural/Inexplicable events • High, even overwrought emotion • Women in distress • Women threatened by a powerful, impulsive, tyrannical male • Metonymy of gloom and horror • Vocab. of gothic (mystery, fear, terror, sorrow, surprise, haste, anger, largeness) • Nature Background • Written at the age of 18 • Mary Shelley and her husband, famous poet, Percy Shelley spent summer 1826 in Geneva, Switzerland • 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 tale • 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 ambition • Victor Frankenstein’s fate was to be offered as a warning to those who glorified science and its demystifying, rational powers. Source: A Guide to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Opening Letters • Begins as a “frame story” (a tale within a tale)/Egg Illustration • 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 achieved. • We will now begin reading with the 4th Letter.