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The Creative Arrogance of Romanticism in Frankenstein Essay


Frankenstein written by Romantic novelist, Mary Shelley takes the idea of the creative arrogance of the romantic imagination and the amorality of industrialised technology as its point of departure for fashioning a gothic world in which creation turns on creator in revenge for the indifference of its monumental egocentricity. I agree with this statement to an extreme extent. These ideas are explored throughout the text in the form of Frankenstein and the monster he had created and the way in which Frankenstein rejects his creation and does not realise the consequences of his actions until they catch up with him.

The arrogance of the romantic imagination is that romantic writers felt that the world needed changing and they were the ones who could change it through their writing. Mary Shelley explored this concept of changing the literary world when writing Frankenstein. She wrote Frankenstein in 1818, when Lord Byron set a challenge to Shelley and her husband to write a ghost story. This shows that the Romantics such as Lord Byron wanted literature to be different from how it had been written before and therefore change the world by writing about something people had never read about before. This sense of changing the world is also demonstrated in Frankenstein as Victor Frankenstein is usurping the role of God to create human life and to go further in science than anyone has ever gone before. It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn.

In the romantic period, the amorality of industrialised technology represents the lack of humanity and lack of clear thinking. This lack of humanity and clear thinking are linked to Victor Frankenstein as he presents a lack of humanity in rejecting his creation completely and a lack of clear thinking in when he is making his human form in the first place. Frankensteins amorality of industrialised technology leads to his downfall as he cannot anticipate the outcomes of his actions whilst creating the creature as he is purely just taking a scientific approach to the experiment. In making his creation, Frankenstein cuts himself off from the rest of his family and dedicates heart and soul to his creation soon my mind was filled with one thought, one conception, one purpose. This quote demonstrates the way that science and his desire and thirst for knowledge took over Frankensteins mind. His amorality of this science, however, affected the outcome as the experiment didnt turn out as Frankenstein had planned. When Frankenstein realises the grotesque nature of the monster he had created, he flees and rejects the monster as his own. I had worked for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate bodybut now that I have finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart. Throughout the novel, Frankenstein treats the monster heartlessly and without fatherly love. This lack of filial ties contrasts with the love Frankensteins parents had for him whilst he was growing up.

In Frankenstein, Shelley uses the dark and sinister gothic world to symbolise how Frankensteins monster gets revenge on him for rejecting him and being egotistical in all his actions. Throughout the novel, Frankenstein rejects the monster in a number of ways, which leaves the monster embittered. After the monster kills Frankensteins brother, Frankenstein agrees to make the monster a mate in hope that it will not bother anyone again. Remorse then overcomes Frankenstein and he destroys the female mate in realising she will just turn out like the first monster he created. This then turns the monster to revenge, which ends in the death of Frankensteins family. This death and destruction is set in the context of the gothic world Shelley had created to symbolise the betrayal set upon the monster by Frankenstein.

In conclusion, I agree with this statement immensely as I feel the context in which Shelleys Frankenstein was written demonstrates the idea of the creative arrogance of the romantic imagination and the amorality of industrialised technology as its point of departure for creating a gothic world in which creation turns on creator in revenge for the carelessness of its egotism in many ways through the characterisation of Victor Frankenstein and the monster himself.

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