Evidence of a gothic novel in Frankenstein
Gloomy settings have been used for centuries by many authors to generate a Gothic novel. Bram Stoker used this method to write Dracula, the dreary tale of a dead demon who survives by drinking the blood of the living. Stoker uses gothic imagery to enhance the horror of his novel. Much similar to this, Mary Shelley uses the same tactic to create her own tale of a monster. In her novel Frankenstein, she creates her own gothic novel by the classical elements of a dark setting, the use of a villainous character, and the mysterious tone.
Initially, Mary Shelley uses a dark setting to portray Frankenstein as a gothic novel. The dark setting pushes the plot and creates the essence of many of the scenes in this sinister story. Once Dr. Frankenstein decides to sneak into an uncanny cemetery and steals a body, the setting allows the exposure of his ominous fascination. He looks down at the lifeless body and his instruments "on a dreary night of November" and "the rain pattered dismally against the panes." (47). This dark setting in this scene serves as a window into the doctor's heart and exposes his intentions. The desolate setting displays the regrets and remorse the doctor feels after creating the hideous creature. It foreshadows the continuous dark tone of the story. This darkness is elevated by the horrific image Shelley presents. In the story, it was completely dark when [Victor] arrived in the environs of Geneva the thunder burst with a terrific crash over [his] head, and during a lightning flash, Victor sees his monster (62). While the monster shares his detailed life to Victor, he uses dark words, also inspiring the dim setting. He talks about the changes from light to darkness, and he says the moon had disappeared from the night (88). These analogies perfectly suit his inability to fit into society, in a world that is able to travel in daylight. The night is the only time he can be concealed from the fearful, disgusted eyes of others. This describes the dreary and depressing setting of Shelleys Gothic novel.
Additionally, involving a villainous character to the novel made it appear more Gothic. When first imaged, the creation was not intended for evil. He states that he wanted acceptance from Victor, since he created him. After he is abused and scorned by human beings, he decides to hate all humans. The creature of havoc unintentionally kills young William first, beginning the rivalry of Victor and the monster (118). In this novel, still, there appears two villains; both Victor and the creature. Victor is not assumed as a villain because of his love and passion throughout the book. Many also assume he is the victim because he did not physically kill anyone. This turns to the obvious actions of the monster. He did kill people, but only because [Victor] formed a monster so hideous that even [he] turned from [him] in disgust (111). The pitiful creature did not acknowledge why his father neglected him, for he knew they were one. The monster decided that since he would not have anyone to love, neither would Victor. To promote this, the monster would torture Victor by killing all the people that he loved. Victor expresses his rage to the monsters killings by saying, "the graves of William and Justine the first hapless victims to [his] unhallowed arts" (73). Victor failed to recognize the similarity between his monster and himself. Including a wicked character in the plot increases the dramatic event and evilness of the setting.
Lastly, Shelley emphasizes a gothic novel by employing a mysterious tone. By using a mysterious tone, Shelley evokes fear and curiosity to the reader. By including letters between Robert Walton and [his] dear sister, Margaret, a sense of intimacy is created (17). Since the letter was only meant for the two siblings to read, Shelley creates a sensation of secrets being told, deepening the curiosity level. Shelley also enhances a mysterious tone by applying cautious words. Victor says, The world was a secret which [he] desired to divine. Curiosity, earnest research to learn the hidden laws of nature, (31). By including words such as secret and hidden, a more penetrating tone is set. In the opening of the novel, Shelley begins with the findings of a man floating on a sheet of ice that Waltons crew restored [back] to animation, (20). This automatically sparks the readers attention because it creates a mood of mystery and unknowing. In this sense, when Shelley sets a mysterious tone, she boosts the gloominess of the gothic novel.
The gloomy, dark setting acts as a character, drawing two lost souls together and creating a frightening tale of life, death and loneliness. It's no wonder that it's a night of unrest that gives birth to the monster. It creates a classic gothic novel by using a dark setting, the use of a villainous character, and the mysterious tone.