Frankenstein And The Romantic Era Essay

Frankenstein And The Romantic Era Essay-43
First, there is the obvious example of Victor Frankenstein pushing against his limitations as a human being by striving to play a God-like role by making the Creature.For Victor, it is not satisfying enough to simply study philosophy and science and proceed on to a respectable profession.

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The romantics believed that it was individual and collective visual imagination that would create a new understanding of the world and lead to a more perfect version of human beings and the societies in which they lived.

Victor is the ultimate dreamer, who is preoccupied by otherworldly concerns and unattainable ideals.

In his Romantic quest for a scientific ideal—the perfect human—he creates a monster, who then must be held in check by other systems and institutions that humans have also created.

While these institutions are more concrete and based in reality than the creation of the monster, they are equally imperfect.

In short, the argument can be made that through Frankenstein, Shelley not only engages with Romanticism,she exceeds much of what her contemporaries were writing by taking the movement one step further.

Before discussing this aspect of Shelley’s work, it is necessary to lay forth the ideological groundwork underlying Romanticism as a literary movement.He must perfect the role of the scientist by attempting to accomplish the impossible, a process which is inevitably frustrated, as it must be, by the fact that overstepping human boundaries has significant consequences.Shelley’s Frankenstein is not a mad scientist, as his character has been reduced to over the years, but a scientist who is passionate about the primary questions and preoccupations of his time.This rethinking is achieved by Shelley’s engaging and simultaneously challenging the typical romantic tropes, which results in the production of a novel that is “more complex than we had earlier thought" (Goodall 19).The introduction of Gothic elements to questions the facile assumptions of romanticism, thereby redefining and contextualizing the romantic text.In this sense, he is highly romantic., although to the reader familiar with romantic poetry, it may seem that nature is somewhat less important or less central than the role it plays, for example, in the poetry of Percy Shelley, or in the romanticism examples of poetry of Wordsworth, and Coleridge.Nonetheless, from the novel’s opening, the importance of the reader getting a sense of physical place is established by situating the text within a particular environment, the qualities of which will both mirror and contradict the inner states of the main characters.Yet, note the nature imagery in the following line, in which Victor expresses his feelings about the undertaking in one of the important quotes from by Mary Shelley : “No one can conceive the variety of feelings which bore me onwards, like a hurricane, in the first enthusiasm of success," he tells the reader, recalling the heady project in his lab.“Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through….These appropriate pairings of characters with their environments will be re-emphasized throughout the novel, and the physical qualities of the environments will provoke contemplative thought for most of the main characters, especially Victor and the clearly a novel about romantic striving against the customary boundaries or limitations placed on our existence.


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