“Mary Shelley wanted Frankenstein to curdle the blood and quicken the beatings of the heart in chapter 5. How did she achieve this?” In this essay I will explore Chapter 5 of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”. The novel was first published in 1818 but Mary Shelley published it under her husband’s name (who was a romantic poet) because of how women were looked at in those days. She released a revised edition in 1831, in which she published it under her name. This caused controversy but shows that the novel was a great success for her to re-publish it 13 years after its release. The novel studied for this essay was the one published in 1831.
This essay will look at how Mary Shelley wanted Frankenstein to curdle the blood and quicken the beatings of the heart in chapter 5. The novel genre is gothic horror and romanticism of which was very popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, although in some parts of the novel Mary Shelley diverts from the stereotypical gothic horror genre. In the novel science is used against religion, which historically was important as science was developing and was thought to be taking over religion.
Mary Shelley’s personal life could have been the reason behind the death and new life issues in the story. Her Mother died when she was very young girl and then when Mary Shelley had a child of her own; it died when it was 11 days old. Also when she had a child out of wedlock, her Father rejected her for 2 years, which could reflect the rejection the monster receives from Frankenstein. In the beginning of the story Shelley makes Frankenstein’s attitudes to science and being able to play God exciting and good news, but in the end of the story the attitudes change and there seems to be a warning to not play God because it’s dangerous and has bad after affects.
At the beginning of chapter 5, pathetic fallacy is used to create the feeling of dullness and boredom, which is very unlike traditional gothic horror. At the end of this paragraph, the dullness changes to excitement and anticipation as the monster comes to life. Frankenstein had obviously wanted his creation to be perfect, as he said about how it’s “limbs were in proportion” and “his hair was of a lustrous black” and “his teeth of a pearly whiteness”. Yet despite these wonderful things, he was disappointed in the way the creature looked. He was disgusted, “No mortal could support the horror of that countenance.”
He refers to his creation as a hideous wretch and say’s it to be a thing that Dante, who was an Italian poet concerned with representing Hell, could not have conceived. He was possibly scared of its appearance and he prejudged it. Frankenstein being prejudice towards the creature lead to his rejection towards it and all the others that see it later on in the story feel the same as well, apart from a blind man. The monster was rejected as soon as it was infused with life, as soon as it “born”, when it was a young baby and most needed it’s “Mother”, as a factor of this the monster grew up to be cold hearted and to have a dislike to humans, and a hatred to his creator.
An important part of this chapter, is a dream that Frankenstein has shortly after he creates the monster. In this dream he sees his wife Elizabeth, whom he is “delighted and surprised” to see, but as he kisses her, her lips become “livid with the hue of death” her features change and Frankenstein ends up holding the corpse of his dead Mother in his arms. This could symbolise many meanings such as maybe he had sexual feeling towards his dead Mother, as there is already some sort of incestuous relationship between him and Elizabeth, or that he missed his Mother, or even that he was scared of sex and sexual relationships, this could be said to be romanticism. Another may be that it could be annotating there not being a need for women to create life anymore or that he has a fear of Elizabeth dying. The dream could also be a warning to the deaths that happen later on in the novel.
Michelangelo’s image of ‘The Creation if Man’ in which God and Adam (the first man) are in could show Frankenstein and the monster, as Frankenstein has played God at creating new life. In the original God, the creator, seems to be reaching out to touch Adam and shows love towards his creation, whereas if It was of Frankenstein and the monster, it would be the monster reaching out to Frankenstein.