A ghost writing contest on a stormy June night in 1816 inspired ‘Frankenstein’ often called asthe first true work of science fiction.
Plot of Frankenstein
The novel ‘Frankenstein’ is written in epistolary form, documenting a fictional correspondence between Captain Robert Walton and his sister, Margaret Walton Saville.
Enroute to the North Pole to find north western sea passage, Walton rescues Victor from the ice. The latter recalls his happy youth in Geneva with his family and his friend, Henry Clerval.
At the University of Ingolstadt, Victor embarks upon scientific experiments to discover the secret of life, hoping to produce a living creature from body parts.
His meddling has tragic consequences. Having achieved his aim, he is horror-stricken at the outcome. Subsequently the creature goes missing and kills his brother.
The creature laments that he is lonely and it becomes accurate that he is not innately evil. To his horror and distress, the people he has encountered have reacted with terror and loathing, yet he is desperate to belong to a family.
The monster begs Victor to create a mate for him, a monster equally grotesque to serve as his sole companion. After agreeing initially, Victor later destroys the female companion causing the creature to seek revenge. Henry’s violent demise followed by the murder of Victor;s bride, Elizabeth and his fathers death from grief.
Victor, in turn, pursues the creature to exact vengeance which leads to a dramatic confrontation. After Victor dies, the creature weeps over him. Isolated and remorseful, he departs to face his own fate.
The Presence of Feminine
Despite Shelley’s deliberate marginalisation of the Feminine in ‘Frankenstein’, it never vanishes from the narrative altogether.
The novel's narrative structure exposes the men's agency and the ambitious aspirations at least potentially to the judgment of the female gaze, which belongs both to the fictional reader Margaret Savile and the writer Mary Shelley.
Both the creature Victor creates and Victor himself can be seen as the Monster. Both cross socially established boundaries, albeit mostly different ones. The creature crosses the border between life and death and humnity and bestality , while Victor crosses the border between human and divine.
Gothic Literature is an offshoot of Romantic Literature. Gothic Literature puts a spin on the romantic idea of nature worship and nature imagery.