The Impact of Chapters 4 and 5 of “Frankenstein” Essay

In 1818 the novel ‘Frankenstein’ was written by Mary Shelley. Shelley wrote the novel after having a dream about bringing one of her children back to life using Galvanism (which was discovered around the time of her writing.) The novel was controversial at the time because a lot of people in those days were religious and the novel is about a man creating life as if he is God. Is the monster innocent? Or does he represent the evil that lies within us all? Is he a representation of Shelley’s own childbirth experiences? Is the monster Rousseau’s ‘Noble Savage’? Whatever the monster symbolises he has a massive impact upon the readers of the novel.In chapters 4 and 5 Frankenstein is at Ingolstadt University studying ‘natural philosophy’. At university Frankenstein is too wrapped up in his studies to go and see his family, “Two years passed in this manner, during which I paid no visit to Geneva.” Frankenstein warns Walton that too much knowledge is dangerous, yet he perseveres on his pursuit for knowledge of creation. At the beginning of chapter five Frankenstein brings the monster to life on a ‘dreary November night’. Frankenstein abandons the monster and wanders the streets of Ingolstadt feeling sick. He returns to his apartment where he hallucinates that there is a monster with him “I thought I saw the dreaded spectre glide into the room” Both chapters use many gothic elements to build suspense and engage the reader.Shelley uses gothic elements throughout the novel to create a sense of mystery and tension. One of these gothic elements is grandeur language. The grandeur language used throughout chapters four and five is setting Dr Frankenstein up for a big fall. Frankenstein compares himself to greatness, such as Caesar: “Greece …

…d he just refers to it as a wretch. Frankenstein thinks the monster is out to get him “one hand was stretched out, seemingly to detain me, but I escaped and rushed downstairs” when the monster doesn’t want to hurt him, he just wants to be cared about, but he has been left to fend for himself in the World without a clue about what he is doing. This is a contrast to what you read about Frankenstein’s childhood earlier in the novel.Frankenstein could be seen as the ‘Modern Prometheus’ because just like Prometheus stole fire from the Gods, Frankenstein is stealing like from God. “I might infuse a spark of life into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet” Frankenstein desires to acquire all knowledge of create. Yet he tells Walton that too much knowledge is dangerous. Does this make Frankenstein a hypocrite? Or is he driven by power and a desire to attain the unknown?

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