Which Aspect of Gothic Literature Do the First Four Chapters of Frankenstein Most Clearly Show?

The first few chapters of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” introduce the character of Victor Frankenstein, who is portrayed as a romantic hero with a passion for discovering the origins of life. The atmosphere of the novel is eerie and unsettling, with several scenes of horror that aim to scare the readers. Victor’s ambitious dreams and ideals about creating life clash with the terror and madness of his product, resulting in a gothic novel with a contrast between the idealized aspirations and the terrifying reality.


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Victor’s fascination with the mystery of life stems from his interest in electricity from a young age. His father’s emphasis on education and science and his study of ancient alchemists fuel his desire to embark on his project. Victor’s love for the unknown and the mystical clouds his judgment, and he continues with his experiment until it spirals out of control. Although his ambitions are exciting, they also have terrifying consequences.


After his mother’s death and his fiancée’s illness, Victor isolates himself for two years to study chemistry. The theme of isolation is typical of gothic literature, as it intensifies the sense of terror. During his solitary studies, Victor focuses on creating life and goes as far as digging up corpses from a scary gothic cemetery.

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Victor’s success comes on a stormy November night, and he is terrified of the beast he has created. He faints and has nightmares about his loved ones, and when the monster escapes, Victor falls ill and continues to dream about his creation. The scene of the corpse coming to life in a spooky setting, as well as Victor’s horror, is a common trope in gothic novels, adding to the fear factor.


Overall, the first few chapters of “Frankenstein” set the stage for a gothic tale with a romantic hero whose idealistic ambitions lead to terrifying consequences. The contrast between the fascination with the unknown and the horrific reality is a typical feature of gothic literature, as is the use of spooky settings and the theme of isolation.