Nature Occurrences in Frankenstein Essay Example
In Japan, therapists often prescribe “forest bathing” to patients feeling stressed or depressed. The pure sublimity of nature is proven to lower heart rate, blood pressure, reduce stress and can additionally boost your immune system (Quartz). Nature is being valued to this day but the main era that emphasized nature was the Romantic Era. The Romantic era was a reaction to the age filled with science and technology as romantics valued emotions and nature rather than science and reasoning. Mary Shelley was an author during the Romantic era and emphasizes the value of nature and the detestation of science in her novel of Frankenstein, much like many Romantics at the time. In Shelley’s gothic novel, Frankenstein, Shelley uses the imagery of natural sublimity and the passion for science inhabited by Victor Frankenstein to show that natural occurrences cannot be reinvigorated, essentially showing that those who attempt to recreate natural occurrences will initiate their own downfall.
Power of nature
Shelley emphasizes the pure power of Nature through imagery, conclusively highlighting the invincibility of Nature as well building the foundation for Victor Frankenstein’s downfall. Nature also serves as the spark that commences Victor Frankenstein’s pursuit of Science as Victor Frankenstein “beheld a stream of fire issue from an old and beautiful oak and so soon as the dazzling light vanished [and Victor had] never beheld anything so utterly destroyed” (Shelley 37). Shelley emphasizes the sheer power of Nature through the expression of “utterly destroyed” and the imagery of “dazzling light”. Through these conventions, Shelley further contributes to the idea of sublimity in Nature as Frankenstein describes nature as an authoritative force as well as something beautiful, which directly relates to the meaning of the sublime.
This event is also ironic because it was Nature that inspires Victor to pursue science in the first place. The sublimity of Nature that he experiences is a resonating theme in the book but this specific event lead to Victor finding his passion in science. But while Natural sublime leaves individuals in awe and in fascination, manmade sublimeness is one of terror and disgust. Shelley describes manmade sublimeness through the monster as when Victor first sees his Nature-defying creation, “the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled [his] heart” (85). Shelley communicates through Victor’s reaction that natural sublimeness is superior to manmade productions.
She also communicates this through the description of the monster where she describes him to have a “horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shriveled complexion and straight black lips” (58). The imagery of these horrible features resonates disgust and terror, much like Victor’s reaction. When Victor goes against Nature and fulfills his own passion with the possession of the ability to create life, he feels disgust and terror compared to the astonishment and awe he endures during his experience with lightning. This further emphasizes the idea of Nature being the only rightful force to create and another being to do so will only end in calamity.
Imagery to illustrate addiction to harnessing the power of nature
Shelley further uses imagery to illustrate Victor’s addiction to harnessing the power of Nature, and the self-destructive tendencies associated. Symptoms of self-destruction include feelings of self-hatred and losing interest in things that once brought happiness, to name a few (WebMD). Victor, after creating his Monster and finally achieving his long-term goal, displays both qualities. When on a walk with Clerval, Victor states “Dear mountains! my own beautiful lake! how do you welcome your wanderer? Your summits are clear; the sky and lake are blue and placid. Is this to prognosticate peace, or to mock at my unhappiness?” (81). The imagery included by Shelley such as “blue and placid” as well as “clear summits” once again echoes themes of the sublime. Victor, while wandering around in his native town, looks around to the mountains around him and immediately feels a sublime feeling toward the mountains. Even with this feeling of sublime, it translated to more of a feeling of ennui as Victor related the scene to his unhappiness. Much like one of the qualities of self-destruction, what once brought Victor happiness, such as being surrounded by nature, now only draws feelings of unhappiness. Shelley incorporates this imagery of sublime nature coupled with the unhappiness that Victor feels, to additionally echo the self-destruction caused by surpassing natural limitations.
Furthermore, Victor also exhibits the other quality of self-destruction when he states that he “felt then that [he] should survive to exhibit what [he] shall soon cease to be—a miserable spectacle of wrecked humanity, pitiable to others and intolerable to [him]self” (195). Shelley uses the expressions of “pitiable to others” and “intolerable to himself” to form a type of imagery in which Victor is full of self-hatred. Victor harnesses the power to create life, something only nature has, and creates a Monster. Instead of feeling overjoyed and jubilant, for accomplishing this, his life turned to self-hatred and depression. When Victor surpassed the normal limitations for nature, he experienced nothing but terrible emotions. Shelley leads the progression of Victor from someone who saw Nature as sublime and used it as the primary motive for their profession to someone who cannot even be in the presence of Nature without thinking about his own unhappiness. Through this progression that Shelley incorporates, her romantic ideals become transparent as her denunciation of science compared to Nature shown by Victor Frankenstein’s journey presents the core value that going against Nature will only lead to destruction.
In the novel of Frankenstein, Shelley fabricates a story in which the protagonist attempts to fulfill his passion of eclipsing the limitations of Nature to warn people of the eventual downfall that ensues. The pure sublimity of nature can hold a lot of beauty and glory but with that comes the sheer feeling of terror. Even with this terror, Victor Frankenstein still followed his passions and went against the laws of Nature, eventually initiating his own downfall. Nature was what evoked the devotion of science for Victor, and Nature was the one who dismantled his life. In our day and age, the sublimity of nature is used for reasons such as therapy but among that is the true power of Nature, hidden away until someone else tests the limitations of Nature, much like Victor Frankenstein.