Why Is “Frankenstein” Considered a Gothic Novel?

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Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” is considered a Gothic novel because it incorporates numerous elements of Gothic literature, including a dark setting, the supernatural, the sublime and an atmosphere of terror and horror. Gothic literature examines anxieties over modernity, rationalism and the uncertainty raised by rapid scientific progress.

The Gothic elements in “Frankenstein” are:

  1. A dark setting where the protagonist is isolated from society, namely Frankenstein’s laboratories.
  2. The supernatural: By creating the monster, Frankenstein transgresses the barriers between life and death.
  3. The sublime, or the feeling of terror aroused by the powerful and fathomless forces of nature: The sublime is present during the storm in which Frankenstein sees the monster after the death of his younger brother.
  4. An atmosphere of terror and horror: Terror is the anticipation of death, danger or the supernatural while horror is their realization. Frankenstein’s monster induces horror at its hideous appearance, and terror as it stalks Frankenstein and his family.