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Mary Shelley and Frankenstein

Frankenstein, possibly Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's most well-known work, is considered by some to be the greatest Gothic Romance Novel. Due to her marriage toPercy Bysshe Shelley and close friendship with other prolific Romantic authors and poets,namely Lord Byron, Shelley's works permeate with Romantic themes and references. Alsopresent in Frankenstein are obvious allusions to The Metamorphoses by Ovid and ParadiseLost by Milton. Shelley had been studying these two novels during her stay at LordByron's villa, and at the time she was composing Frankenstein. The use of these referencesand themes prove that Mary Shelley was a product of her environment and time. Robert Walton, the arctic explorer whose letters create the framework for this epistlarynovel, opens the reader to the concept of the "Romantic Quest," the journey for theunknown. "I am already far north of London," he writes to his sister, "... [and] I feel acold northern breeze play upon my cheeks...which fills me with delight...This breeze,which has travelled from regions towards which I am advancing, gives me a foretaste ofthose icy climes. Inspirited by this wind of promise, my day dreams become more ferventand vivid" (Shelley 15). These sentiments will be later echoed by Dr. Frankenstein whenhe experiments with the unknown to create his creature/monster. The quest of theRomantic can take many forms, from Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" toByron's "Childe Harold," both of which are poems alluded to during the course of thenovel, along with ann abundance of allusions to William Wordsworth's poetry. Walton ends his second letter by describing his feelings on the eve of his voyage. Hesays that he hopes to have his inspiration inspired similar to the best of the Romantic poetsbecause he feels that there is still a "love for the marvellous, a belief in the marvellous,intertwined in all my projects, which hurries me out of the common pathways of men, event...

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