Frankenstein and Dracula comparison
‘Frankenstein’ is primarily a novel about the supernatural” Explore this idea in Shelley’s novel and consider how Dracula illuminates your understanding of the core text. The idea of the supernatural is an idea that has been around for centuries and is an idea that both Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker choose when they wrote their novels ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Dracula’. The idea of the supernatural in its literal meaning is the opposite of anything natural; it is the existence beyond the visible and observable universe especially when referring to Gods, Spirits, Devils or Demons.
Shelley captures the supernatural in Frankenstein in her presentation of nature and for the creation and the life of Frankenstein’s monster. Stoker has also used the supernatural theme to capture the nature and weather in Dracula as well as presenting the theme in his creature Dracula who essentially is a monster. Through the creation of both of Frankenstein’s creatures Mary Shelley makes several references to the supernatural and that the creatures are supernatural’s due to their creation.
Frankenstein and Dracula comparison Essay Example
Shelley first begins to explore the supernatural in the creation of Frankenstein’s monster as Victor Frankenstein is ‘infusing life into an inanimate body’. Frankenstein’s creature becomes not the working of nature or science but rather the product of the supernatural. By creating the monster from a number of different people’s body parts the monster becomes a supernatural creature and is the opposite of the normal human.
Victor Frankenstein ‘had selected his features’ so this wasn’t just a dead body that was being infused with life, this was a creation of a number of different bodies sewn together for the specific purpose of creating a beautiful life. However this wasn’t a beautiful life and Victor Frankenstein soon realises that this wasn’t a human he had created but a ‘being’. During the creation of the second creature Shelley refers to the creature as a ‘devil’ and that if the two creatures instead of living together isolated decided to have children then they would create ‘a race of devils .
On the earth. ’ Shelley also created a direct reference to the supernaturals by referring to the creature as a devil which is known to be supernatural. Being supernatural can often refer to having powers that seen to violate or go beyond natural forces or being god-like. Throughout Frankenstein Shelley creates the idea that Victor Frankenstein believes himself to be god like since he believes he can create his own people.
In Genesis God creates a man and a woman and Shelley has recreated this in Frankenstein as Victor Creates both a male and female creation although the female creation never becomes alive due to victors realisation he is not God and cannot control his creatures and does not want them creating a ‘race of devils’ that ultimately he would be the creator of. The appearance of the supernaturals becomes a prominent theme throughout both Dracula and Frankenstein. Throughout Frankenstein Shelley calls the monster by a number of different names including ‘creature’, ‘fiend’, ‘spectre’, ‘the demon’, ‘wretch’, ‘devil’, ‘thing’, ‘being’ and ‘ogre’.
By choosing to call the monster these names the monster is given a horrid appearance and the reader gets the impression that the creature is abnormal and also that the monster is not human nor is it a thing of nature so therefore it must be part of the supernatural. More specifically by referring to the monster ‘the demon’ and a ‘devil’ Shelley has made direct links to the way the monster is supernatural. Shelley later builds on these ideas as the monster describes himself as ‘not even the same nature as man.
’ The monster was more than man he ‘was more agile’ and could ‘bore the extremes of heat and cold with less injury’ Shelley had given Frankenstein’s monster the superhuman gifts of strength and a body more able than man showing that he was of the supernatural and had powers greater than man. Frankenstein’s monster isn’t the only person to have a supernatural appearance, since creating a monstrosity Victor appears to only be able to see himself in the monster but can only see himself in the supernatural demonic way, ‘in the light of my own vampire, my spirit let loose from the grave’.
There are similarities between both the supernatural creatures as not only is Frankenstein’s monster a devil but Dracula is also referred to as a ‘devil’ due to his powers to communicate with the dead. However there is evidence that not only was the monster a supernatural creature but Shelley meant for the monster to be the perfect human if you could ignore his appearance then the creature was the perfect human, with caring qualities and strength beyond any others but he was corrupted by society.
Frankenstein’s monster is a perfect example of Jean Jacques Rousseau’s idea of the ‘noble savage’. The ‘noble savage’ is a literary character that is an idealised outsider who has not been corrupted by civilization and symbolizes humanities goodness. Frankenstein’s monster is peaceful at first with no reason to cause hatred he just wants love but his ugliness causes hatred and enrages him. He learns through eavesdropping on conversations and through the reactions of those around him to him especially Victor as he is the creator yet cannot stand to look at his creation.
The monster realizes his ugliness when he looks at his reflection in the water. Once the creature has been corrupted he is no longer a noble savage as he has lost the pure goodness he has when he was first created. Dracula was also known to be a supernatural creature as he was vampire, but he was also known to have supernatural powers although his were more obvious than Frankenstein’s monster that had his strength.
Dracula not only was as ‘strong in person as twenty men’ but could ‘transform himself to wolf’, he had the ability to ‘direct the elements’ as well as commanding ‘the meaner things’ and ‘at times vanish and come unknown’. The Dracula character could defy all of nature by controlling the weather and animals and his abilities to transform and vanish make him an obvious supernatural, compared to Frankenstein’s monster who became supernatural because he was created and has incredible strength yet he does not possess any specific supernatural abilities like Dracula.
The Dracula novel is primarily about Dracula and his abilities and the way he causes trouble with those abilities, and it makes Shelley’s novel seem to present less supernatural or at least shows that her supernatural influence is more hidden than what Stoker did in Dracula by making the supernatural occurrences so easy to see and understand in Dracula. A typical theme of Gothic literature is to use the weather and in both Dracula and Frankenstein the weather plays an important part in symbolizing the obscure supernatural events.
The way in which Dracula can manipulate the weather in particular ‘the storm, the fog, the thunder’ helps to illuminate the supernatural occurrences of the weather in Frankenstein. The three critical thunderstorms in Frankenstein all relate to a significant occurrence that is about to happen. They coincide with the appearance of the monster; this could mean that the storms are not of natural occurrence but of Victor going insane. Shelley uses the storms to build the tension and show that an event is about to happen.
The first storm brings the creation of Victors dream to create something of splendid beauty; the second storm brings the creation of the monster; and the third storm brings the appearance of the monster on the hills after the death of William. Victor blames the monster for the murder of his brother. Shelley refers to the destruction of the lake into ‘vast sheets of fire’ like the lake is the pits of hell now on fire this could be due to the appearance of the supernatural creature or due to the lake being a hell, and being its own supernatural creation.
There is another reference to ‘heaven’, which is another supernatural creation as the storm appears in ‘parts of the heavens’, an explanation of this is that God is sending the storm to punish Victor for making his ‘devil’ which is now killing and becoming more destructive and more of a monster, since Victor believes the monster killed William. In conclusion Frankenstein is primarily a novel about the supernatural and it does appear a main theme running throughout due to the creation of Frankenstein’s monster and the way in which the monster’s appearance and abilities appear to be supernatural.
Dracula helped me to illuminate my knowledge on the supernatural’s and the way that that the supernatural theme was used in Frankenstein because it gives a different perspective on supernatural abilities and the way that they can be presented. However Frankenstein doesn’t appear to have as much of a supernatural basis as Dracula as Dracula explores the supernatural in a more literal way compared to the hidden and less direct supernatural theme in Frankenstein.