The novel Frankenstein composed in 1831 by Mary Shelley is a tale that seems to expound on much of the concepts set forth in John Keats’ “Ode on Melancholy.” The thematic components concur in their referrals to the unknown and to the undesirable and melancholic outcomes of knowledge that lies beyond a particular limit of life. Both works take on a very tenebrous tone and even hint at a certain inevitability in the coming of doom and the damage of charm.
They might even be thought about works that commemorate the sadder scenarios in life– which is in direct contrast to the unchecked optimism of many Romantic poets of the era. The monster developed by Victor Frankenstein, as well as Frankenstein himself, go into the dreamlike and unknown area of Lethe alerted against by Keats, and in return learn initially hand the inner workings of life’s melancholy.
The very first line of Keats’ poem warns against entrance into the unknown, as therein lies even more evidence of the grief that life can hold. He composes, “No, no, go not to Lethe …” (line 1). Lethe describes a river discovered in the Greek folklores that flowed through the underworld of Hades. This river is one that causes lapse of memory and in that method casts a shroud over reality that is similar to the misty and dreamlike sense created in the novel Frankenstein. Shelley does this utilizing several devices, such as through the setting she produces. The story starts while the first narrator and Dr. Frankenstein sail together on a vessel in the dark and expansive waters of the Arctic. The environment speaks volumes of the lack of clearness that is revealed to exist on the earth. It likewise prefigures the concept of Dr. Frankenstein’s forgetting (as on Lethe’s waters) lessons learned from Faust about seeking too much that which lies beyond death.
It can likewise be seen from the really first letter composed by Walton that life is itself revealed to be uncertain and unstable in its capability to portion despair and melancholy no matter which actions are performed by the persons included. Walton composes to Margaret: “And when shall I return? Ah, dear sis, how can I answer this concern? If I are successful, numerous, lots of months, perhaps years, will pass prior to you and I might meet. If I fail, you will see me again soon, or never ever” (Shelley, 4). It is clear that life resembles a voyage into the Arctic or on the river Lethe. What lies ahead is unidentified and what happiness has past might easily be forgotten, as rapidly as unhappiness may come.
Yet Keats’ message is far more particular than the mere mentioning of the dreamlike nature of life. It goes even more to hinder males from seeking out the underside of life. He particularly alerts versus the purposeful seeking of things that are associated with death and the underworld. He mentions the foolhardiness of twisting Wolfs-bane or permitting Proserpine (the goddess of the underworld) to kiss one’s forehead (lines 1-4). This is considerable in the novel Frankenstein as the actions performed by that doctor might be compared directly to what Keats cautions versus.
The medical professional himself admits: “The moon looked on my midnight labours, while, with unrelaxed and breathless passion, I pursued nature to her hidingplaces” (Shelley, 45). Frankenstein reveals that he intentionally seeks out the halls of death in his quest to give life to a cadaverous body. He goes beyond the call of the living guy and endeavors unwelcome into the underworld to have his eyebrow kissed by Proserpine. The caution Keats provides seems to be warranted as the effects of his actions serve just to light up the more melancholy aspects of life.
A portentous spot on Dr. Frankenstein’s passion to infuse the dead body with his new concoction of life symbolizes the doom that is predicted by Keats for those who meddle with the important things of death. Frankenstein explains his state throughout the times leading up to the creation of his beast, and he exposes, “I pursued my undertaking with constant ardour.
My cheek had actually grown pale with research study, and my person had ended up being emaciated with confinement” (Shelley, 44). This demonstrates the toll that his illegal actions were taking on his body. It is as though Proserpine’s kiss of death were spreading through his body while he attempted to enliven the dead one lying on his table. The undesirable situations that are yet to come are prefigured in this episode where Frankenstein seems to be moving his own life to the cadaver on which he runs.
Keats goes on to mention the fall of melancholy when “fit,” and this shows that sadness itself will lie in incubation during periods that seem happy. He composes, “But when melancholy fit shall fall abrupt from paradise like a weeping cloud …” (lines 11-12). This demonstrates how in the fullness of time, melancholy itself will burst forth upon the heads of those who have carried out the actions to deserve it. This is likewise real of the occasions of the novel Frankenstein. As soon as the clinical undertaking has been attained, the Beast becomes a herald of fear and doom.
He also becomes the hand of sudden death to several of the characters, all of whom were enjoyed by Victor. Additionally, Keats’ comparison of melancholy’s “fall” to the weeping of a cloud makes it understood that such sadness is a part of the cycle of life– and therefore gives the impression that there is no real need to seek it out, because it comes of its own accord anyway. Death would have concerned Elizabeth, William, Justine and Frankenstein’s daddy without the aid of the beast that was produced. There was no genuine need for the Dr. Frankenstein to develop that synthetic taker of life, given that life itself has its own integrated machinery of death.
Yet Keats’ option to the fall of melancholy holds a cryptic message that appears difficult to analyze. It is required to dig deeply into its meaning prior to it can be fixed up with the occasions portrayed in Mary Shelley’s novel. He shows that when melancholy falls, one ought to “glut thy sorrow on a morning increased or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave or on the wreath of globed peonies” (lines 15-17). When one “excess” or oversupplies something, this results in a drop in the price of the thing.
Sadness glutted upon these things of charm causes itself to become low-cost, and for that reason quickly obtained. It is tough to see how this can be a solution to sadness at all, considering that it simply proliferates it. However, it does support the thesis that sadness is easily accomplished in life; and it can also be seen to fit well with the ideas of the unique Frankenstein, in which the Beast goes on a rampage and gluts sorrow upon the joy that when existed in Victor’s world.
Yet, the glut of sorrow that Keats indicates exists in life is even more noticeable when one thinks about the condition of the Monster himself. The “life” into which he is brought is a lot more desolate and melancholy than that experienced by genuine people. He is the only one of his kind and is marginalized by his extremely dissimilarity to guy. His hatred and wickedness is generated straight from this fact– which is a direct result of Frankenstein’s” [twisting] Wolfs-bane […] for its poisonous red wine” (Keats, lines 1-2).
When the Monster talks to Frankenstein, it is to show the condition to which he has actually been brought in life. He says, “I am harmful since I am miserable. Am I not shunned and hated by all mankind?” (Shelley, 147) It is this enormous grief that the Monster’s life has brought him that overruns in its surplus and excess itself on the early morning increased of everything that is great in Frankenstein’s life. It impacts the guarantee of his friend and bros’ lives, and causes the shedding of his partner’s bloom and charm.
The ideas concerning the melancholy of life, which are reflected in this poem and book, demonstrate several ideas that are typically thought about Romantic. The concept of something’s being Romantic provides the impression that it impacts more gaiety than it actually does have. This can be shown to be true of the novel Frankenstein as the satisfaction that the physician proposes to receive from fulfilling his plan remains in direct contrast to what in fact arises from his work. Yet additional concepts concerning Romanticism can likewise be extracted from these 2 works.
The moral and Romantic belief in the apocalyptic events (as those portrayed in the Bible) followed by an age of peace and tranquility can be shown to be reflected to some level in the texts of the Keats’ poem and Shelley’s book. Shelley’s protagonist is struck upon by doom and destruction as an outcome of the actions he performed throughout his life. This is likewise shown in the melancholy that “falls” in Keats’ poem as a result of the actions of one who deliberately looks for the underside of the life. Likewise, Romantic (biblical) damage of the earth is also supposed to be a direct outcome of the actions of humanity. However, once the damage is complete, peace go back to the earth.
This is seen to take place at the end of the unique Frankenstein when the beast damages his maker and after that wanders off to seek his own damage. This appears to restore stability to the world. Yet, this stability can not be stated to be of the very same positive quality as the “peace and harmony” that is expected to follow the armageddon. In fact, this balance keeps itself closer to the theme of melancholy being present naturally within life, as it is a balance between great and evil that defines this equilibrium.
The novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and the poem “Ode on Melancholy” by John Keats bear numerous similarities to each other. They include the concept that looking for excessive the important things that lie beyond life will let loose a step of death and sorrow that is not only unneeded, but that will disrupt the gentle balance that exists on earth. Life, in stability, consists of both happiness and sadness– so melancholy will come in good time without being sought.
The actions of Dr. Frankenstein show Keats’ theory to be proper because he pushes to see beyond life and discovers the death and grief in greater abundance than that which he sought. The optimism typical of the romantics is challenged in the ideas of these authors, as even the return of life’s equilibrium implies that death and sorrow will have as much flexibility to harm people as life and happiness to comfort them.
Works Pointed out
Keats, John. 1819. “Ode on Melancholy.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. I. M. H. Abrams, et al. New York: W.W. Norton, 1993.
Shelley, Mary. 1831. Frankenstein. Bowser, BC: Aerie Publishing, 1988.