A1 Green Pen: How d oes Mary Shelley attempt to make the story of ‘Frankenstein' believable?

In the text, Shelley attempts to make the story Frankenstein believable through the use of narrative. Throughout her novel, Shelley follows a framed narrative, which portrays the different perspectives and reactions of the three main protagonists, Walton, The Creature and Frankenstein. By using different styles of dialogue and giving us a broader scope of what is happening in the story allows us to see similarities and differences for example the way in which both Walton and Frankenstein see the creature. Walton describes when he first sees the Creature "never did I behold a vision so horrible as his face, of such loathsome yet appalling loathsome hideousness" this is similar to the way Victor describes, " I beheld the wretch - the miserable monster whom I had created" when he first creates the creature. Here both characters use the adjectives "loathsome" and "miserable' to emphasize the appearance of the creature. Through her use of these narratives, Shelley suspends the readers disbelief at the unlikely events that occur in the novel because things are more believable and less likely to be questioned if there are three witnesses of it (Walton, The Creature and Frankenstein) rather than one long narrative thus making the novel believable.

Additionally, Shelley's use of a triple male narrative allows us to see a male's perspective of women and society especially. We see the controlling way in which Frankenstein sees his ‘cousin' Elizabeth and the way he goes into detail about "her brow was clear and ample, her blue eyes cloudless" and later on we see how he "looked upon Elizabeth as mine-mine to protect, love and cherish. The repetition of ‘mine' emphasizes the control that Frankenstein wanted an eventually had over Elizabeth ‘"I love you, and that in my airy dreams of futurity you have been my constant friend and companion" from the beginning of the novel and could perhaps reflect the control men had over women at the time. This male perspective that Shelley writes in shows the ‘male dominated‘ society that was being lived and thus makes her story more believable because we see parallels with the way the women in her novel didn't have much of a voice and faced social injustice the way women did in society at the time.

Another factor that contributes to making Shelley's novel more believable is her reference to John Milton's Paradise Lost which concerns biblical story's that link to the Creatures appearance "devil", actions "howl of devilish despair" and treatment "Like Adam, I was apparently united by no link to any other being in existence". In the beginning of chapter 22, the creature even directly references to Paradise Lost "Cursed, Cursed Creator! Why did I live?" During the 1800's, Paradise Lost had a profound impact in the twentieth century, it was a time where biblical references were taken more seriously and were believed by many. Therefore by referencing it and producing similarities between Adam, Satan and The creature, Shelley is making it a more believable tale.


As well as this, Shelley uses experiments and discoveries of the time in her novel to make it more believable. From the beginning this occurs as she reverences to Galvani's experiment "the subject of electricity and galvanism". Galvani's experiment used electricity to cause a frog to move as if it was alive. This was a great turning point in history as it suggested the possibility of brining someone back to life. Shelley's use of Galvani's experiment makes Frankenstein more believable because it suggests that "perhaps a corpse would be re-animated; galvanism". Through her reference to Galvani's experiment, we see how Shelley possibly does this not only to criticize it but also show the consequences of unnatural events such as re-animating someone the way Frankenstein does with the Creature.

To conclude, Shelley uses contemporary issues and discoveries that took place during the time of her writing of the novel to make it a more believable and gripping tale.