Frankenstein is by no means the first Gothic novel. Instead, this novel is a compilation of Romantic and Gothic elements combined into a singular work with an unforgettable story. The Gothic novel is unique because by the time Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, several novels had appeared using Gothic themes, but the genre had only been around since 1754.
The first Gothic horror novel was The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole, published in 1754. Perhaps the last type of novel in this mode was Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, published in 1847. In between 1754 and 1847, several other novels appeared using the Gothic horror story as a central story telling device, The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) and The Italian (1794) by Ann Radcliffe, The Monk (1796) by Matthew G. Lewis, and Melmouth the Wanderer (1820) by Charles Maturin.
One of the most important aspects of any gothic novel is setting. Mary Shelly's Frankenstein is an innovative and disturbing work that weaves a tale of passion, misery, dread, and remorse. Shelly reveals the story of a man's thirst for knowledge which leads to a monstrous creation that goes against the laws of nature and natural order. The man, Victor Frankenstein, in utter disgust, abandons his creation who is shunned by all of mankind yet still feels and yearns for love. The monster then seeks revenge for his life of loneliness and misery. The setting can bring about these feelings of short-lived happiness, loneliness, isolation, and despair. Shelly's writing shows how the varied and dramatic settings of Frankenstein can create the atmosphere of the novel and can also cause or hinder the actions of Frankenstein and his monster as they go on their seemingly endless chase where the pursuer becomes the pursued.
Darkly dramatic moments and the ever-so-small flashes of happiness stand out. The setting sets the atmosphere and creates the mood. The “dreary night of November” (Shelly 42) where the monster is given life, remains in the memory. And...