Romanticism is a predominant feature in many literary pieces. Frankenstein is a novel by Mary Shelly that portrays Romanticism in an optimistic way. Through this novel, Romanticism is examined through the eyes of Victor Frankenstein, and the Monster, the protagonist of the story. Frankenstein is contrasted with a modern piece, which is the movie Avatar. Through Frankenstein and Avatar, romanticism is exhibited in the concept of creating a new perfect vision of the world and presence of the supernatural among the humans but differs in the time the stories are set.
One element of Romanticism in Frankenstein is the idea that science can develop a new and a more perfect world than the one that we live in.
In this novel, Frankenstein is consumed by the idea of creating life that would result in a perfect version of human beings. He believes that he has gained a lot of knowledge from the university to allow him to create a human being and bring it to life. He says, “…I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation” (Bloom 110). Frankenstein is the idealist who believes he can create life from nothing and this marks him as a Romantic. Similarly, in the movie Avatar, Pandora is described as a creation of an ideal world. The inhabitants of Pandora, the Na’vi, focus on preserving their planet to make it an ideal world for them. For them, humans who try to take any part of Pandora are viewed as enemies trying to destroy their progress.
Another aspect of Romanticism is the presence of the supernatural among the humans. In the novel Frankenstein, the author describes the results of his creation as a hideous, monstrous creature. From the way Victor Frankenstein fashions the monster, elements of supernatural activities in the human society become evident. The novel describes the cloudy conditions under which Frankenstein goes to collect body parts necessary for his experiments. The novel reveals that Frankenstein uses dead bodies to give them life and form to his creation. Using dead bodies and electricity to bring his creation to life is something supernatural and unheard of in the human world. This makes Victor Frankenstein’s creation portray Romanticism because it goes beyond the elements of science (Bloom 115). In the same way, in Avatar, Pandora is explained as a world that is inhabited by supernatural beings. The movie shows the Na’vi as a species that is 10-foot tall, blue-skinned, but intelligent beings. It is not possible to see such creators interacting with humans. However, in Pandora, these beings interact with humans without harming them unless provoked. Their physical features are supernatural but that does not prevent humans from exploring their world. The Na’vi adopt Jake Sully as one of their own and this unlikely relationship of humans and supernatural creates the element of Romanticism. It is beyond imagination for a human being to be accepted by creatures that live in a different planet and have never been near other humans.
The only difference in the way Romanticism is represented in Frankenstein and Avatar is the fact that the events in Avator are happening in the future. The events in the movie occur in 2154, which is a time in the future that humans have not yet reached. This is an aspect of Romanticism because it is impossible for any human being to predict how events and the world will actually look like in the future. On the other hand, the narration in Frankenstein is of past events. Frankenstein is narrating the things he has done and accomplished as opposed to what could happen in future (Bloom 23).
- Bloom, Harold. Frankenstein. New York: InfoBase Publishing, 2009. Print.