More on the mountains

More on the mountains:

This passage shows how landscape began to be seen in a new way during the 18th century. Mary Shelley employs these changing ideas to create atmosphere and drama. Mountains had previously been seen as dangerous and frightening places, avoided by all but the most courageous travellers. Ideas of beauty were changing, however, and a taste was developing for remote, dangerous and awe-inspiring locations, which aroused sublime feelings.

Frankenstein uses a number of notable words and phrases to describe the mountains and their effect on him:

  • ‘tremendous', ‘awful and majestic', ‘solitary grandeur' and ‘this wonderful and stupendous scene' suggest power, strength, immensity and sense of fear aroused by mountains;
  • ‘terrifically desolate', ‘sombre' and ‘an air of severity' emphasise the emptiness and sadness of the setting, but not in a negative way;
  • ‘sublime ecstacy', ‘wings to the soul', ‘solemnizing' and ‘melancholy impression' suggest that the mountains can exert an influence which is similar to religious feelings and can change or reflect the individual's mood.

Other natural phenomena, such as mist, wind and shadow and the difficult terrain, add to the attractions of the scene: sights which were irregular, changeable and potentially dangerous began to be valued above those which were static and perfect.

Scan and go

Scan on your mobile for direct link.