Frankenstein

The Consequences of Disrupting the Natural Order of Things in Gothic Literature College

The opposition between the natural and the unnatural is particularly prominent in gothic literature and the transgression of the boundaries between the two is often seen to be condemned. In Shakespeare’s play Macbeth(1606), Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein (1818) and Angela Carter’s collection of short stories titled The Bloody Chamber (1979), the “natural order” is certainly disrupted. However, the extent to which the consequences of this disruption are necessarily bad is questionable.

In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the “evil” deeds Macbeth commits are certainly seen as transgression to the unnatural. His dabbling with the supernatural forces of the witches in the opening of the play allows the audience to form a link between Macbeth and the supernatural to an extent where a 17th century audience would certainly see them as the cause of the change in Macbeth’s character. Shakespeare uses the witches to foreshadow Macbeth’s later suffering and fall from grace with the extended metaphor of the “shipman” who “sleep shall neither night nor day”, suggesting that Macbeth’s death was an inevitable consequence after he disrupted the natural order of things. Furthermore, when considering the context of the play, the reference to the...

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