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Frankenstein and the problem of visual representation in film

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  1. Introduction
  2. Review of Frankenstein a novel by Mary Wollstonecraft
  3. Making of a film based on the book
  4. The importance of the visual in films
  5. The importance of film and literary versions of the story
  6. Conclusion
  7. Bibliography

Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly is a classic novel that was written nearly two centuries ago. The title of the book is a reference to the scientist in the novel, Victor Frankenstein, who creates this creature that has the likeness of a human, but is larger and stronger, somewhat like a monster. The story is about the creation of this being and the trials and tribulations that take place between the creation and the scientist. Since this book was written and first published in 1818, the story of Frankenstein has taken many forms and changed in many ways. The story has been adapted in many ways, and popular culture as changed the story in considerable ways. This evident from the fact that Frankenstein has now come to refer to the ?monster' that the scientist created and not the scientist himself who originally carried the name. In addition, the image of ?Frankenstein' is firmly planted in most people's heads, but this is the image that was created in the films and not in the original book. It is an interesting course of study to examine story of Frankenstein has changed from its conception to present day. (Heffernan 1997: 133).

[...] The film is able to do this in a way that Shelley is not. In this way, the film is just paying a compliment to the original text as opposed to deviating from it in a significant way. (Heffernan 1997: 142). This essay has shown that it is not an easy task to recreate a novel, especially one of the nature like Frankenstein as portraying the visual is a significant challenge. The film adaptation of this novel was able to portray the visual in ways that the novel [...]


[...] The film versions of Frankenstein seem to confirm this as they do much to create an image of what Frankenstein is ?supposed' to look like, but they do not do justice to the inner life of the creature that Shelly provides in the novel. (Metz 1974: 119). The film adaptations of the novel fail in the way that they do not do justice to the original story of the brilliant narrative of Shelley. In the film Frankenstein, the creature is shown ripping out the heart of Elizabeth, Victor's bride, but in doing so, the film version does not allow the inner dialogue of the creature to permeate and get through to the audience. [...]

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