Style of language


General style of language

The language of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is complex and often difficult. This is partly because of the age of the text – the novel is over 200 years old. Shelley also frequently uses long sentences and complex wording. This creates a formal tone.

The three narrators (Walton, Frankenstein, and the creature) are all highly articulate and use complex language, demonstrating that they are educated and well-read. This is particularly surprising when it comes to the creature, who learned to speak only a few months previously, but it highlights the similarities between the three characters as living, emotional beings. 

The novel includes religious words and images

In terms of the choice of words, Shelley frequently employs religious language and imagery. Frankenstein repeatedly refers to the creature as a “devil” (e.g. p. 78, p. 102), and the creature compares himself to Satan (p. 132) and the “fallen angel” (p. 103). 

Much of the religious language is inspired by John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost (1667), which tells the Biblical story of the cre...

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