Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Frankenstein can be described as a gothic novel that integrates elements from science fiction. The events in the novel focus on terrifying, dark, and mysterious events that are set in spooky locations such as a misty cemetery, the laboratory of a scientist carrying out terrifying experiments, an old mansion on a hilltop, or a forlorn countryside. The townspeople confronted Victor by making him face the town magistrate, Mr. Kirwin. They accuse Victor of being responsible for the death of a young man, Henry Clerval, aged about twenty five years. Although Victor created a monster in his quest for knowledge, death is seen as a symbol of the negative aspect of scientific experiments. The creature Victor created prefers death as its modus operandi. In addition, Victor yearns for death after he finds himself in a delirium of confusion and fever (Cummings, 2009).

Another incident of death is when Victor’s mother succumbs to death after she catches scarlet fever from Elizabeth. Her death acts as a symbol of continuity for Victor as she importunes Victor to marry Elizabeth. Moreover, Elizabeth’s German mother dies death during childbirth. Elizabeth is given up by her Italian father and eventually gets the attention of Mrs. Frankenstein. Death in this case symbolizes success because the death of Elizabeth’s mother resulted to her being taken in by the Frankensteins.

Victor’s mother, Caroline Frankenstein, got ill while taking care of Elizabeth Lavenza. Her illness leads to hear death and she pleads for Victor to marry Elizabeth. If she had not gotten ill, maybe the two would not have married. Although Caroline is well aware that scarlet fever is contagious, she cares for Elizabeth until she is back on her feet. Her illness helps symbolize the duty of society to tend to the poor, sick, and ostracized persons in the society. After Victor’s prosecution and viewing of Clerval’s dead body, he convulses and suffers a long illness. His recurrent illnesses and obsession with the monster affect his relationship with Elizabeth (Cummings, 2009). His father comes to see him after he falls ill. These scenes are symbolic of the great love that these characters hold for each other. Furthermore, the death of Elizabeth symbolizes the climax of the story. The deaths of Victor’s family, wife, and best friend are symbolic of the triumph of the monster over Victor. The monster manages to snatch the closest things to Victor, and even reduces his faith in science.

Death in Venice by Thomas Mann

            Death is the dominant theme in the novel. Although Mann’s use of symbolism is not similar to the style used by most authors, his use of pseudo-hidden symbolism helps us to understand the novel more effectively. In chapter three, Gustav von Aschenbach wakes to a gloomy day, with the weather still overcast, and he recalls his previous visit to Venice when he got ill as a result of the bad weather. He returned home, and he wonders of the same will happen this time round. Illness in this scene symbolizes the dangers posed by the weather. In addition, while taking a walk through the streets, Aschenbach finds the sirocco causing a suffocating sultriness that engulfs the air. He feels the pervaded air is harmful to his health, and decides to leave Venice for a resort near Trieste. The two extremes; Italy representing the sensuous south, and Aschenbach’s austere native Germany, represent the deathly dangers of extreme weather conditions. Death is symbolic of the stark difference in weather in the two locations.

The characters in the book depict death. The writer uses death to contrast the lifestyle of the various characters. Aschenbach meets with an exotic stranger whose description shows how bold and domineering he was. He had red-lashed eyes; his chin was up creating a good view of his Adam’s apple, which rose from his loose shirt. According to Shookman (64) Manns shows illness, aging, and abnormal sexuality. Death is used to symbolize the superiority of nature. Aschenbach’s interest in Tadzio is not understandable even to himself. Tadzio makes Aschenbach be reluctance to leave Venice, because of his artistic beauty. The gondola is alluded to death, with Aschenbach being unable to control where his gondolier takes him. Both the gondolier and the graveyard stranger have red hair. These ominous portents abound and are symbolic of the destiny of Aschenbach. They symbolize the fact that Aschenbach has not been brought to Venice by coincidence, but its destiny.

Death symbolizes the superiority of intellect over nature. The gondola symbolizes death, and paves way for the voyage taken to the Underworld by numerous classical heroes such as Hercules, Odysseus, and Theseus. Their death was symbolic of their determination and strength, which is starkly different from the weak surrender that drove Aschenbach. His crossing is coupled with ominous encounters; the grotesque old man, the employees on the steamer. The use of deathly scenes in the novel helps to bring out the contrast in the various culture and traditions of the characters in the book.