One of the more subtle monstrosities produced by the Gothic interrogation of the wealth and science obsessed Victorian era is the new forms Sin which indicate a pervasive estrangement of Victorian society and its values with God.
The Victorians, with their new found optimisms in the Enlightenment and science created in its shadow countless possibilities in which tenets of religious beliefs have been forgotten and betrayed. Sin as explored in the Gothic is this very shadow.When Frankenstein creates his monster, he manages to use the scientific advances of his age to displace the creation role of God. Hence, Science as a possible road to hell is exposed and explored in the Gothic. But religion as cast aside also manifests itself in gestures like Harker’s skepticism of the gift of the Crucifix which later brings him comfort. These sentiments are also most obvious when Dr. Jekyll tries to rid himself from Sin; he no longer turns to religion but to science and produces a monster who is the embodiment of his sin. As for redemption, the church as an institution is usually absent, a mark of Victorian skepticism, and characters like Mina Harker have to rely on their own faith and belief for redemption. More often, the new forms of Gothic sin that arise out of Victorian obsessions for knowledge and wealth leave their pursuers in a self created hell on earth, tormented by their monsters. The monsters of Sin no longer come from hell but from the hands of man.
Courtesy of Stephanie Chu, 2006, National University of Singapore class: EN 4223 - Topics in the Nineteenth Century: The Gothic and After, Gothic Keywords project .
Books from 1866
The Mysteries of a London Convent [transcript], William H. Hillyard
Books from 1805
Books from 1801
The Gothic Story of Courville Castle; or the Illegitimate Son, a Victim of Prejudice and Passion: Owing to the Early Impressions Inculcated with Unremitting Assiduity by an Implacable Mother Whose Resentment to Her Husband Excited Her Son to Envy, Usurpation, and Murder; but Retributive Justice at Length Restores the Right Heir to His Lawful Possessions. To Which is Added the English Earl: or the History of Robert Fitzwalter, Unknown