If a reader was to compare the macabre gothic darkness in the novels of Frankenstein, Dracula and The Phantom of the Opera, one would believe that the element of horror and depravity in each book would be on an equal standing. But the reader would be incorrect, for in respects to horror, somberness, trauma, deprivation of love, empathy and respect, Frankenstein towers above the others. It has a hybrid of excessive melancholy despair and disturbing horror. It is a work of literature where the gothic element is pushed to the zenith. Where Dracula is a novel of lust and physical intimacy, at its core, it is still a novel of love-however warped and disturbing it may be. Where the Phantom in Gaston Leroux's novel is a more well-rounded representative of human needs, Frankenstein really isn't. If anything he is a full throttled representation of anger and rage. And that is only one side of human dynamics. His is a living organism, created and plunked into the epicenter of humanity, a walking, thinking experiment that goes terribly awry. Frankenstein is not a creature of God-and perhaps therein is where the problem lies-but a concoction of man's arrogance and man's wickedness for unrepentant self-glorification. One could easily say that he is the genuine embodiment of the true son of Satan, albeit a human one. And that is truely appalling. He is the son of evil who is able to see and feel the horror of his own birth. How ironic! His abomination is both internal and external. Frankenstein obviously addresses numerous contemporary issues: the medical ethics of cloning, the wanton lack of family responsibility and the dangers that arise as a result of it, and lastly-the sometimes subtle, sometimes not-emotional evolution of humans into self-proclaimed gurus or demigods. Is there really a stark difference between Dr. Frankenstein and say, the megalomaniac Reverend Jim Jones of the People's Temple or Marshall Applewhite of Heaven's Gate? Dr. Frankenstein untimately comes to his senses when it is too late, but his desire for historical immortality via creative and scientific recklessness is no different then the hunger of contemporary, psychotic cultist gurus or tyrannical dictators-evil doers who are willing to go at any extreme in order to be remembered. Religion often plays a part in gothic works. The idea of a higher authority isn't always blatantly addressed, but its essence is surely felt. Dracula was at one point a human being who casts God to the side, makes his own decision and evolves into a horror of his own making. The phantom was a deformed being who, because of his skeletal appearance, was cast into the scummy bowls of Paris. But there was something that both of these characters had-and without sounding like a preacher-simply, they had God, a force whom they could turn to for strength and persistence. And what did Frankenstein have? A god, a father, a force who turned his back on him. Frankenstein is an especially sad novel, because the monster is truly alone in every sense of the word. He is a genetic calamity whereby only suicide could be his salvation. Mary Shelly incorporated many possibilities in this novel for the creature to find happiness, numerous inroads for human acceptance; a case-in point would be the various scenes with the creature's 'beloved' cottagers, but just when you think you have the progress of the story 'licked,' you are deceived and led down another road entirely: from hopelessness, to hope, to hopelessness, back to hope. Elegantly written and truly thought-provoking, Frankenstein is a novel that can't be limited in the things it has to say. A true classic.