This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

From Myth To Fable: Frankenstein By Mary Shelley

1202 words - 5 pages

By giving “Frankenstein” the subtitle “The Modern Prometheus”, Mary Shelley made a connection between a central character of her 19th century novel and a titan from Greek mythology. Prometheus was employed by the Olympian gods in the process of creating men, and is known for stealing the element of fire from them for the benefit of mankind (Hunt). The myth about him appeared in many legends and fables prior to its reincarnation in the story about Victor Frankenstein, a science student who created a being by reviving dead matter using electricity (Atsma). “Frankenstein” is a modern image of the ancient myth. At the same time, it is a “Gothic”, Romantic novel, with an affinity to traditional fables visible in its content and structure.
The chief contrast between the novel and the myth is the absence of gods. Victor does “not ever remember to have trembled at a tale of superstition” (Shelley 51) since in his story human abilities replaced supernatural powers. Prometheus was punished by the gods; Frankenstein – by the product of his scientific endeavors. Electricity was his modern version of the stolen fire. In addition to science, other utterly human powers played significant roles in the novel, emphasizing its modern character. In the spirit of Romanticism, Shelley depicted the evils of her contemporary society. Due to his “miserable deformity” (114), the creature met with human prejudice and aggression, of both individuals and crowds. From his experiences with people, even with the De Lacey family that he admired, he learned that man was “at once so powerful, so virtuous…yet so vicious and base” (119). However, unlike other characters, he had managed to escape another man-made evil: the law. Justine, Safie, her father, and eventually even Victor were all subjected to “Kafkaesque” accusations of a juridical system which preferred “that ten innocent should suffer, than that one guilty should escape” (86).
Evidently, the novel was influenced by an “Age of Wonder” filled with scientific discoveries (Kirsch). It began and ended at the North Pole, “a land never before imprinted by the foot of man” (Shelley 16). In a Romantic manner, landscapes of wilderness created throughout the novel a pathetic fallacy of the characters’ emotions, reflecting solitude in lakes, sorrow in mighty storms, and joy in the beauty of Mont Blanc. However, the woods, lakes, and mountains where the story took place were not a modern discovery. Similar environments often constituted the settings of traditional folktales, the dangerous woods representing a dangerous world.
Habitually recounted by oral transmission, fables tend to be short and concentrate on one story, whereas the novel is printed, and is broader in its scope. Fables are told in third-person, revealing an omniscient perspective; the novel is written in the form of monologues, having first-person narration (Leveen). Nevertheless, the structure of the novel is reminiscent of the...

Find Another Essay On From Myth to Fable: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Essay

4782 words - 19 pages Frankenstein by Mary Shelley FRANKENSTEIN ‘Frankenstein is full of ideas and warnings which are relevant to a modern audience.’ -Discuss the enduring appeal of the novel. Introduction: Despite being over a century old, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein has continued to hold public interest for nearly two hundred years. The novel was published 1818 and is one of the most acclaimed gothic stories

Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley Essay

1305 words - 5 pages isolated life. In Frankenstein, author Mary Shelley creates a powerful story of torment and obsession through the skillful use of the literary devices of symbolism, irony, and foreshadowing. Mary Shelley uses symbolism to dramatically express the dominant theme of obsession in her gripping novel. By means of a prevalent symbol, light, Victor tells of his feverish obsession to create a living being saying, “No one can conceive the variety of

"Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley

2463 words - 10 pages . It was a time of much discovery such as never seen since the Romans, the electric battery had been invented just 16 years earlier by Alessandro Volta and in 1802, Luigi Galvani believed that he had found electricity present in human limbs. This means that electricity was still a novel thing, with unknown attributes. In Frankenstein Mary Shelley portrays it as a dangerous thing to meddle with unknown things. This was particularly relevant at the

Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley

1167 words - 5 pages Knowledge accompanied by wisdom, is a blessing. Knowledge helped scientists. make the most destructive weapon known to mankind, a nuclear bomb. It was lack of wisdom that caused United States of America to use it as a means of mass destruction, as illustrated in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Knowledge not accompanied by wisdom, is a curse. Victor Frankenstein, protagonist in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, is awed by the science of chemistry and

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

1483 words - 6 pages good of mankind. However both men fail to recognise the consequences that arise from their actions, but where Prometheus is punished by the Gods, Frankenstein is tormented by his very own creation for forming “a monster so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust”. It is apparent that Mary Shelley wrote the novel as a kind of warning to the many scientists and radicals at the time of publication, and to raise awareness about the

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

1468 words - 6 pages paraphrases in Frankenstein. Since Mary Shelley was so intimate with these great talents of the Romantic movement, it is quite natural that her most famous work Frankenstein reflects many of the Romantic trends and devices. Natural and remote settings are essential aspects in Romantic writing. Many Romantics find comfort from the natural scenery and nature as a common place to release their ideas. Most of the time their settings will be located in

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - 882 words

882 words - 4 pages When Mary Shelley started writing the story of Dr. Frankenstein, she did not realize the true potential of her work. She was simply writing a short story to pass the time. Shelley had no idea her story would evolve and grow as the years pass. She had no idea it would launch a whole genre of horror stories and an array of movies that have captivated the imagination of every generation including our own. The story of Dr. Frankenstein taps into the

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - 2113 words

2113 words - 8 pages We as humans want to be with each other. We actively pursue this goal be finding friends and significant others. While a moderate amount of solitude can be good we crave togetherness with others. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein isolation is a key theme in the novel. The creature created by Victor Frankenstein is driven into isolation from society based on people’s fear of him. Both the creature and Victor experience first hand the effects that

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

1689 words - 7 pages Press; Great Britain; 2003.; John Preston; 2013. Patterson, Paul; Frankenstein’s Self-Centeredness Leads Inevitably to Self-Destruction; The Greenhaven Press; San Diego; 2000. Shelley, Mary; Frankenstein; Wordsworth Editions Limited; Hertfordshire; 1993.

Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley

1409 words - 6 pages attention during the analysis of Frankenstein. Victor acts as a God-like figure as he creates life in the most unnatural way; which naturally contradicts this set of beliefs. This ideology is solidified within Mary Poovey’s essay regarding Shelley’s influence on Romanticism and feminism. “Shelley explodes the foundations of Romantic optimism by demonstrating the egotistical energies necessary to self-assertion – energies that appear to be at the

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - 1585 words

1585 words - 6 pages the United Kingdom. It slowly made its way throughout Europe then onto North America. It did not take long until the Industrial Revolution made its way around the world. This event had a major impact on our history. As time pasts by, machinery and technology will continue to improve and advance. As Mary Shelley was writing her novel Frankenstein, it was during the time period of the Industrial Revolution. Almost everyone was affected and the

Similar Essays

Frankenstein, By Mary Shelley Essay 1224 Words

1224 words - 5 pages committed such a vile act upon humanity. “A being whom myself had formed, and eluded with life, had met me at midnight among the precipices of an inaccessible mountain.”(Frankenstein, Mary Shelley) Victor may have admitted to creating the monster, but he denied that he had driven the monster to commit murder. He needed to admit, not only to himself, but to his family that he was the one responsible for William’s murder. By not admitting this

Frankenstein By Mary Shelley Essay 1292 Words

1292 words - 5 pages rapture of his liver by a crow. His attempts to better the lives of his creation brought him into direct conflict with others and himself, just like Frankenstein. Mary Shelley proves Victor’s Promethean archetypal through her use of symbols and actions such as knowledge and punishment. Victor and Prometheus were both given knowledge, were punished for it, and suffered from it. The novel “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley involves the complex

Frankenstein, By Mary Shelley Essay 1344 Words

1344 words - 5 pages The world consists of people that have the ability to overcome evil or become consumed in it. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a creature believed to be monstrous and destructive is created and as a consequence despised by the society he is brought into. Through the perspectives of Walton, Frankenstein, and the creature, Mary Shelley counters Frankenstein’s belief that the creature is a ‘demon’. The creature exemplifies more heartfelt

Frankenstein By Mary Shelley Essay 1339 Words

1339 words - 6 pages The novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley was written in the era of Romanticism which occurred between the eighteenth to the nineteenth century as a direct stance against The Age of Enlightenment. This particular historical time elevated both science and reason to be the ultimate goal. In contrast, the Romantic Movement namely aimed towards having intuition dominate reason and consider nature as a healing place for humans to flee urbanization and