Shelley's Dr. Frankenstein: The Romantic Hero

703 words - 3 pages

Shelley’s writing was heavily influenced by the artistic movement that emerged in the 19th century in England. One of her most popular novels, Frankenstein, features one of the key aspects of romanticism: the romantic hero. In the excerpt from this novel in Fiero’s The Humanistic Tradition Dr. Frankenstein is shown to possess the qualities of said hero. The plot of Shelly’s Frankenstein highlights the unmanageable quest of Dr. Frankenstein’s attempt to overcome the decaying effect of death. His aspirations and ultimate “failure” are what brand his character the romantic hero of the novel.
The excerpt from the novel highlights Dr. Frankenstein’s conflict with the ambition of the romantic ...view middle of the document...

Death has always been a vice of man and in the scientific community, the greatest challenge to overcome. While many men of science may pursue this are of study, it is obsessive nature of Dr. Frankenstein that identifies him as the hero. The thought of besting death and its inevitability would discourage most but not this scientist. The extent of his determination is shown though his declaration that he “seemed to have lost all soul or sensation but for this one pursuit.” Similarly, the flaw of the romantic hero is also portrayed in the passage. The romantic hero is destined to fail in his endeavors as the doctor discovers that he was expanding his knowledge into dangerous territory. When Dr. Frankenstein believes that he has finally succeeded, like other romantic heroes, he is ruthlessly punished for his promethean behavior. His life’s work and dream is turned into a disaster as his creation is a hideous and utter failure. His creation is such a disaster the he describes it as a “daemoniacal corpse to which [he] had so miserably given life...

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