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Frankenstein - the Modern Prometheus

Essay by nat_kara  •  June 11, 2018  •  Essay  •  1,311 Words (6 Pages)  •  190 Views

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The Men Who Played God

 FRANKENSTEIN-The Modern Prometheus.

How Far Is Too Far?

Alice, Amelia, Damilola, Joy, Natalie, Sia and Monique

   Prometheus is a vital character in Greek mythology and he was the son of a titan. He stole fire from Zeus and gave it to humankind which could represent knowledge and enlightenment, alternatively it could also represent progression is civilisation. However, he was harshly punished which included being chained to a mountain whilst a vulture came and pecked at his liver every day until it was gone. Due to immortality and eternity, it grew back.

   In the novel of Frankenstein, Victor is a scientist who explores creation and attempts to create life too. However, although he succeeds, the ‘creature’ is consistently referred to as ‘miserable’ which longs for a companion.    Victor Frankenstein, as a scientist, enlightened societies with his view on creation; this alludes to the idea of the ‘fear of the unknown’.

   Moreover, Prometheus could be represented within ‘the modern Prometheus’ (Frankenstein) as similarly to Frankenstein, he had to live with the consequences and burdens of his actions as he thought it was his duty to mankind which represents his desire to show “Courage”. The noun ‘courage’ has connotations of bravery and intrepidity and is demonstrated when Prometheus became enraged by Zeus’ punishment and took it upon himself to steal fire back for the human proves Prometheus’ determination. This reflects to how in the Romantic era, they were all about liberation, the beauty of nature and being free of restrictions; perhaps Shelley could have included Prometheus to exemplify how in society, we fall victim to the power of free choice and that too much freedom leads to consequences such as guilt and regret. Alternatively, the vain noun could present Victor and Prometheus’ desire.

There were many biblical references in Prometheus, ‘I am rather a fallen angel’ has connotations of ‘hell’ or ‘an angel who has sinned’. Prometheus disobeyed someone who has higher authority than him- Zeus, his ‘sinful’ actions cost him severe consequences which led to his punishment of unforgiving pain. Despite the fact Prometheus’ intentions were convenient, the disobeying of Zeus’ words and his actions which caused pain to be afflicted upon him for several years, caused Prometheus to allude himself to a condemning and derogative name, ‘a fallen angel’. Similarly, Frankenstein also went against the Laws of Nature to create a ‘divine’ path for the benefit of humanity which also did not go according to plan.
Victor Frankenstein also had sound intentions to help humanity. However, the difference highlighted between the two characters was that Frankenstein sought a ‘god-like’ persona to attain his goal. Although they both refused to obey the decisions of the person in higher authority, in Victor’s case- God. In the story of Frankenstein, Victor was given many warnings, often in the accounts of forebodings or through pathetic fallacy or biblical allusions, ‘as complex and wonderful as men’, Victor refers to God’s work as ‘complex’ which discreetly emphasises the difficulties Victor will face to attain ‘god-like’ abilities as God’s work of human creation is very complex to the standard human understanding.
We can clearly see how similarly they both wanted to make a change for humans however one chose a more difficult way in order to be recognised in society. The similarities and differences are reiterated through these biblical references and shows how their non-condoned actions have created turmoil for them individually because their purpose to help society had been hindered because of their ‘sins’, both in Frankenstein and Prometheus. The distinctive links between the stories.

A key theme explored in Frankenstein is consequences. Prometheus desired to give fire to mankind, representing progression in civilisation, this was distinctly like Victor’s longings; to conquer death and ultimately help humanity- as they won’t have to suffer the loss or pain of losing their loved ones. However, their actions led to severe consequences which affected them drastically and led to their utter demise; Victor Frankenstein lived with the regret of reanimating life, this act alone was dangerous and frowned upon in his Christian society and Prometheus was eternally feasted upon by an eagle, because of his non-compliance towards somebody in a greater position than him- Prometheus disobeyed Zeus: the ‘God of the Skies’ and the ‘King’ of all the Greek gods.   

Regret is a key theme explored relating to ‘how far is too far’. Noticeably, Victor Frankenstein’s narrative is riddled with feelings of regret and self-condemnation, as after reanimating life Victor starts to spite his creation, mostly due to its ‘ugly’ existence and supernatural physique; Victor christened the creature as ’wretch’ this adjective has connotations being miserable and unfortunate, juxtaposing his previous excitement to create a ‘new species’ instead he realises how his passion cause him to lose ‘all soul and sensation’  



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