Frankenstein - Allusions

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Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein is a gothic novel which employs the idea of humans having a bottomless and motivating, but often dangerous, thirst for knowledge. At the heart of Frankenstein, is a lesson about the search for knowledge, and the perils that accompany the pursuit. In her novel, Victor Frankenstein learns to create life from various deceased human features but as the novel progresses the creature which Frankenstein creates rebels against its creator. Shelley’s Frankenstein can be considered an allegory for the industrial revolution – a warning that seeking too much power can be dangerous. Frankenstein also alludes to fables such as “Prometheus: Bringer of Fire”, “Paradise Lost” and “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and it is through the discussion of these Intertextual references, along with the protagonists’ characterisation that this interpretation of the pursuit for knowledge and its consequences is achieved. Frankenstein alludes to “Prometheus” and through these two texts; readers are shown how the pursuit for knowledge has its consequences. The parallels that are seen between Prometheus and Victor are exposed as soon as Victor’s narrative begins. The first chapter describes the type of family that Victor grew up with. His ancestor’s had been “for many years counsellors and syndics; and his father had filled several public situations with honour and reputation” (Ch.1). This type of upbringing closely relates to the upbringing Prometheus had – raised with the gods, he, like Victor was brought up in a world of power, knowledge and wealth. As Victor’s narrative continues, the correlation between him and Prometheus grows further as he describes his youth and his increasing desire for knowledge. This Intertextual link is crucial in allowing the reader to see Victor’s true character in the relation he has to Prometheus as he is well known in Greek mythology to have been extremely passionate for knowledge. This thirst for knowledge led to the ability...
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