Frankenstein Comparison to the Rime of the Acient Mariner

Topics: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Romanticism, Mary Shelley Pages: 3 (876 words) Published: April 23, 2012
Frankenstein is Mary Shelley’s famous, fictional work in which a man unravels the secret to creating life. The main character in this story is Victor Frankenstein. Throughout the novel he grows from a young, innocent boy into a vindictive, vengeful man. He oversteps the bounds of science by becoming the creator of a being that never should have lived. In the poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, written by Samuel Coleridge, a man, much like Victor, takes the role of the main character. The ancient mariner, by killing the albatross, violates the laws of nature and has to repent for his crime. These two characters are very similar but they also vary in several key ways. Both characters have issues with knowledge. Frankenstein is obsessed with knowledge in his younger years, which ultimately leads to his act of creation. In chapter two Victor exemplifies this by saying “My temper was sometimes violent… not toward childish pursuits, but to an eager desire to learn” (Shelley 37). It is this addiction that led to the downturn of his life. The mariner is cursed by his knowledge because he must travel the world enlightening people, such as the wedding guest, to his disturbing tale. This is shown when the mariner says “Since then, at an uncertain hour/ That agony returns/ And till my ghastly tale is told/ This heart within me burns” (7.16.582-85). In terms of volition, he is the opposite of Victor. Victor actively seeks to learn everything and has devoted his life to the pursuit of knowledge. However, the mariner has obtained his knowledge by chance, through impulsive rather than thoughtful action, and now has to give his life to preach what he has learned. The fact that knowledge has ruined both of their lives connects the characters of Victor and the mariner. Another key similarity is their isolation. Victor is constantly tormented by his guilt and becomes ill and disconnected from the world. He usually chooses to be alone. He shows this in chapter...
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