From Pleasure to Plague: the Misfortunes of Mary Shelley and Victor Frankenstein

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The famous movie director and producer Cecil B. DeMille once stated, "Creation is a drug that I can't do without" (Knowles 967). Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and her fictitious Victor Frankenstein both apparently shared this passion for creation. In the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, one can draw many parallels between Shelley and Frankenstein in their attitudes towards and relationships with their creations. To begin with, they both find meaning in creation: for Shelley, wonderful stories and characters, and for Frankenstein, an actual human being. Their additional similarities can be demonstrated by the effect their works had on both of their lives and the transformation of their creations from pleasure to plague.

Mary Shelley experienced great grief after working on the novel, while Victor Frankenstein lost many loved ones, and along with them, any hope for happiness, after creating his monster. In the "Author's Introduction" of Frankenstein, Shelley talks of how her novel reminds her of times when she was happy and content: " I have an affection for it, for it was the offspring of happy days, when death and grief were but words which found no true echo in my heart" (xxvi). After she had written Frankenstein, Shelley suffered four miscarriages and the loss of her husband. She was still very young at the time, and she never fully recovered from her grief. In her novel on Mary Shelley, Anne Mellor writes, "Her frequent brushes with death— the losses of four children, of her husband, and of [friends]-- left her fatalistic and chronically depressed, excessively anxious for [her son's] health and welfare, and prone to an intense loneliness which she felt unable to alleviate" (Mellor 183). In a way, this work is so central to her life because she produced it when she was in the prime of her life. She was in love, doing her best writing, and simply enjoying life. However, it is bittersweet for Shelley, because it also reminds her of everything that she has...
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