Marie F. Leblanc
Frankenstein and the Western Literary Tradition
10 January 2014
Are you a made man? In Mary Shelley’s (1797-1851) Frankenstein; Or the Modern Prometheus (1818), Victor Frankenstein creates a fiend out the dead body parts. Frankenstein, as a product of the Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution, is obsessed with advancing the cause of science, and in becoming famous and respected."A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me. I might in process of time (although I now found it impossible) renew life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption ”(Shelley 48). This modern day Prometheus, succeeds in doing what no man has done before, create life. The man he creates is contrary to what Victor envisioned. “How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form? His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips”(Shelley 51). After his creation comes to life, he refuses to accept his (parental) obligation; he does not care for the fiend, he does not provide it with shelter nor with food or love. He fails to teach and to instruct dismissing a relationship with his creature. Instead, in disgust of what he has done, Victor abandons “the fiend.” The fiend attempts to live a normal life; however, being abandon leaves the monster confused, afraid, left to his own devices, and angry. "'I am alone and miserable: man will not associate with me;’’ (Shelley 129) Victor abandon and left the monster as a fatherless child like his mother did when she died “..She whom we saw every day and whose very existence appeared a part of our own can have departed forever” (Shelley 38-39) All of the thing that he loved about his mother had been taken away and he was left as a motherless child. The story of Frankenstein and his creation is ultimately a story of abandonment. Abandonment (and neglect), Shelley suggests, is detrimental to growth and maturity; abandonment might result in the dehumanization of both the creator (parent) and his creation (child). Shelley’s novel is an exploration of where abandonment might lead.
[NOT SURE WHERE YOU ARE GOING WITH THIS. KEEP IT FOR NOW, IF YOU DECIDE THAT YOU NEED MORE OF A HISTORICAL FRAMEWORK] Ultimately, Frankenstein refuses to accept the responsibility of providing a source of companionship for the creation since he does not allow for any connection between himself and the monster. Victor basically flees, hoping to forget what he has created. He attempts to live a normal life however his abandonment leaves the monster confused, angry, and afraid. Frankenstein is an Enlightenment scientist, who crosses the boundaries of science and feels the need to discover the secrets of life. The Enlightenment Period was a cultural movement of intellectuals beginning in the late 17th and 18th century Europe emphasizing reason and individualism rather than tradition.
Victor Frankenstein has always been fascinated by nature and always wanted to conquer the
[PLACE AND ANALYZE THE QUOTE HERE – WHERE HIS FASCINATION BEGINS –
“When we visited it the next morning, we found the tree shattered in a singular manner. It was not splintered by the shock, but entirely reduced to thin ribbons of wood. I never beheld anything so utterly destroyed.Before this I was not unacquainted with the more obvious laws of...
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