The Modern Prometheus
When Mary Shelley’ “Frankenstein” rose to fame, literary critics sparked fierce debates concerning whether the main character, Victor Frankenstein, was influenced by the Greek myth of Prometheus. While Victor and Prometheus both created their own version of humans, their methods and overall affection for their creation is startling different. Some critics argue that Victor is in fact the modern Prometheus because of the ways Victor went about creating the monster with his use of science. Other critics support this theory with the circumstances under which Mary wrote it, where she was heavily influenced by the Romantic philosophies of Lord Byron and her husband, Percy Shelley, and she even subtitled the novel as “The Modern Prometheus”. When viewing all of the evidence, many critics can agree that Mary was heavily influenced by the myth of Prometheus when writing Frankenstein.
When Mary first wrote “Frankenstein”, she was heavily influenced by the people and environment around her to include elements of Romanticism in her novel. When Mary first wrote “Frankenstein”, she originally wrote it for a short story competition between her and other authors. This competition was held by Lord Byron, who was a renowned Romantic author of the time who also wrote “Promethean poems” (Rider). At only nineteen years of age, Mary was a young and inexperienced author who most likely drew her ideas from “her father, William Godwyn, and those of her lover, Percy Bysshe Shelley” (James). Her father was famous novelist and political philosopher that help shaped Mary’s opinions and writing style that helped her to incorporate the ideas of her father into her own works. Her husband, Percy, also was a well renowned author who released his own novel, Prometheus Unbound, shortly after Mary completed Frankenstein. This title reflects the subtitle of Frankenstein, The Modern Prometheus, and helps to illustrate the major influence the Prometheus myth had on many...
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