Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus
Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus is a novel written by Mary Shelly, published in 1818 anonymously; Shelley’s name soon appeared on the second edition in 1823. One night in 1816, whilst she was a guest at Lord Byron’s villa near the Swiss Alps, Byron read a book of ghost tales to start off the night’s entertainment. He then proposed that everyone present ought to compose a ghost story of their own. It’s been said that although most other though of ideas for their stories quite quickly, Mary had drawn a blank; as if she had what we call writers block. Not too many nights later, a vision appeared. “I saw-with shut eyes, but acute mental vision-I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he has put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some power engine show signs of life and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion. Frightful it must be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavor to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world.” Shelley began to write Frankenstein the next day. Frankenstein is very much like the vision that had appeared to Marry Shelley. The book is named for the narrator of majority of the novel, Victor Frankenstein. He was born into a wealthy Swiss family and lived a very joyful and ideal childhood. One day, Victor’s mother, Caroline, wanders by the home of a beautiful foster child. Although the family is kind and caring, the foster parents’ poverty makes caring for this girl a financial burden. Named Elizabeth, this young girl was adopted by Caroline. Elizabeth played an enormous part in Victor’s childhood and the rest of his life. He considered her more than a cousin and a sister; he considered her his. As Victor’s childhood passed by, his family settled in Geneva. Soon after, his parents decided it was time for Victor to begin his university studies at Ingolstadt. Before he leaves, his mother...
Cited: Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus. Ed. D.L. Macdonald and Kathleen Scherf. Peterborough: Broadview Press, 1994.
Norton, Dans and Peters Rushton. Classical Myths in English Literature. New York: Greenwood Press Publishers, 1969. P. 311-316.
Mullen, Patrick. The Creation of Man by Prometheus. http://members.tripod.com/’greekmyth/creationman.html
Patterson, Arthur Paul. A Frankenstein Study. http://www.watershed.winnipeg.mb.ca/Frankenstein.html
Smith, Christopher. Frankenstein as Prometheus. http://www.umich.edu/~umfandsf/class/sf/books/frank/papers/FrankCS.html
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