In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, there are several references to God and the bible, specifically the book of Genesis. Shelley uses allusion to point to the idea of the parallels between Victor and the Monster and the story of Adam and Eve. These allusions are not only comparisons of Victor to God and the Monster to Adam but also Victor to Adam.
Driven by his mother’s own death, Victor looked to science for a way to combat death and illness for his own personal benefit and glory. By giving his creation life, he manages to attain the knowledge and status similar to that of God. The creation of this monster, like Prometheus’ stealing of fire, leads to Victor’s punishment. His life becomes one of loneliness and isolation, brought upon him by the creation of his creature and his attempt to be God. His carelessness and inability to fully understand the complications with his experiment contributed to his downfall and ultimately leads to a diversion in this comparison.
Victor and the creation of his monster to God and the creation of Adam, I feel as though another implication could be made. Victor Frankenstein could be seen as Adam. In Genesis God says to Adam, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2). The creation of the monster sets off a series of events ultimately ending in the death of Victor’s family, leaving him to die alone in isolation. The
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Both Frankenstein and Paradise lost introduce similar characters with comparing and contrasting motives, stories, and characteristics. Satan and Adam, In Paradise Lost, and the monster, in Frankenstein, are both created beings with a purposeful creation, yet Satan and the Creature both turn out to be outcasts to their creators and both become vengeful and angry towards their masters. Even Adam betrayed God by defying his command to not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. God, in Paradise Lost, and Victor, in Frankenstein, also share similar stories and motives by which both were masters of a creation, but God looked on his creation with pleasance and gladness in contrast to Victor whom viewed his creation as horrifying and disturbing.
However, in Victor's role as God he is so enthralled with the thought of bringing life to a lifeless corpse that he ignores the moral affects that his creation will have on society. He wants so badly to understand, and potentially prevent, the mortality of man that he never thinks there may be a reason we can't create life or live forever. He thinks nothing to altering a system that has existed in the world since the inception of life. It is not until after he completes his experiment, he can only begin to understand some of the consequences. In discussing the shock of his creation Victor states, " how can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pain and care I had endeavoured to form?"(34). Much like with the current stem cell and genetics research ethical questions being raised, there are a lot of things to consider when one begins messing with the complexity of life. Life itself is complex beyond our understanding; relatively little is known today about its inner-workings. Therefore, it can be nothing better than irresponsible to create life from death, when you don't understand what is already alive. The admittance of his disappointment in his work causes one to question why he would create such a monstrous creature that would obviously not fit into society. The most obvious explanation would be that he is so overpowered with the possibility of his own death, that he hopes to gain the knowledge of
In Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, had an inter-textual connection to the bible. Shelley connects the creature to Satan, his relation to Adam, the story of Adam and Eve, the book of Genesis and his reading of Paradise Lost. As the bible was an esteemed text in the early 1800s, Shelley’s use of it in her novel served to establish Frankenstein as a sort of parable of didactic text. She begins with the idea of creation in the book of Genesis to start her allusions.
In the story whenever Victor feels like he needs to find himself and gain control of himself he goes out into the nature to find motivation inside himself. Victor has a knack for using the nature to his advantage, he uses it to find himself while in the wild, but he also uses it to create the creature. His drive for success became so great that he went to make a creature that would make him very influential in the scientific world once he proved that he could create life with his bare hands. Victor was successful in creating the creature, but once he had created the creature he was disgusted with his creation and all his work became an eminent failure. He then proceeded to abandon the creature because of how hideous it appeared.
In the true Garden of Eden, Eve is instructed by God that she is not to eat from the forbidden Tree. However, being tempted by Satan himself she is forced to make an age-old decision, one in which all know the outcome. Satan tempts her with the prospect of knowledge, saying, “[…] your Eyes that seem so cleere,/ Yet are but dim, shall perfetly be then/ Op’nd and cleerd, and ye shall be as Gods,/ Knowing both Good and Evil as they know”(PL 8.706-708). In Frankenstein, Victor is an “Eve,” dabbling in affairs reserved for God alone, and seeking a forbidden knowledge. This knowledge is the ability to create life, and, in the process, bring death to Death. He relates that “[he] might in process of time […] renew life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption” (55). This search to put an end to Death is Eve’s motive as well. Satan tells her that “[she] shall not Die” if she eats of the fruit, but only lose her humanity to become a god, if death be considered that.
Unlike Adam and Eve in the bible, Victor is subservient to his creation because of the its ability to control Victor by hurting the ones close to him. However, in light of the biblical text, Victor’s bond with his creations strongly parallels God’s actions after the disobedience in the garden. After their sin, “Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the lord amongst the trees of the garden” (English Gen. 3:9), and in Shelley’s Frankenstein after the creature kills William, Victor encounters his creature while walking through the
The story contains multiple point of views from vital characters, but all relating to the actions or reactions of Victor. When he was a child he lived with close family in Geneva. As a child he had an interest in science abdb began studying the works of Paracelsus, Michelangelo, and more. His father never supported this interest and suggested he spend his time doing something else. Victor didn't listen and continued to invest his time studying. He grew up this same way later attending the University of Ingolstadt. There he majored in the study of nature and human nature. In class he was very intrigued and would often ask his professors for their opinion on certain experiments and scientists. Some scientists that Victor had as a child studied, they criticized with struck something in Victor. He vowed to never be denied the way the were. He wanted to be the best, to create thing no one else had ever done, for his name to be known as a man who set a historic mark. He knew what he would have to do. He want to his laboratory and would spend hours in there, neglecting human contact and his classwork. He was too busy drawing up his plan. He wanted to create a person, he knew he would have to do this by gathering old/ dead body parts. He was disgusted by the idea but determined to make his mark in science. After many days and nights his product was finished. He had created a living breathing monster. Instead of being proud Victor was scared. Scared of its presence and what it was capable of. He left it out of fear. While he was gone the monster endured a lot. He had to learn how to live, how to eat, drink and communicate. This was especially hard given his physical attributes. Being of a greenish tone, and way larger than the average man, many knew he was a monster and only became scared when they saw him. Because of this he had no help trying to learn. He found a shed and
Although the Monster claims to be Victor's Adam, and Victor often thinks of himself as God, the reality of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is that both Victor and his creation are closer to Satan in John Milton's Paradise Lost. Victor and the Monster bring hell to themselves and others because of their relentless self-centeredness.
It is important to note that Victor and the creature are compared to one another to show the connection amongst them. Victor and the creature both shared the misfortune of becoming an outcast of society. When Victor observed his finalized creation of the monster, he found it incredibly disturbing. He was ashamed as well as afraid of how society might interpret him as a person, for creating such a “hideous monster.” Due to Victor’s act of abandoning the creature, society was a cruel and discomforting place for an ignorant yet innocent being, such as the creature. The creature expressed his misfortune by creating insight to his situation stating, “the whole village was roused; some fled, some attacked me… I escaped to the open country and fearfully
Victor grew up wanting to understand the powers of nature and loved the study of alchemy (pg. 24). He planned to astound the world by bringing the dead back to life. However, like most villainous back-stories his passion crosses the line and is transfigured into obsession; engulfing his mind with the trite ideas of glory and fame. Victor soon began to think of himself higher than God, creating life and cheating death. However, when Victor’s creation finally came to life he was mortified and exclaimed, “This wretch who I spent such infinite pains and care endeavored for…” (pg.36).
Frankenstein’s creature is a testament to this theory as his education and growth follow several divergent paths throughout his short existence, resulting at the last in the freedom of the creature through the death of his creator. Strangely, although the secular theme is continued throughout the text, the religious references and biblical allusions cannot be ignored and are a complex addition to a text that would otherwise be viewed as a secular treatise on the dangerous nature of knowledge. Although it would be simple to pare the text down to such non-religious terms, it cannot be ignored that Frankenstein contains a great deal of biblical symbolism, particularly the theme of the outcast and the story of creation. One difference, though, makes the monster a sympathetic character,
The novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is a metaphor for the relationship between God and man, Dr. Frankenstein representing God and his creation representing humans. The narrative closely follows that of the story of Adam and the Apple. Shelley used frame narrative, imagery, and biblical allusions to show how curiosity and a deadly thirst for knowledge is the pitfall of all creatures. Frankenstein is written from the perspective of the speaker, an approach that allows the original voice of the characters to come out, unblemished by the bias of any other characters. The most important use of this strategy was while relaying the history Frankenstein’s creation after Dr. Frankenstein had abandoned him.
Long before the monster’s creation, Victor drops everything in life to pursue knowledge. His ego leads him to desert all of his friends and family to design and construct an abomination.
In the nineteenth century gothic novel Frankenstein, Mary Shelley uses numerous allusions within her novel that can easily be interpreted by the reader. These allusions make it easier for readers to understand the characters and compare their circumstances throughout the story. The most significant and most used was from John Milton’s epic Paradise Lost. It is known that, “…Paradise Lost stands alone in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries atop the literary hierarchy, and Milton’s epic is clearly rooted in the history of Puritanism and in the bourgeois ideal of the individual, the ‘concept of the person as a relatively autonomous self-contained and distinctive universe’” (Lamb 305). This book has numerous parallels that readers can easily interpret to Frankenstein. Victor Frankenstein and his monster can both be identified with several characters from Paradise Lost. Among these characters are Adam, Eve, Satan, and God. Paradise Lost is even mentioned in the novel, after the monster that Victor creates reads the epic as if it was a history book. The Creature states, “But Paradise Lost excited different and far deeper emotions. I read it, as I had read the other volumes which had fallen into my hands, as a true history. It moved every feeling of wonder and awe that the picture of an omnipotent God warring with his creatures was capable of exciting” (Shelley 124). He is able
Comparatively, some readers could believe that Frankenstein illustrates the fear of the power of religion. Victor’s creation of the monster is ultimately a transgression, defiling morality and arguably giving him ultimate power over life and death. The idea alone is fear inducing, but further still is the way in which Victor goes about this achievement. He is emotionally detached from the bodies he is digging out of graves and mutilating “a churchyard was to me merely the receptacle of bodies deprived of life”, sparing no thought of the unspoken moral codes of humanity. There are also the interesting parallels of John Milton’s Paradise Lost; the Monster finds the book and interprets it literally “I read it… as a true history”; as many Christians interpret the Bible literally; this could represent the fear of the power of religion, as it suggests that people who take religious teachings absolutely literally are dangerous because they have no logical reasoning, as the monster does not. Furthermore, the monster compares Victor to God, as he has created him and thusly