From the beginning of time until now the limitless pursuit of knowledge reveals man’s weakness. Modern society provides humans with a wide variety of sources on how to gain knowledge, both good and evil. The thirst for forbidden knowledge beyond what man can essentially handle, causes a tragic life. The protagonist in the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley exemplifies the behavior of the ideal man grasping for more knowledge than he can truly bare; in turn this knowledge becomes tarnished. Shelley eludes to the Greek myth of Prometheus allowing the reader to delve deeper into the general theme that those who pursue an insatiable desire for knowledge, if not tamed,
In order to illustrate the main theme of her novel "Frankenstein", Mary Shelly draws strongly on the myth of Prometheus, as the subtitle The Modern Prometheus indicates. Maurice Hindle, in his critical study of the novel, suggests, "the primary theme of Frankenstein is what happens to human sympathies and relationships when men seek obsessively to satisfy their Promethean longings to "conquer the unknown" - supposedly in the service of their fellow-humans". This assertion is discussed by first describing the Promethean connection. Thereafter, the two forms of the myth, Prometheus the fire-stealer and Prometheus the life-giver are reviewed in the context of Shelly's use of the myth in her novel
In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Victor neglects his family as he buries himself into his research to create life. Victor’s raw ambition stems from a hubristic desire for omnipotence raging with a thirst for the elixir of life without any consideration of consequences. By choosing to throw himself into the wildest realms of science, Victor forfeits his limited time with his family, a time of immeasurable value. This in essence proves advancement’s paradoxical ungratifying nature; in Victor’s attempt to uncover the secrets of life, he strains family relationships, something of much greater value than the pittance of knowledge he acquired. Similarly, in the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the Mariner shoots the albatross associating the bird with a lack of wind. Neglecting to appreciate and love all life around him, the mariner’s decision to whimsically kill the albatross demonstrates his overreaching his role as a human ideally loves all living beings. Such audacity bears great misfortune and death, punishing not only himself, but his entire crew who suffer horrible deaths; the nature of overreaching and stretching the limits of knowledge exacts unexpected
The critically acclaimed novel written by Mary Shelley and published in 1818, delves into a multitude of universal themes throughout the text. One value that drives the plot forward, and leads to character development is the theme, human fulfillment of the pursuit of knowledge. It is Dr. Frankenstein 's unquenchable thirst for knowledge that leads to the future predicaments that ensue after the Creature is conceived and future moral dilemma. An example of Dr. Frankenstein 's disposition that lends itself to the validity of the stated theme, is as follows; “It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn; and whether it was the outward substance of things, or the inner spirit of nature and the mysterious soul of man that occupied me, still my inquiries were directed to the metaphysical, or, in its highest sense, the physical secrets of the world” (Shelley 30). The doctor 's preoccupation with his studies, that results in controversy over the suitable nature of such an unobtainable desire, is clearly exemplified in the quote, “If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasures in which no alloy can possibly mix, then that study is certainly unlawful, that is to say, not befitting the human mind” (45).
Mary Shelley’s cautionary horror tale, Frankenstein: A Modern Prometheus, portrays the deadly consequences of callous indifference to life. Throughout the novel, Shelley employs allusions to the Prometheus myth, Paradise Lost, and “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” Through these allusions, Shelley illustrates the creature’s yearning for love and acceptance, and Victors lack of love and compassion which leads to his ultimate destruction.
Frankenstein is Mary Shelley’s famous, fictional work in which a man unravels the secret to creating life. The main character in this story is Victor Frankenstein. Throughout the novel he grows from a young, innocent boy into a vindictive, vengeful man. He oversteps the bounds of science by becoming the creator of a being that never should have lived. In the poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, written by Samuel Coleridge, a man, much like Victor, takes the role of the main character. The ancient mariner, by killing the albatross, violates the laws of nature and has to repent for his crime. These two characters are very similar but they also vary in several key ways.
In the late eighteenth century arose in literature a period of social, political and religious confusion, the Romantic Movement, a movement that emphasized the emotional and the personal in reaction to classical values of order and objectivity. English poets like William Blake or Percy Bysshe Shelley seen themselves with the capacity of not only write about usual life, but also of man’s ultimate fate in an uncertain world. Furthermore, they all declared their belief in the natural goodness of man and his future. Mary Shelley is a good example, since she questioned the redemption through the union of the human consciousness with the supernatural. Even though this movement was well known, none of the British writers in fact acknowledged
Coleridge 's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" tells the story of an ancient mariner who kills an albatross and brings upon himself and his ship 's crew a curse. The ancient mariner travels the world, unburdening his soul, telling his story to whomever needs to hear it. Shelley alludes to the poem several times.
In the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, it has similarities to Frankenstein with structure. In Frankenstein, through careful reading, it is shown how The Rime of the Ancient Mariner has influenced Mary Shelley’s novel. The structure of both the novel and the poem are situated similarly. As well as the end of the novel is similar to the poem. The structure of Frankenstein is laid out to follow The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Also the poem has significance to each character in the novel, Walton his love for exploration and voyaging. For Victor it is his ambitions and wisdom. For the Creature, it is his wisdom as well and telling of his tale. The poem gives the reader a better understanding of the creature and allows the reader to see where the
Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” are similar pieces of works because they both emphasize the consequences of defying laws of nature. Both of the stories are told in a third person point of view and in a series of flashbacks. In Frankenstein, Robert Walton tells the majority of the story and in “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” it is told by the wedding-guest. The protagonist of both stories challenge nature and get punished for their mistake. Shelley and Coleridge both do a masterful job incorporating romanticism and Gothicism s into their works.
The poem “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” written by Coleridge and the book “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelly have a deeper connection then many may think. Both stories have many differences and similarities through the setting, theme, and characters. In these reads, both touch the same theme in a poetic way. In “Frankenstein” and “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” links to romanticism, the supernatural that merges the relationship between nature and human beings with no normal events that occur.
Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, references many other works of literature in her renowned book. To name a few of the referenced works there were John Milton’s Paradise Lost, the Greek “Prometheus myth”, and the widely known poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”. Each of these allusions gave a new meaning to Shelley’s story, affecting how each of the readers interpreted her words.
The novel Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, was a piece written in 1817 during a time when women weren’t considered to be adequate authors. Shelley’s work is both intriguing as it is thought provoking. She brings to light the true nature of society and life altogether when tested. She factors in how the outside world can influence our choices in writing. George Levine from “The Ambiguous Heritage of Frankenstein” and Benjamin Truitt from “Frankenstein Critical Analysis and Literary Criticism” both share their opinions about Shelley’s piece of written work.
Indeed, Shelley’s several allusions to Coleridge’s poem and the parallel plots that Frankenstein’s tragedy shares with the mariner’s tale are intentional references meant to expose her warning purpose. The mariner’s tale is a mirror image of Frankenstein’s—identical yet backwards. The mariner is punished for killing a Christ figure, Frankenstein is punished for vitalizing a demon—both offenses concern the illegitimate use of a godly prerogative and a disregard for the sanctity of life. Captain Walton—the warned—of course, is also a mariner; however, he sails north and the Ancient Mariner—the warner—sailed south. Walton himself is the first to allude directly to the rime saying that he goes “to the land of mist and snow,” yet he swears that he shall “kill no albatross” nor, says he, shall he return “as worn and woeful as the ‘Ancient Mariner’” (33). His vows are ironic, however, because he is saved from that ancient fate only by listening to Frankenstein’s tale which warns him against his hubristic quest for knowledge. Toward the end of the book, Captain Walton weighs his chance for discovery and glory against the lives of his men noting, “It is terrible to reflect that the lives of all these men are endangered through me. If we are lost, my mad schemes are the cause” (181). Happily, Frankenstein’s mariner-like caution proves effective for the captain who heeds the warning and turns back. The second-person
“But Sorrow Only Increased with Knowledge:” A Critique on Romantic Ideals in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein