Mary Shelley 's Frankenstein : A Modern Prometheus

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Allusions in Frankenstein: A Modern Prometheus
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.
In the first place, Shelley alludes to Greek mythology, the Prometheus myth, to demonstrate Victor’s creation of life and feelings for his creature. Shelley writes, “Who shall conceive the horrors of my secret toil as I dabbled among the unhallowed damps of the grave or tortured the living animal to animate the lifeless clay?” (Shelley, 45). Victor gathered parts of human anatomy taken from graves for his creation, but Shelley reminds us of Prometheus by pointing out the words “lifeless clay.” Hence, Prometheus created humans out of clay, shaping them into small figures. Once again, Shelley resorts to an allusion to the myth by saying, “I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet”(Shelley, 48), referring to how Victor infused life into his creation through galvanism. In a like manner in the myth, the Greek goddess Athena, Zeus’s daughter, venerated the figures that Prometheus had created and breathed on them
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