Mary Shelley 's Frankenstein : The Modern Prometheus ( 1818 ) Essay

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In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus (1818), many binary comparisons appear and reveal to the reader deeper meanings beyond the written word. One of the most important juxtapositions represents the binary scale of solitude versus companionship as evident in the protagonist Victor Frankenstein and the Creature whom he creates. Although these characters compare in a plethora of ways, a Structuralist focus on the latter’s forced seclusion and search for camaraderie, compared to Frankenstein’s self-isolation and rejection of love, will allow the reader to understand the underlining tragedy of the story. This juxtaposition is important when read from the viewpoint of a French Structuralist, as this theory makes binary comparisons which allow for deeper meanings to come light; therefore, the Creature’s separation from community is only meaningful as a binary comparison to Frankenstein’s self-segregation.
Structuralism is deeply rooted in the base idea that each element has a reverse component. The opposites play off of each other in order to best convey an idea. For example, light and dark enhance each other by their contrast. Only when it is dark outside do people carry flashlights. The presence of darkness allows for a deeper appreciation of the light. However, in order for a comparison to have value, the reader and writer must agree on context. A theorist cannot say, “Flashlights and the night are opposites” without providing a realm of interpretation.
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