Mary Shelley 's Frankenstein Vs. The Modern Prometheus

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In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus, Victor Frankenstein struggles against the monster that he creates. Their conflict eventually leads to tragedy for both of them. In the novel, the author provides numerous references to the opposites of fire and ice in the experiences of both Victor and his creation. Mary Shelley associates ice to Victor Frankenstein and fire to the monster to represent their respective underlying character. Initially in the novel, fire is linked to Victor and ice is linked to the monster. Victor starts his story with an affiliation to fire. As a young child, he is impacted greatly by seeing lightning strike a tree. However, he specifically describes seeing a “stream of fire” spurting from the old oak, as though the flames of life are leaving the tree. (Shelley 58) The connection is later revisited while he constructs the abomination, as he works under the light of his “candle”. (Shelley 91) These early references to fire are formative to a young, innocent Victor.
On the other hand, the monster starts with a connection to ice. His body parts come from the “churchyard”, which is painted as a dark “receptacle of bodies deprived of life”. (Shelley 80) “All is cold horror” in this place, according to Andrew Griffin in his analysis of fire and ice in Frankenstein. (Griffin 61) The setting is implied to be frigid, a reference to the ice motif. In addition, dead bodies are often described as frozen, lacking the heat that the living produce.

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