Mary Shelley´s Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus, an Analysis of the Subtitle

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1.Introduction What would you do if you discovered a secret that changed everything? “I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation.” (Shelley 37). Ab initio Victor Frankenstein, the main protagonist, is being put on a level with Prometheus through the subtitle. An indication that Mary Shelley did indeed have the myth in mind as she wrote the novel, is not only her subtitle, but moreover the parallels between the Prometheus myth and Frankenstein, which are undeniable. The title itself gives a lot away of the story which follows. It links the modern world with the ancient Greek myth. Victor Frankenstein “steals” the secret of life, just like Prometheus stole the secret of fire.…show more content…
2. The Byron- Shelley- Circle Lake Geneva in the summer of 18161. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, best known for her gothic novel Frankenstein; Or the Modern Prometheus was a part of an artistic relationship, which later would be known as the Byron- Shelley- Circle. Among the visitors and travelers of Lake Geneva were namely Mary Shelley her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, Leigh Hunt and Thomas Love Peacock2. Amongst the members of the circle arose a strong mutual influence. Having the greatest benefit of being a circle composed of authors, they tried to challenge each other to their best3. Please note that during 1816 Lord Byron was finishing his poem Prometheus and shortly after the publication of his wife’s novel, Percy Shelley would compose Prometheus Unbound, a semi-sequel to Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound. In conclusion, Percy Shelley and Lord Byron had spirited conversations, whereby Mary Shelley was and attentive listener. (cf. Sailer 85- 86). So during the summer they dealt with the promethean myth and have read, heard and written various horror stories within their circle, which no doubt also animated Mary Shelley´s imagination. 2.2 The inspiration for Frankenstein; or the modern Prometheus Another conspicuity, besides the circles function as “inspirer”, was that “By the turn of the 19th century, it was common knowledge among the educated classes that scientists were trying to fathom the

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