Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Satanic-Promethean Ideals Essay

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Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Satanic-Promethean Ideals

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is a novel in conscious dialogue with canonical classics and contemporary works. It contains references to Coleridge, Wordsworth, and P. B. Shelley, but also to Cervantes and Milton. It is the latter's Paradise Lost which informs the themes and structure of the novel more than any other source. Like many of her contemporaries, Mary Shelley draws parallels between Milton's Satan and the Titan Prometheus of Greek myth. However, the two are not simply equated (as in Byron's poem, "Prometheus"), but appear in various facets through both Victor Frankenstein and his creation. Furthermore, God, Zeus, and Adam are also evoked through these
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Frankenstein is treading upon the domain of the gods in his attempt to create life, and he suffers perpetual torture without death at the hands of his own creation, who does not eat his liver, but destroys the lives of his loved ones.

Both Prometheus and Frankenstein are given the opportunity to end their suffering, but they refuse out of pride and stubbornness-heroic virtues in the classical world, sins in Christendom. The god Oceanos tells Prometheus, "give up this angry mood of yours and look for means of getting yourself free of trouble... you are not yet humble, still you do not yield to your misfortunes, and you wish, indeed, to add some more to them" (Aeschylus, lines 317-318, 322-323).2[2] Likewise, Victor is the author of his own suffering, as the creature explains, "This passion is detrimental to me, for you do not reflect that you are the cause of its excess" (Shelley 191). Victor is also given the opportunity to stop the damage; all he has to do is provide the creature with a partner, "I swear...that if you grant my prayer...you shall never behold me again" (193). Frankenstein finally refuses due to his stubborn adherence to a faulty assessment of the situation.

In the Roman version of the story of Prometheus, the Titan is also the

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