The Author as Creator in Frankenstein Essay

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The Author as Creator in Frankenstein

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein can be read as an allegory for the creative act of authorship. Victor Frankenstein, the 'modern Prometheus' seeks to attain the knowledge of the Gods, to enter the sphere of the creator rather than the created. Like the Author, too, he apes the ultimate creative act; he transgresses in trying to move into the feminine arena of childbirth.

Myths of divine creation are themselves part of the historical process that seeks to de-throne the feminine; this is the history of Art, itself at first denied to women as an outlet of self-expression. It is a process recorded in Art itself, in stories like that of Prometheus. Prometheus in earlier myths stole fire
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He cannot make me die.' (Cassell Dictionary of Classical Mythology 338) In later versions of the myth, Prometheus in some way becomes the creator of Man, fashioning him out of mud. After the great flood, Prometheus' son and daughter-in-law were the only survivors, and re-propagated the sexes.

The concept of Frankenstein was created in part in the summer of 1816, through Lord Byron's literary challenge, inclement weather, and a nightmare. Literary sources included Paradise Lost and Ovid's Metamorphoses, which the Shelleys read the year before. Thus the idea for a story based on the Prometheus myth, and of the baseness of the condition of existence without God seems intentional, and engendered by these sources.

The novel reflects a climate in which literary worship of the divine was to an extent forsaken in favour of the awe-inspiring wonder of Nature; the concept of the sublime was in itself a reaction to the rationalism of the Enlightenment. The Romantic Movement saw a concerted effort to return to superstition and excess of imagination. It was marked by a Gothic 'revival' and the birth of science fiction in Shelley's text, and by the deification of the Natural world, and Man himself.

Frankenstein begins with a narrative that in some ways mirrors the tale it tells. Robert Walton's