Frankenstein and Modern Prometheus Essay

Submitted By claird
Words: 608
Pages: 3

Christine Laird
Mrs. Sexson
AP Literature
22 August, 2012

Title: Frankenstein – Or, the Modern Prometheus Prometheus was a Greek God who stole the knowledge of fire from Zeus and gave it to the humans. He was then punished for his actions and bound to a rock, having an eagle devour his liver day after day. He became “the lone genius whose efforts to improve human existence also resulted in tragedy.” Victor Frankenstein can be described using the same statement. Ultimately, Prometheus was freed by Hercules and Victor was freed by death.

Author: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Mary Shelly was the daughter of William Godwin, a valued social theorist, and Mary Wollstonecraft, a well-known woman author of the time. With parents both with similar lifestyles, Mary was destined to be the same. Her mother died shortly after she was born so Mary was raised by servants, then a stepmother, and lastly by her father. Mary began to write Frankenstein during a story-writing competition held in Switzerland in 1816. It was her first and most famous novel. She later went on to write other books as well. When her husband died she went back home to England and raised her son.

Themes: Victor’s pursuit of knowledge is the most dominant theme in the story. As Victor Frankenstein desperately searches for the unknown knowledge, he goes past any previous human discoveries. Robert Walton learned from him that such a dangerous pursuit is destructive and not safe. Nature’s significant effect on the moods of the characters is a noticeably used theme. The condition of the weather also reflects on the situation the characters are in. When Victor discovered something new, he kept it a secret and hid it from others. Therefore, secrecy is another theme used. Although he got to the point where he did not like keeping secrets, he continued to do so and was ashamed and felt guilty. When he confessed everything right before he died, he was freed from that guilt and was able to die with a peace of mind.

Setting: The time period is the eighteenth century. There are many different places that are explored in the story, such as Geneva, Switzerland, where the Frankenstein family is from; Ingolstadt, Germany, where the monster was created; Chamounix, and the Orkney Islands. At Chamounix, the monster asked Victor to make him a companion. At the Orkney Islands, Victor then creates another creature to keep his monster company.

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