Nature Vs Nurture In Frankenstein

Words: 1038
Pages: 5

In the centuries following its publication, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus has become one of the most iconic Gothic horror novels ever written. Through the letters of Robert Walton, a daring explorer on a journey to the North Pole, Shelley tells the tragic story of Victor Frankenstein. A mad scientist living in 18th century Europe, Frankenstein initially believes he can help humankind by finding the key to immortal life. Things take a disastrous turn, however, when his fervid curiosity drives him to create a hideous monster who ultimately destroys all that his creator holds dear. Though the novel explores many themes, such as injustice and the conflict of nature versus nurture, Shelley emphasizes two in particular. …show more content…
In Greek mythology, the Titan Prometheus; son of Iapetus and Clymene (or Themis), and brother to Epimetheus, Menoetius, and Atlas, is worshiped as the protector of all human beings, and is responsible for introducing fire to humanity. His actions allowed civilizations to make great strides in science and technology, thus demonstrating fire as a metonym for knowledge (Cartwright). Beyond the allusion in its title, Frankenstein is similar to the tale of Prometheus in various ways. Just as Prometheus introduced fire to the world, Frankenstein believes he can aid humanity by revealing the key to living forever; in other words, he aspires to become the “Modern Prometheus.” The reality, however, and one of the lessons Shelley intends on proving, is that the “perfect world” which Victor seeks is impossible. Indeed, not long after the scientist gives life to his creation, the monster goes on to kill Victor’s youngest brother, and subsequently all of his loved ones. This comparison shows that, in writing her novel, Shelley strives to teach the world that, although knowledge is powerful (as was the case with Prometheus’ gift to humankind), an insatiable curiosity like Victor’s can have disastrous