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Frankenstein: Personification of the Prometheus Myth and Science
How does the subtitle “The Modern Prometheus” help Shelley in pointing out the underlying significance of her story? Mary Shelley’s operate Frankenstein is a symbolic representation of the doubts and fears she, and her contemporaries, shared relating to the advances of science in the nineteenth century (Britton, 2-three). In order for Shelley to totally convey her sentiment about the dangers of scientific aspiration, she employs the myth of Prometheus and utilizes it as a subtitle to Frankenstein. In performing this Shelley actively, but subtly, encourages the reader to draw comparisons amongst Prometheus and Frankenstein, aiding them in completely coming to comprehend the implications of Frankenstein’s actions, and how he embodies Shelley’s warning concerning an over-emphasis on the value of science in society. Located in each Roman and Greek mythology, Prometheus is attributed with the creation of man, and later for stealing fire from the heavens in order to give man with warmth and the potential to cook meals (Pontikis, 1-3). Prometheus’ ambition leads him on a journey to greater the lives of the men he has designed and loves, but in carrying out so he defies Zeus’ commands and is consequently seriously punished for his actions by getting chained to a rock. When examined in this context, Prometheus can be a fitting symbol for Victor Frankenstein. Frankenstein’s ambition to bestow life onto an inanimate object became the sole driving force in his life. He was enticed by the belief that “a new species will bless me as its creator and source” (Norton, 933) while ironically ignoring the true life relationships with these who loved him dearly. Like Prometheus, this decision to defy the natural law of the globe left Frankenstein a tormented and broken man, embodying Shelley’s concern about the consequences of a deified method to science. Frankenstein and Prometheus, though each seemingly acting in a benevolent fashion, were in fact offering a distorted blessing. Fire in Prometheus’ case can be utilised for each great and evil, and correspondingly Frankenstein’s ability to bestow life on inanimate objects leads to evil, which can be witnessed in the destructive deeds of the daemon, as properly as his own selfish actions and cold remedy towards his creation. The repercussions of Frankenstein and Prometheus’ actions leave them each suffering. In the Prometheus myth, the protagonist is punished for his deeds by Zeus and the creation of Pandora is effected by Zeus as a implies to punish each man and their creator Prometheus. Pandora is provided a box from Zeus and instructed not to open it. However she is so overcome with curiosity that she also defies Zeus’ commands and upon opening the box releases the evils of the world to torment mankind (Pontikis, four). It is through this story that the term “Pandora’s Box” came into existence. This is an interesting analogy when applied to Frankenstein’s actions of animating his daemon. He also opens a “Pandora’s Box” which bestows upon him consequences he is not ready or equipped to deal with. This seems to be a sturdy underlying theme in Shelley’s novel. She is concerned about the impetuous need of human beings to attain omnipotent energy. This need is nevertheless present in the planet these days in truth 1 could argue it is present on an even grander scale because the inception of genetic engineering and its branch sciences. This could be one explanation why Shelley’s novel nevertheless enjoys reputation today it prompts a difficult query with regards to human nature’s desire to attain god-like status, and it presents our collective societal duty for the education of each the present and future generations about the dangers of such ambition. If we regard the downfall of Frankenstein as a warning, then it is clear that any attempt to produce life outdoors of the all-natural governing laws of the world would be nothing at all a lot more than a selfish action unhinged from moral and social obligations. 1 additional point which the subtitle The Contemporary Prometheus serves to highlight offers with the function of women in society. As described, Prometheus is regarded as the creator of man in Roman and Greek mythology. He is not, however directly credited with the creation of ladies this was an act instituted by Zeus by way of a punishment to Prometheus for his love of his creation (man) (Pontikis, three-four). It is intriguing to note that ladies had been designed for the objective of punishment and not for joy or companionship in the ancient mythologies. The myth of Prometheus depicts women in a adverse fashion. Till the creation of the beautiful however troublesome Pandora, there is no mortal female even present in the story. This is yet another exciting allusion of the Prometheus myth when contexualised to the story of Frankenstein. All of the women in the Frankenstein novel come to an untimely death: Frankenstein’s mother dies prior to the animation of his daemon Elizabeth is orphaned following the death of her mother in childbirth Justine, the nurse of young William, is wrongfully convicted for his murder and executed and Elizabeth herself is at some point murdered just prior to consummating her marriage to Frankenstein on their wedding night (Norton, 905-1033). Following Frankenstein’s immediate rejection of his creation, it becomes apparent that the daemon is destined to be not only motherless, but partnerless as well. The ill-fatedness of female characters in the novel could most likely have been deliberately implanted by Shelley as a implies of commenting on the function of girls in society at the time, but in addition, it could have been a direct representation of the lack of a powerful female function model in her own life and the sense of abandonment it evoked (Literary Encyclopedia, three). The ideology of the second suggestion is present in the dream Frankenstein has following the creation of his monster. He describes an encounter with Elizabeth where while he is kissing her she transforms into the corpse of his dead mother (Norton, 935) These references to women, and the lack of any sound male-female relationships is an crucial aspect of Shelley’s story. Mary Shelley presents a compelling portrayal of Victor Frankenstein as a modern day day Prometheus. His ambitions and actions may be significantly less noble than those of Prometheus, but the benefits of their attempts to usurp the organic order of the planet by animating “lifeless clay” (Norton, 933) provokes similar final results. Frankenstein personifies the self-glorification so characteristic of today’s society, a trait he certainly represented in Shelley’s society as properly.
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