Sean M. Joudry Ms.

Nancy Alford AP English ‘12 21 October 2008 Frankenstein and its relation to God An alternative title to Mary Shelley’s, Frankenstein, is “The Modern Prometheus”, referencing the Greek titan who took fire, an element only the gods harnessed, and presented it before humanity. Victor Frankenstein, a doctor living at the turn of 19th century Europe, gives life to a motionless body through the power of science. By doing so, he takes one of the powers that only God harnessed, and uses it for his own, scientific purposes. Little does he know that while he uses god’s power to give life, his creation uses god’s power to take it away. “My dear Victor, do not waste your time upon this; it is sad trash” (Shelly 20), Frankenstein’s father told Victor in response to the scientific novels he was reading. Frankenstein was interested in ancient sciences, those of which held great power, but were discredited by the modern science community. Despite this, Victor pursues these ancient sciences and educates himself in how to create a living being without the need for sexual reproduction. Victor “worked hard for nearly two years” (35) and succeeded in “infusing life into an inanimate body” (35). Frankenstein had become god, and the being he created had become Adam. The monster remained true to the biblical story of Adam. The monster had a fresh mind, he had not biased towards one group of people over another, he had an open heart and an open, eager mind. Alas, he began to learn the way of humans when he stopped by a village. “The whole village was roused; some fled, some attacked me, until, grievously bruised by stones and many other kinds of missile weapons, I escaped to the open country” (74). The monster knew not why he was attacked so brutally, as he had done nothing wrong in his eyes. The monster saw a little girl fall into a river and she was rushed down it. He dove towards her to help her, and pulled her out of the watery road of death. A man saw this and rushed towards him and, “he aimed a gun, which he carried, at my body, and fired” (101). Any “feelings of kindness and gentleness, which [he] had entertained but a few moments before, have place to hellish rage” (101). Similar to when Adam ate from the Tree of Knowledge, a veil had been lifted from the monster’s eyes,

and he saw the horrors of humanity. This led the monster to begin to using a power of god’s, the power to take life. Upon finding a boy in a forest, a boy who happened to be William, the brother of Victor Frankenstein, he “grasped his throat to silence him” (102), ending the child’s life. This was the first time that the monster had taken a life, and it would not be the last. He framed a girl for the death of William, and later killed Victor’s wife, as well as his friend Clerval. All of this pain inflicted by this beast caused Victor’s father to die of grief later. Just as Adam grew lonely and asked for a counterpart, the monster did as well, and asked Frankenstein for a female “whom [he] can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for my being” (104). Frankenstein was the only one who could create a counterpart for his creation, similar to how God was the only one who could create a counterpart for Adam. If the monster were to have a counterpart, the only man who could do this for him would be Victor Frankenstein. Alas, unlike God, Victor refused to create a female monster for his first creation to interact with. Victor Frankenstein in Mary Shelley’s, Frankenstein, takes the power once reserved only for God, and uses it for his own purposes. Alas, Victor lacks the knowledge God posses, and lacks the foresight to see the horror that this creation could create. The monster represents the other power of god, the ability to take life away. Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein during a very religious period of Europe’s history, and the story of Victor Frankenstein and his wretch reflect that.

Works Cited

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. New York, NY: Dover Publications, 1994.

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