Frankenstein Background

Frankenstein Background

Frankenstein Background


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or The Modern Prometheus<br />

<strong>Frankenstein</strong><br />

Put your pens down. This is available on the Web.<br />

Listen, discuss, ask questions.<br />

ou are expected to know this, but you don’t need to copy!

Getting Ready to Read<br />

What do you know about <strong>Frankenstein</strong>?<br />

Why is there such controversy over cloning?<br />

What is man’s biggest fear?

Mary Shelley (1797-1851)<br />

Born: Somers Town,<br />

England<br />

Parents: feminist<br />

Mary Wollstonecraft<br />

and philosopher<br />

William Godwin.

Mom had an affair with a military captain<br />

which resulted in her first child,<br />

Fanny. Soldier abandoned them. Mom<br />

attempted suicide. Later met Godwin, had an<br />

affair. Got pregnant again (w/ Mary) and they<br />

married to legitimate both kids<br />

Wollstonecraft dies as the result of Mary's<br />

birth. Mary is then raised by her resentful<br />

father and an evil stepmother

Shelley learned about her mother only through<br />

writings her mother left behind, including A<br />

Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792)<br />

which advocated that women should have the<br />

same educational opportunities as rights in<br />

society as men.<br />

Avid reader and scholar and knew through her<br />

father some of the most important men of the<br />

time (William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor<br />


a lot of famous writers traced through their<br />

house-friends of her father (Percy Shelley,<br />

Coleridge, Charles Lamb)<br />

When she was 9, she and her stepsister hid<br />

under a sofa to hear Samuel Taylor Coleridge<br />

recite ―The Rime of the Ancient Mariner‖, a<br />

poem which influenced her when writing<br />


Dad remarries, Mary Jane Clairmont—<br />

mean woman<br />

-Clairmont tried to train Mary in the<br />

―womanly arts‖ but all Mary would do<br />

was read and write<br />

In her young teens Clairmont sends Mary<br />

to live at Ramsgate with a Miss<br />

Petman. While there took some time off<br />

to travel to Scotland with a friend of the<br />


-Returned home, a woman. Became close with her<br />

father who she regularly talked Philosophy with.<br />

-While spending time at home Mary is reintroduced<br />

to Percy Bysshe Shelley (a friend/follower of her<br />

father). Percy is married, but they still fall in<br />

love (similar intellects)<br />

-Father is outraged, but Shelley and Mary<br />

eventually run away together with the help of<br />

Fanny (Mary 16, Percy 21)

-Life is tough for Mary & Percy. Short on $-living in<br />

London<br />

-Percy’s wife, Harriet, bares him a belated son<br />

-Percy’s friend falls in love with Mary<br />

-Mary gets pregnant-has a daughter, who dies<br />

-Fanny commits suicide<br />

-Both are able to write and live as they please

On a visit in Switzerland with PBS, Lord<br />

Byron, his mistress and his doctor,<br />

Polidori, she was challenged to write a<br />

―ghost‖ story. She had heard Byron and<br />

Shelley discussing ―the nature of the<br />

principle of life and whether there was any<br />

chance of its ever being discovered.‖ From<br />

this conversation, she had the ―waking<br />

dream‖ which eventually became the novel<br />


<strong>Frankenstein</strong> is the only story of the four that was<br />

ever published as a novel.<br />

Polidori wrote "The Vampyre," which is<br />

considered the first modern vampire story. The<br />

story was first published in the April 1819 issue<br />

of New Monthly Magazine, mistakenly under the<br />

name of Lord Byron.

In November, Harriet drowns herself: Percy<br />

and Mary marry in December 1816.<br />

Young Mary Shelley, at age 17, miscarried<br />

her first baby. She later wrote in a letter to<br />

friend Leigh Hunt.... "I dreamt that my little<br />

baby came to life again...that it had only been<br />

cold, and that we rubbed it before the fire, and<br />

it lived. Awake and find no baby. I think<br />

about the little thing all day. Not in good<br />


The last years of married life are filled<br />

with disaster for Mary. Her half sister<br />

dies as does another of her children.<br />

Mary becomes depressed, a tendency<br />

she probably inherited from her<br />

mother. She is only partly relieved by<br />

the birth of Percy, their only surviving<br />


Mary and Percy eventually move to<br />

Italy where Percy drowns during a<br />

sailing trip in 1822. Mary is<br />

determined to keep the memory of her<br />

late husband alive. She publishes<br />

several editions of Percy's writings<br />

and adds notes and prefaces to them.

Lord Byron found Percy's body washed<br />

up on the shore of an Italian beach. Due to<br />

plague restrictions, the body must be<br />

burned on the beach. Percy's heart,<br />

however, refused to burn. Byron gave<br />

Mary the heart, and she kept it wrapped<br />

up in a copy of a poem Percy had written<br />

upon the death of his friend, John Keats.

Mary continued to write her own<br />

novels, the most famous one being<br />

The Last Man (1826). This book deals<br />

with human isolation just as her earlier<br />

novel <strong>Frankenstein</strong> did. She writes<br />

numerous short stories and contributes<br />

biographical and critical studies to the<br />

Cabinet Cyclopædia.

The last years of her life were spent in the<br />

company of her son and two good friends.<br />

She tried very hard to free herself from<br />

the strains put on her by being the<br />

daughter and wife of such well-known<br />

people.<br />

Mary Shelley died in 1851 at the age of<br />

fifty-three of a brain tumor.

Historical Context<br />

Ambiguous Walton’s letters dated ―17-‖ with no<br />

reference to anything specific to pinpoint the date.<br />

It is set in the latter part of the 18 th century, at the<br />

end of the Enlightenment and the beginning of the<br />

Romantic period.<br />

It critiques the excesses of the Enlightenment and<br />

introduces the beliefs of the Romantics.<br />

Reflects a shift in social and political thought – from<br />

humans as creatures who use science and reason to<br />

shape and control their destiny to humans as<br />

creatures who rely on their emotions to determine<br />

what is right.

Ideas of the Enlightenment<br />

Scientific observation of the outer world<br />

Logic and reason; science and technology<br />

Believed in following standards and traditions<br />

Appreciated elegance and refinement<br />

Interested in maintaining the aristocracy<br />

Sought to follow and validate authority<br />

Favored a social hierarchy<br />

Nature should be controlled by humans

Important Revolutions<br />

American and French Revolution (call for<br />

individual freedom and an overthrow of<br />

rigid social hierarchy)<br />

Industrial Revolution – social system<br />

challenged by change from agricultural<br />

society to industrial one with a large,<br />

impoverished and restless working class

Romanticism<br />

Definition:<br />

A movement of the eighteenth and<br />

nineteenth centuries that marked the<br />

reaction in literature, philosophy, art,<br />

religion, and politics to the formalism of<br />

the preceding (Neoclassic) period.<br />

The Neoclassic period valued reason,<br />

formal rules, and demanded order in<br />


Visual Arts: Examples<br />

Neoclassical Art<br />

Romantic Art

Characteristics of Romantic Period<br />

Emphasis on imagination and emotion, individual<br />

passion and inspiration<br />

Rejection of formal, upper class works and a<br />

preference for writing (poetry) that addresses<br />

personal experiences and emotions in simple,<br />

language<br />

A turn to the past or an inner dream world that is<br />

thought to be more picturesque and magical than<br />

the current world (industrial age)

Characteristics of Romantic Period<br />

Belief in individual liberty; rebellious<br />

attitude against tyranny<br />

Fascination with nature; perception of<br />

nature as transformative

Characteristics of Romantic Period<br />

Concerned with common people<br />

Favored democracy<br />

Desired radical change<br />

Nature should be untamed

Romanticism<br />

Characteristics:<br />

The predominance of imagination over reason<br />

and formal rules<br />

Primitivism<br />

Love of nature<br />

An interest in the past<br />


Individualism<br />

Idealization of rural life<br />

Enthusiasm for the wild, irregular, or<br />

grotesque in nature<br />

Enthusiasm for the uncivilized or ―natural‖<br />

Interest in human rights<br />

Sentimentality<br />

Melancholy<br />

Interest in the gothic

Supernatural And Gothic<br />

Literary Themes<br />

Supernatural motifs appear throughout<br />

literature but are most prominent in the<br />

literary genre labeled "Gothic," which<br />

developed in the late eighteenth-century and<br />

is devoted primarily to stories of horror, the<br />

fantastic, and the "darker" supernatural<br />

forces. The English Gothic novel originated<br />

with the publication of Horace Walpole’s<br />

The Castle of Otranto (1765), which<br />

Walpole called a "Gothic story." <strong>Frankenstein</strong><br />

belongs specifically to the Gothic genre.

Like Gothic architecture, Gothic literature focuses<br />

on humanity’s fascination with the grotesque, the<br />

unknown, and the frightening, inexplicable<br />

aspects of the universe and the human soul. The<br />

Gothic "relates the individual to the infinite<br />

universe" (Varma 16) and creates horror by<br />

portraying human individuals in confrontation<br />

with the overwhelming, mysterious, terrifying<br />

forces found in the cosmos and within themselves.<br />

Gothic literature pictures the human condition as<br />

an ambiguous mixture of good and evil powers<br />

that cannot be understood completely by human<br />


Thus, the Gothic perspective conceives of<br />

the human condition as a paradox, a<br />

dilemma of duality—humans are divided in<br />

the conflict between opposing forces in the<br />

world and in themselves.<br />

The Gothic themes of human nature’s<br />

depravity, the struggle between good and<br />

evil in the human soul, and the existence of<br />

unexplainable elements in humanity and<br />

the cosmos, are prominent themes in<br />


Style: Gothic Novel<br />

<strong>Frankenstein</strong> is generally categorized as a Gothic<br />

novel, a genre of fiction that uses gloomy settings<br />

and supernatural events to create and atmosphere<br />

of mystery and terror.<br />

Shelley adds to her development of the plot the<br />

use of psychological realism, delving into the<br />

psyches of the characters in an attempt to explain<br />

why they react as they do and what drives them to<br />

make their decisions.

Supernatural/Gothic<br />

Literary Motifs<br />

A motif is a repeated<br />

theme, image, or literary<br />

device. Look for these<br />

common<br />

supernatural/Gothic motifs<br />

in <strong>Frankenstein</strong>.

The Double or Doppelganger (German for "double-goer"):<br />

Defined by Federick S. Frank as "a second self or alternate<br />

identity, sometimes, but not always, a physical twin. The<br />

Doppelganger in demonic form can be a reciprocal or lower<br />

bestial self or a Mr. Hyde. Gothic doppelgangers often haunt<br />

and threaten the rational psyche of the victim to whom they<br />

become attached" (435).

The double motif involves a<br />

comparison or contrast between<br />

two characters or sets of<br />

characters within a work to<br />

represent opposing forces in<br />

human nature.<br />

The double motif suggests that<br />

humans are burdened with a<br />

dual nature, a soul forever<br />

divided.<br />

Double characters are often<br />

paired in common relationships,<br />

such as twins, siblings,<br />

husband/wife, parent/child,<br />

hero/villain, creator/creature,<br />


Forbidden Knowledge or Power/ Faust Motif:

Forbidden Knowledge or Power/ Faust Motif:<br />

Forbidden knowledge/power is often the Gothic<br />

protagonist’s goal. The Gothic "hero" questions the<br />

universe’s ambiguous nature and tries to<br />

comprehend and control those supernatural powers<br />

that mortals cannot understand. He tries to overcome<br />

human limitations and make himself into a "god."<br />

This ambition usually leads to the hero’s "fall" or<br />

destruction; however, Gothic tales of ambition<br />

sometimes paradoxically evoke our<br />

admiration because they picture<br />

individuals with the courage to defy<br />

fate and cosmic forces in an attempt<br />

to transcend the mundane to the<br />

eternal and sublime.

Monster/Satanic Hero/Fallen Man:<br />

The courageous search for forbidden<br />

knowledge or power always leads the<br />

hero to a fall, a corruption, or destruc-<br />

tion, such as Satan’s or Adam’s fall.<br />

Consequently, the hero in Gothic<br />

literature is often a "villain." The<br />

hero is isolated from others by his<br />

fall and either becomes a monster<br />

or confronts a monster who is his double. He becomes a<br />

"Satanic hero" if, like Satan, he has courageously defied<br />

the rules of God’s universe and has tried to transform<br />

himself into a god. Note: the mad scientist, who tries to<br />

transcend human limitations through science, is a type of<br />

Satanic hero that is popular in Gothic literature<br />

(examples include Dr. Jekyll and <strong>Frankenstein</strong>).

Multiple Narrative/Spiral Narrative<br />

Method:<br />

The story is frequently told through a<br />

series of secret manuscripts or<br />

multiple tales, each revealing a deeper<br />

secret, so the narrative gradually<br />

spirals inward toward the hidden truth.<br />

The narrator is often a first-person<br />

narrator compelled to tell the story to a<br />

fascinated or captive listener<br />

(representing the captivating power<br />

of forbidden knowledge). By<br />

revealing to us their own souls’<br />

secrets, these narrators reveal the<br />

secrets of humankind’s soul.

Dreams/Visions:<br />

Terrible truths are often revealed to characters through<br />

dreams or visions. The hidden knowledge of the<br />

universe and of human nature emerges through dreams<br />

because, when the person sleeps, reason sleeps, and<br />

the supernatural, unreasonable world can break<br />

through. Dreams in<br />

Gothic literature<br />

express the dark,<br />

unconscious depths of<br />

the psyche that are<br />

repressed by reason—<br />

truths that are too<br />

terrible to be<br />

comprehended by the<br />

conscious mind.

Signs/Omens:<br />

Reveal the<br />

intervention of<br />

cosmic forces and<br />

often represent<br />

psychological or<br />

spiritual conflict<br />

(e.g., flashes of<br />

lightning and violent<br />

storms might<br />

parallel some<br />

turmoil within a<br />

character’s mind).

The Novel<br />

This epistolary novel begins with letters written from<br />

Robert Walton to his sister. The point of these letters<br />

is to set up the pretense that this is a true story. This<br />

is a very popular technique at the time this novel was<br />

written.<br />

In the letters, the story of Captain Walton unfolds.<br />

Eventually winding up in the Arctic circle and picks<br />

up Victor <strong>Frankenstein</strong> who relates his story to<br />

Captain Walton. The main part of the novel is this<br />

story, now no longer in letter form, but as Victor<br />

relates it.

Structure and Point of View<br />

Frame Story<br />

Epistolary – carried by letters

<strong>Frankenstein</strong><br />

She did not put her name on the novel<br />

when it was published in 1818.<br />

Many assumed it had been<br />

written by her husband.<br />

She attached her name to the<br />

novel in the 1831 edition.

. . . or a Modern Prometheus<br />

The complete title of this book is<br />

<strong>Frankenstein</strong> or a Modern Prometheus.<br />

Byron, who was with Shelley when she<br />

began to write this novel, wrote a poem<br />

titled "Prometheus" that she would have<br />

been familiar with and inspired by<br />

The story of Prometheus goes as follows:

Prometheus was one of the titans that sided with Zeus and<br />

the gods against Cronus and the titans. Later, after the gods<br />

ruled and mankind was created, Prometheus desired to give<br />

mankind a gift of fire. Zeus forbade it since man would<br />

misuse it to make weapons and such and since if man had<br />

fire, they would not be as reliant on the gods. Prometheus<br />

stole some from Mt. Olympus and gave it to man. As a<br />

result, man was punished by Zeus giving them woman<br />

(horrors upon horrors!) and Prometheus was chained to a<br />

rock where an eagle (or vulture in some myths) eats his<br />

liver out everyday. Since he is immortal, it grows back<br />

only to be eaten again the next day. Hercules later rescued<br />

Prometheus (but nobody rescued man!).

Just as Prometheus went too far to<br />

give mankind the mysteries of the<br />

gods, Victor goes too far in<br />

discovering the mysteries of God by<br />

trying to defy death and learn how to<br />

create life.

Major Characters<br />

Victor <strong>Frankenstein</strong> – protagonist, product<br />

of an idealistic Enlightenment education;<br />

fueled by possibilities of science and a<br />

desire for acclaim; becomes obsessed with<br />

creating life from spare body parts.<br />

Rational demeanor dissolves and by story’s<br />

end, consumed by primitive emotions of<br />

fear and hatred.

Major Characters<br />

The Creature - never named; is Victor’s<br />

doppelganger (alter ego); Creature<br />

rationally analyzes the society that rejects<br />

him; sympathetic character, admires people<br />

and wants to be a part of human society;<br />

only results in violence when he is<br />

repeatedly rejected

The Legend of the Golem<br />

The monster in <strong>Frankenstein</strong> is a flesh golem.<br />

Definition of a golem:<br />

The word golem is used in the Bible to refer to<br />

an embryonic or incomplete substance: Psalm<br />

139:16 uses the word "gal'mi", meaning "my<br />

unshaped form. Similarly, Golems are used<br />

today primarily in metaphor either as brainless<br />

lunks or as entities serving man under controlled<br />

conditions but enemies in others. Similarly, it is a<br />

Yiddish slang insult for someone who is clumsy<br />

or slow.

Having a golem servant was seen as<br />

the ultimate symbol of wisdom and<br />

holiness, and there are many tales of<br />

golems connected to prominent rabbis<br />

throughout the Middle Ages

The existence of a golem is in most<br />

stories portrayed as a mixed blessing.<br />

Although not overly intelligent, a golem<br />

can be made to perform simple tasks over<br />

and over. The problem is one of control or<br />

getting it to stop, bearing a resemblance to<br />

the story of the broomstick in The<br />

Sorcerer's Apprentice.

Major Characters<br />

Henry Clerval – Victor’s childhood friend; true<br />

romantic, wants to leave mark on the world, but<br />

never loses sight of ―the moral relations of things<br />

Elizabeth – adopted as an infant by Victor’s<br />

family; marries Victor<br />

Robert Walton – Arctic explorer who’s obsessed<br />

with gaining knowledge and fame; rescues Victor<br />

in the Arctic; through letters to his sister, Mrs.<br />

Margaret Saville, he relates how he met<br />

<strong>Frankenstein</strong> and the fantastic story <strong>Frankenstein</strong><br />

tells him

Characters in <strong>Frankenstein</strong> (Secondary Characters)<br />

Justine Moritz. Justine is employed in the<br />

<strong>Frankenstein</strong> hosehold. She cares for the dying Mrs.<br />

<strong>Frankenstein</strong> and is greatly loved by the family.<br />

Agatha, Felix, and Mr. De Lacey. Mr. De Lacey is the<br />

blind father of Agatha and Felix, the young people<br />

who live in the cottage near the place where the<br />

monster hides.<br />

Safie. Safie is a young Turkish or Arabian woman<br />

who flees her father to marry Felix.

Characters in <strong>Frankenstein</strong> (Minor Characters)<br />

Mrs. Margaret Saville. Walton’s married sister, Mrs.<br />

Saville, is the specified audience of the story.<br />

Alphonso <strong>Frankenstein</strong>. Victor’s father, Alphonso,<br />

unkonwingly encourages his son;s studies b a passing<br />

remark. Alphonso worries about Victor when their<br />

correspondence is infrequent.<br />

Ernest <strong>Frankenstein</strong>. Victor’s younger brother does<br />

not share Victor’s passion for scientific study.<br />

William <strong>Frankenstein</strong>. William is the youngest of the<br />

<strong>Frankenstein</strong> children.

Characters in <strong>Frankenstein</strong> (Minor Characters)<br />

Caroline Beaufort <strong>Frankenstein</strong>. The daughter of<br />

Alphonso’s good friend, Caroline marries Alphonso after<br />

her father’s death. Mindful of her own poverty-stricken<br />

past, she adopts Elizabeth Lavenza from the poor family<br />

who has been raising her.<br />

Professors Krempe and Waldman. These two scholars<br />

influence <strong>Frankenstein</strong>’s work at the university at Ingolstadt.<br />

Mr. Kirwin. He is the magistrate in the village in Ireland<br />

where <strong>Frankenstein</strong> is accused of murder.<br />

Daniel Nugent. He is one of the witnesses against<br />


Alchemy<br />

Medieval ―science‖ and philosophy<br />

Convert base metals into gold<br />

Seen as a universal cure for disease<br />

Means of prolonging life

Cornelius Agrippa<br />

September 14th, 1486 - February 18th, 1535<br />

Agrippa was the scientist Victor studied before the<br />

university. This was his first introduction into<br />

science. Just who was this man?<br />

He was:<br />

*a magician *soldier<br />

*occult writer *astrologer<br />

*alchemist *legal expert<br />

*early feminist *physician<br />

*theologian<br />

Where have you heard his name?

Themes<br />

Consequences of irresponsibility in the<br />

pursuit of knowledge<br />

Consequences of pride<br />

Consequences of society’s rejection of<br />

someone who is unattractive<br />

Destructive power of revenge<br />

Motifs<br />

Parent-child conflicts<br />


Themes<br />

1. Ignorance is Bliss - The quote at<br />

the beginning from chapter four<br />

illustrates this perfectly. This theme is<br />

a warning to avoid going too far with<br />

science. There are some mysteries that<br />

mankind was not meant to understand.

2. Human Injustice Toward Outsiders<br />

- The monster is an outsider to all<br />

humankind. The old blind man is an<br />

outsider because of his age and<br />

blindness. Justine is an outsider because<br />

of her being adopted. Victor is an<br />

outsider because he alone has the<br />

knowledge of what he has done and the<br />

existence of the monster.

3. The Treatment of Women - Victor<br />

doesn't mistreat women, but he does<br />

portray an 1800s view of male<br />

superiority. The monster, on the other<br />

hand, does not have the upbringing like<br />

Victor's, therefore, his idea of the<br />

equality of women is different.

4. Nature vs. the Unnatural - With the<br />

industrial revolution taking place, many<br />

Victorian novels expressed fear and<br />

distrust of the newer technology and<br />

leaps in science. This book expresses<br />

those fears through several scenes.

Other Literary Elements<br />

Irony – 2 major ironies<br />

Creature is more sympathetic, more<br />

imaginative and more responsible to fellow<br />

creatures<br />

Creature has many pleasing qualities but is<br />

an outcast because he’s not physically<br />


Symbols<br />

White/light= knowledge<br />

Water = knowledge<br />

Ice = danger<br />

Lightning = nature’s power<br />

Nature = acceptance, nuturing, calm<br />

Mountains= sublime in nature

Antithesis<br />

Contrasts of ideas, characters, themes, settings or<br />

moods<br />

Victor/creation<br />

Passion/reason<br />

Natural/unnatural<br />

Known/unknown<br />

Civilized/savage<br />

Masculine/feminine<br />

Beautiful/ugly<br />

Good/bad<br />

Light/dark<br />


Allusion<br />

2 poems are alluded to in the novel:<br />

Paradise Lost by John Milton – story of<br />

man’s fall from innocence to painful<br />

knowledge; Victor can be compared to<br />

Adam, Satan, and Eve<br />

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by<br />

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, like narrator,<br />

tells story as a warning and a confession

Literary Allusions<br />

Volney's Ruins of Empires:<br />

This is the book that Felix uses to<br />

instruct Safie. While doing so, the<br />

monster learns world history. The book<br />

has a future prediction in it that all<br />

religions will eventually become one<br />

after mankind realizes the single truth<br />

that they all share.

Literary Allusion 2<br />

Johann Wolfgang von Geothe's Sorrows<br />

Werther:<br />

This was one of the books the monster found in a<br />

satchel while out in the woods that the monster<br />

reads to learn more about mankind. Young men<br />

began to dress like the character and there was<br />

even the first reported cases of copycat suicides<br />

as young men tried to imitate the suicide of<br />

young Werther. Werther was in love with a<br />

woman who was engaged and could not love him<br />


Literary Allusion 3<br />

Plutarch's Parallel Lives:<br />

Another book found in the satchel. This<br />

one gives history through the lives of<br />

Greek and Roman heroes. None of these<br />

heroes are female, but this is one of the<br />

best sources for information on the life<br />

of women in the ancient world.

Literary Allusion 4<br />

John Milton's Paradise Lost:<br />

Much more popular than its sequel, Paradise<br />

Regained, this epic is about the fall of Satan<br />

and the subsequent fall of man. In it, Satan<br />

has cool quotes like, "Better to reign in hell<br />

than to serve in heaven." This book was also<br />

found in the satchel.<br />

More about this book:

Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay<br />

To mould me man? Did I solicit thee<br />

From darkness to promote me?<br />

John Milton's Paradise Lost &<br />

the beginning of the 1818 version of<br />


Monster vs. Adam<br />

The monster reads a copy of Paradise Lost,<br />

which stirs him. The monster compares his<br />

situation to that of Adam. Unlike the first man<br />

who had "come forth from the hands of God a<br />

perfect creature," <strong>Frankenstein</strong>'s creature is<br />

hideously formed. Unlike Adam, the monster<br />

is abandoned by Victor <strong>Frankenstein</strong> and finds<br />

himself "wretched, helpless, and alone."

Monster vs. Satan<br />

The monster can also be compared to<br />

Satan since both were created to be<br />

beautiful and neither directly attacks<br />

their creator, but rather, the ones most<br />

dear to their creator.

Victor vs. Adam/Satan<br />

Victor can be compared to Adam since<br />

both achieved their downfall via<br />

searching for knowledge that they should<br />

not have.<br />

In Paradise Lost Satan's sin is pride.<br />

Victor is motivated by his pride to be the<br />

best and to hide his actions, even to the<br />

expense of Justine's death.

The Unreliable Narrator<br />

Just as in Percy's "Ozymandius" and Emily Bronte's<br />

Wuthering Heights, Mary Shelley's <strong>Frankenstein</strong> has<br />

an inside/outside narrator. The whole story is Robert<br />

Walton's retelling of what Victor tells him. In some<br />

cases the monster is telling Victor who is in turn<br />

retelling it to Walton who in turn retells it to us. Now<br />

we have no reason to really doubt Walton. We can,<br />

however, build a case to scrutinize what Victor is<br />

telling. We can also analyze the truthfulness of the<br />

monster's story. Did the monster really try to save<br />

the girl from drowning, or is he lying in order to<br />

make himself look better?

An unreliable narrator cannot be fully<br />

trusted either because they do not<br />

understand what they are narrating (as in<br />

Flowers for Algernon and The Adventures<br />

of Huckleberry Finn) or they may simply<br />

be lying to the reader to suit their needs.<br />

Many people question the story of the<br />

monster (and for that matter, Van Helsing<br />

in Dracula).

Surveying the Text<br />

How is the text organized?<br />

How long is each chapter?<br />

What did the publishers and author include<br />

before the actual novel? After the end of the<br />


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