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Frankenstein Or The Modern Prometheus Analysis English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1486 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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At the beginning I should say that the novel “Frankenstein” was written under direct influence of English Gothic novels by the late XVIII – early XIX century. Victor Frankenstein – is a young Swiss scientist who has the talent and the thirst for education, possession of a mystery reproducing of living matter. He creates a human organism with extraordinary strength and endurance. However, scientists is startled by physical ugliness of his creature, hastens to abdicate responsibility for the fate of his creature. As a result, demon desperates to find its place among the people, rebells against the creator and revenges him cruelly, consistently killing his brother, friend and bride.

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Frankenstein used his youth to create a demon, but all the rest of his life he devoted to destroy it, hoping to atone for humankind. Journey of many years leads him to the North Pole, where his life ends. But with the death of Frankenstein the sense of the monster’s life disappears and he leaves this rejected world voluntarily.

During the appearance of the novel publication, the name Frankenstein took root in the English language for describing someone who starts forces, slipping out of his control. However, the image of Frankenstein is not only the prophetic idea of the mankind scientific progress adverse consequences possibility, but the author’s profound meditation on human nature. Horrible monster appears in the novel as a counterpart of the great creator. “The creature was allowed to live among the people, endowed with the power to do evil seemed to me as my own evil principle, a vampire, escaped from the coffin to destroy all that is dear to me” -Frankenstein recognized. This “modern Prometheus” knows all the imperfections of the divine man creation, bearing in itself both creative and destructive impulses.

The novel was staged during writer lifetime repeatedly, and later, the novel was adapted for the screen many times. Unfortunately, none of its screenings, including the latest with Kenneth Branagh in the role of Frankenstein and Robert De Niro as a demon, could not convey the complexity of the philosophical and psychological sophistication of this novel.

Before I call the “Frankenstein” like the Gothic novel, it is necessary to define this genre. Gothic novel offers the following features:

-The plot is built around a secret. Disclosure of secrets is postponed until the very end. Secondary mystery is usually added to the central mystery and also disclosed in finals.

-The narrative is shrouded by the atmosphere of fear and terror, and unfolds as a continuous

series of threats to peace, security and honor of the hero and heroine.

– Dark and ominous scene of action supports the general atmosphere of mystery and


– In the early Gothic novels, the central character – is a girl. She is beautiful, sweet,

virtuous, modest, and in the final is rewarded by marital happiness, the situation in

society and wealth.

-The nature of the plot requires the presence of the villain. In later specimens of the genre, he finds

full power and is usually engines the plot.

In the novel “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley traced not all features inherent in

Gothic literature. More precisely, only one feature of the canonical Gothic novel is observed. It is an atmosphere of fear and terror (“room windows were blacked out before, and

now I saw with a fear that the room was lit by the pale yellow moon. The shutters were

disclosed, with an indescribable sense of horror I saw at the open window, hateful and fearful

figure … “).(Tropp, Martin, 1976)

But “Frankenstein” attracts attention as a philosophical novel. W. Scott stated:

“…” Frankenstein ” looks like Gulliver’s Travels, where the most outlandish fiction

allowed in order to extract their philosophical meaning and the moral law “(Heffernan, James A.W., 1997).

In addition, it is worth saying that the massive industry of the second half of the twentieth century turns Frankenstein into farcical figure of comic burlesques and parodies, which has little in common with the hero of Mary Shelley. Consumer of mass culture identifies Frankenstein with Frankenstein movie or cartoon character, rather than with a read novel.

“Frankenstein” goes far beyond form “Gothic” novel, form romantic novel structure on the background of the widest distribution of poetry in the English literature with the works of the Scott. “Redundant descriptions of monster atrocities might in some way serve as proof of the novel Mary Shelley’s affiliation to gothic – D. Varma (D. Varma,1957) said in “The Gothic Flame: A Living History of the Gothic novel in England ” book – if not lofty tone, which peculiar to romantic literature. For a more balanced assessment of the novel we should take into account the fact that this work occurs at the junction of three aesthetic systems: Enlightenment, Gothic and Romanticism, so it is quit naturally to compound structurally diverse ideologies and artistic techniques.

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Analyzing the work of the writer the question is appeared: “Why only the first novel fascinates the reader, although her other works, such as “The Last Man” (1826) are not inferior to “Frankenstein” on artistic qualities? The answer, in my opinion, lies in the fact that in the first novel by Mary Shelley are raised important questions of human existence, which has pervaded the philosophical, scientific and aesthetic quest for centuries: whether a man can play the role of God, producing his own kind, whether it has the right to intervene in the mysteries of nature, whether there was Eve created from Adam’s rib?

The problem of universe creation, which was originally the former prerogative of God, so attracts writers of XX century. I think it is because in the world, “where God is dead, then everything is permitted”, a sense of Victor Frankenstein’s permissiveness is most consonant to most writers which adhere to the modernist and postmodernist aesthetics. There is no doubt that the proposed Mary Shelley’s idea will be modified, because the novel “Frankenstein” reflects the duality of human consciousness.

It is worth to note that Frankenstein myth differs from preliterary understanding and reflection of the world where people do not distinguish themselves from the natural environment, giving the nature of anthropological features. It can be considered like a myth for myth.

The history essence of the novel “Frankenstein” functioning is that for nearly two hundred years of this work endlessly dragged into citations, it is overgrown with an incredible amount of adaptations. All these later strata, going farther and farther from the text source, they are not primitive complement to Frankenstein myth, but by themselves, they pushed off from the source, are independent neomyth of XX century, because they give the possibility to express the sense of lost integrity in the “world without God. “

Mary Shelley’s novel, which contemporaries perceived as a kind of artistic experiment, which arose at thejunction of the Gothic, Enlightening and Romantic aesthetics, powerfully sprouted in XX century.

Belief in natural knowledge, abilities, as it seemed at the beginning of XX century solves the “accursed” questions of humanity and confirms the idea of steady progress, has been dispelled by numerous wars, the real possibility of the disappearance of homo sapiens as a species. The end of XX century sharpened awareness that a fundamental discrepancy between civilizations and cultures is fraught with disastrous results.

The growing interest in humanitarian knowledge confirmed once again the following idea: the loss of moral values, the use of culture as a maid of a technological civilization leads to an almost irreversible consequences. The fee for the scientific and technological innovations for endless improvement for new enhancements become so high, that it crosses critical level and prejudices the existence of humanity and the planet Earth.

In the conclusion I can say that at the XX century border, novel “Frankenstein” actualized again as a monument of literature and updates one of the important questions of civilization in general, whether the good intention of the scientist specifies the path to heaven, or are there areas of knowledge, that person should not open because of his moral immaturity.


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