Preview
Preview

The Myth of Prometheus in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Essay

:: 12 Works Cited
Length: 2900 words (8.3 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Green      
Open Document
Need writing help? Check your paper »



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Knowledge is a distinctively human virtue. After all, if not for the want of human
beings to learn of and master our habitat, would we not still be counted among the
beasts? For all of the good that knowledge brings to us, however, knowledge can just
as easily bring pain. We discover new types of medicine to extend our lives, but that is
balanced by our awareness of our mortality. We find new advances in technology with
which to bring convenience into our lives, but those advances are countered by the
resulting pollutions that are poisoning our world. These conflicting aspects of
knowledge and its consequences were first discussed thousands of years ago by the
ancient Greeks. The Titan Prometheus bestowed upon mankind the gift of knowledge,
but that gift came with a price. In Frankenstein: or, A Modern Prometheus, Mary
Shelley brings the ideas of Prometheus into the early 19th century by co-opting three of
the central themes of the Prometheus myth—the themes of knowledge with
consequence, the underlying sexism within the story of Pandora, and the use of
lightning as a means of representing knowledge.

A brief discussion of the myth of Prometheus is warranted. There are two major
myths involving Prometheus—those of Prometheus pyrophorus, who brings fire from
the lightning bolt of Zeus to benefit mankind, and that of Prometheus plasticator, who
creates man out of clay. These two major themes involving Prometheus at first seem
disparate but upon close examination fit together quite well. Prometheus is both the



creator and benefactor of man. Eventually, “[b]y about the second or third century A.D.,
the two elements where fused together, so that the fire stolen by Prometheus was also
the...


... middle of paper ...


...ic
Integrity. 8.3 (2006): 257-270. Academic Search Premire. Web. 17 Nov. 2008.

Shelley, Mary . Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus. Mary Shelley: Frankenstein.
Ed. Johanna M. Smith. 2nd ed. Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism.
Boston: Bedford-St. Martin’s P, 2000. 19-189. Print.

Shattuck, Roger. Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography. New York:
St. Martin’s P, 1996. Print.

Smith, C.U.M. “A Strand of Vermicelli: Dr. Darwin’s Part in the Creation of
Frankenstein’s Monster.” Interdisciplinary Science Reviews. 32.1 (2007): 45-53.
Academic Search Premire. Web. 17 Nov. 2008.

Smith, Johanna M. “’Cooped Up’ with ‘Sad Trash’: Domesticity and the Sciences in
Frankenstein.” Mary Shelley: Frankenstein. Ed. Johanna M. Smith. 2nd ed.
Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism. Boston: Bedford-St. Martin’s P, 2000.
313-333. Print.



Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Essay on The Myth of Prometheus and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein - The story of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is similar to that of a Greek tragedy and namely the myth of the titan, Prometheus. The characters as well as the plot are all similar between the two stories. Many have argued that Frankenstein is based on the Prometheus myth. I will attempt to show that there are many different parts of Frankenstein that are remarkably similar to the myth and draw a comparison between the two stories. The story of Prometheus is similar in many ways to that of Frankenstein....   [tags: Frankenstein 2014]
:: 2 Works Cited
1300 words
(3.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Myth of Prometheus in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Essay - Knowledge is a distinctively human virtue. After all, if not for the want of human beings to learn of and master our habitat, would we not still be counted among the beasts. For all of the good that knowledge brings to us, however, knowledge can just as easily bring pain. We discover new types of medicine to extend our lives, but that is balanced by our awareness of our mortality. We find new advances in technology with which to bring convenience into our lives, but those advances are countered by the resulting pollutions that are poisoning our world....   [tags: Frankenstein 2014]
:: 12 Works Cited
2900 words
(8.3 pages)
Research Papers [preview]
Essay about From Myth to Fable: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - By giving “Frankenstein” the subtitle “The Modern Prometheus”, Mary Shelley made a connection between a central character of her 19th century novel and a titan from Greek mythology. Prometheus was employed by the Olympian gods in the process of creating men, and is known for stealing the element of fire from them for the benefit of mankind (Hunt). The myth about him appeared in many legends and fables prior to its reincarnation in the story about Victor Frankenstein, a science student who created a being by reviving dead matter using electricity (Atsma)....   [tags: modern prometheus, myths, fable]
:: 7 Works Cited
952 words
(2.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on Comparing Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and the Prometheus Myth - Comparing Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and the Prometheus Myth Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is subtitled "The Modern Prometheus", and rightfully so. Prometheus, the Titan of Greek mythology that created man and gave them fire, is a fitting symbol for Victor Frankenstein, the man who created a "monster" and gave him life. The most obvious aspect of the similarity between Frankenstein and the Prometheus myth is the underlying theme - both stories deal with ill-fated actions with tragic consequences....   [tags: Comparison Compare Contrast Essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
2181 words
(6.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Mary Shelley's The Modern Prometheus or Frankenstein Essay - Mary Shelley originally intended to title her novel “The Modern Prometheus”. She ended up changing it to Frankenstein in the second publication. “The Modern Prometheus” was kept as an additional title, but Shelley separated it by “or”. From the start of the novel, the additional title foreshadows Shelley’s connection of Frankenstein to the myth of Prometheus. The many parallels between Mary Shelly’s novel Frankenstein and the Greek creation myth of Prometheus become apparent through both plot and the paternal relationships of the characters in the book....   [tags: monster, zeus, myth]
:: 1 Works Cited
1071 words
(3.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Mary Shelley´s Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus, an Analysis of the Subtitle - ... Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley being the daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin was, as a matter of course, part of the educated class and as a consequence aware of diverse scientists4. Shelley’s inspiration to write “Frankenstein” may have been triggered during an excursion with her Husband. In 1817 Mary and Percy Shelley visited Castle Frankenstein, on the Rhine, where they heard a story about a resident who lived 100 years ago. It seemed that he was a scientist5 and has tried, by using alchemy, to bring corpses back to life....   [tags: greek myth, victor]
:: 8 Works Cited
1215 words
(3.5 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Essay about Review of Mary Shelley's Frankeinstein - Frankenstein is a Romantic Horror novel written by Mary Shelley. Originally published in 1818, a revised version was also published in 1831. As a Romantic novel, Frankenstein is very emotional and addresses the connection between man and nature. This nightmarish tale was the result of a friendly challenge between Shelley, Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and Claire Clairmont to see who could compose the most horrifying ghost story. Shelley won after conceiving the idea of Frankenstein after experiencing a dream....   [tags: Mary Shelley Frankenstein] 1033 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Analysis of Volume 1 Chapter 5 of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Essays - Analysis of Volume 1 Chapter 5 of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley This passage is set at a point in the story where Dr. Victor Frankenstein is creating and making his first descriptions of the monster. Frankenstein at this time has been driven to work more and more to complete his aim, making him seem madly obsessed with his work. During this passage, the Dr. and the monster are constantly described in the same ways, “how delineate the wretch”: the monster “I passed the night wretchedly”: Frankenstein This could show how the monster is being conveyed as the Dr’s doppelganger, of the reflection of his subconscious....   [tags: Frankenstein Mary Shelley Essays] 730 words
(2.1 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Essay - Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" In order to illustrate the main theme of her novel “Frankenstein”, Mary Shelly draws strongly on the myth of Prometheus, as the subtitle The Modern Prometheus indicates. Maurice Hindle, in his critical study of the novel, suggests, “the primary theme of Frankenstein is what happens to human sympathies and relationships when men seek obsessively to satisfy their Promethean longings to “conquer the unknown” - supposedly in the service of their fellow-humans”. This assertion is discussed by first describing the Promethean connection....   [tags: Frankenstein Shelley Essays]
:: 6 Works Cited
1322 words
(3.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Gothic Theme in Chapter 5 of Frankenstein Essay - Gothic Horror has been described as “delightful horror”. Focusing on Chapter 5 of Frankenstein, how has Shelley used the Gothic Genre to explore deeper issues. The term ‘Gothic’ conjures a range of possible meanings, definitions and associations. It explicitly denotes certain historical and cultural phenomena. Gothicism was part of the Romantic Movement that started in the eighteenth century and lasted about three decades into the nineteenth century. For this essay, the definition of Gothic that is applicable is: An 18th century literary style characterized by gloom and the supernatural....   [tags: Mary Shelley] 1554 words
(4.4 pages)
Better Essays [preview]