Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

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Victor Frankenstein, the main character in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, is sometimes called the modern Prometheus. This may have some merit, due to the author of the book giving it a subtitle of “The Modern Prometheus”. Frankenstein does share some qualities with the Titan, but can he really be given this title? Although there are some parallels between these characters, Victor Frankenstein does not deserve to be called the modern Prometheus.
First, just who is Prometheus? Prometheus is a titan from Greek mythology. Prometheus and his brother were given the task of creating humanity and providing humans and all the animals on earth with everything they might need. After Epimetheus, Prometheus’ brother, completed his job for the animals he realized he had no “materials” left for mankind. Prometheus was now up to the task of creating humanity, and he created them standing upright with nobler form. He went up to heaven and lit a torch from the sun and gave the gift of fire to humanity which spurred the advances which made mankind the dominant force on Earth. This action, however, angered Zeus. Not only did Prometheus steal the fire he gave to mankind, but now the gods would get the lesser-beings (the animals) sacrificed to them. For his punishment, he was chained to a rock in the Caucasus where every day his liver would be eaten by an eagle. His liver would regenerate, however, so he would have to endure this torture forever, until he was freed by Hercules of course (Prometheus). The stories between Prometheus and Victor Frankenstein vary greatly, but it is fitting since one is a Titan in Greek mythology and one a scientist in a medieval novel. A few of the key differences float up to the surface when you analyze Prometheus’ story...

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...rometheus was tasked to create a superior race and broke a few rules for the races benefit, and Frankenstein wanted to create a new species that would bow before him as an almighty creator. One acted out of selflessness, and one acted out of hubris and arrogance. Despite the one similarity between Prometheus and Victor Frankenstein, I would not call him “The Modern Prometheus”.

Works Cited
Gould, Stephen Jay. “The monster’s human nature.” EBSCO Host. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 4 May 2014.
Lunsford, Lars. “The Devaluing of Life in Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN.” EBSCO Host. Academic Search Premier. Web. 4 May 2014.
“Prometheus.” Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia. N.p.: n.p., n.d. EBSCO Host. Web. 4 May 2014.
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, Walter James Miller, and Harold Bloom. Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus. New York: New American Library, 2000. Print.
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