I remembered Adam's supplication to his Creator. But where was mine?" The monster relates himself to Adam and expects the same treatment from his 'God.' The full realization of the mockery of Adam and Eve is barely missed when Frankenstein decides to relieve Man of the burden of his monster race by refusing to create the monster's bride. Just as he has the power to create, has he the power to destroy.
Shelly’s use of the Prometheus myth combines the two versions of the legend, Prometheus the “fire-stealer” and Prometheus the “life-giver”. According to the Ancient Greeks, in the first version of the myth, the Titan, Prometheus, in rebellion against Zeus, took fire from the sun and gave it to humankind to warm them and enable them to make tools and weapons, thereby allowing them to rise above other animals. Zeus was incensed by Prometheus’ disobedience, and as punishment, ordered Prometheus chained to a rock, where his liver was eaten by eagles each day and restored each night so that his torment could be prolonged for eternity. The second, Roman version of the myth, comes from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which, according to Newey (1993), Mary Shelly read in 1815. In this version Prometheus was the Creator who made man from clay and breathed life into him.
The Myth of Prometheus in Frankenstein Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein as a modern day version of the legend of Prometheus. Prometheus created men out of clay and taught them the "arts of civilisation" (Webster's World Encyclopedia CD-ROM 1999). Zeus, the chief god of the Titans, wanted to destroy Prometheus' creation but Prometheus stole fire from heaven to help mankind. Zeus punished Prometheus by chaining him to a rock where an eagle would feed on his liver during the day and each night the liver would grow back. Prometheus was able to bargain for his release because he knew a secret which concerned Zeus' future.
Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein is also known by its alternative name; The Modern Prometheus. Victor Frankenstein’s punishment for bestowing fire (life) upon the lifeless is torment and life long suffering. In the end, more lives were lost due to his impure manufacture of life (Lutrell 17). Prometheus is known for stealing a flame from the gods and giving it to mankind. Frankenstein is seen as a modern image of the ancient myth.
He tricked Zeus into getting the bad side of the bargain. This bargain was to give the better parts of the sacrificed animals to Prometheus’ humans and to give the paltry parts to the gods. Prometheus also stole a piece of Zeus’ sun, giving fire to his human race. Zeus became furious by these events and chained Prometheus to a rock on top of a mountain. Zeus condemned Prometheus by dictating that an eagle would come every day for eternity and eat his liver, only to have it grow back over night.
In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein and his creation are both symbolically comparable to that of God, Adam and Satan as characterized in John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost. In Frankenstein, Victor is the one who wants to be the first man to be able to give life. Even though Victor is successful in his creation, just as God is in Paradise Lost, he is a self-absorbed man who takes it upon himself to discover the truths of morality and to obtain more knowledge. Victor’s creation, the monster, is symbolic to both Adam and to Satan in Milton's epic poem. The monster created by Victor was created in the image of man and he was not created to be evil to have the intention of harming others.
Mary Shelly was absolutely correct when she compared Frankenstein to “The Modern Prometheus.” Frankenstein and Prometheus were similar in their character and how they wanted to help humanity, though one protagonist took it too far. They both attempted to be godlike by creating life and they suffered consequences for their actions. The mortal humans were in need of saving so two intelligent, gentle, men came forth to help. Did they try to become too godlike or were their attempts of helping the mortals of the world justified?
For punishment Zeus ordered Prometheus chained to a mountain top and an eagle came and ate at his liver every day. Zeus gave Prometheus two ways to get out of this punishment one was he would tell him which one of his children would betray him and overthrow him; or an immortal must be willing to die for Prometheus and a mortal must kill the eagle and unchain him. Luckily for Prometheus Chiron, the Centaur agreed to die for him and Heracles killed the eagle and unbounded him from his
Shelley's Use of the Modern Prometheus as a Subtitle to the Novel The idea of the 'Modern Prometheus' is important in the novel in many ways as Frankenstein is widely known as being the 'Modern Prometheus'. In having said this, Frankenstein is called the modern day Prometheus as he stole from God something that was not meant to be known by humans and "animated" his idea with science and modern day technology. Also, just like Prometheus, Frankenstein and mankind were punished for these actions. Prometheus caused Zeus to create Pandora who released all evil, disaster and illnesses to mankind, while Frankenstein would live with the guilt and regret of having made this "monster" and releasing it onto society and also for the death of many of his friends and family. One of the main ideas of calling the novel the "Modern Prometheus" is that it was Zeus's will that humans should not have the power to create fire, just as it is the belief of many that humans do not, or should not have the power to be the "creator" of life.
This angered Zeus, who hid fire from humans in retribution. Prometheus in turn stole fire in a giant fennel-stalk and gave it back to mankind. Prometheus, was put into eternal punishment by Zeus. His punishment involves him being chained to a rock, where his liver is eaten out daily by an eagle. Years later, Heracles slays the eagle and frees Prometheus from his chains.