Mary Shelley´s Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus, an Analysis of the Subtitle

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What would you do if you discovered a secret that changed everything? “I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation.” (Shelley 37). Ab initio Victor Frankenstein, the main protagonist, is being put on a level with Prometheus through the subtitle. An indication that Mary Shelley did indeed have the myth in mind as she wrote the novel, is not only her subtitle, but moreover the parallels between the Prometheus myth and Frankenstein, which are undeniable. The title itself gives a lot away of the story which follows. It links the modern world with the ancient Greek myth. Victor Frankenstein “steals” the secret of life, just like Prometheus stole the secret of fire. As a consequence both are being punished for defying the Gods/God. They both have good intentions as benefactors to mankind but are punished for it. The focus of this Term Paper will be on the main figure of Frankenstein as the creator, a romantic figure and especially as a “modern Prometheus”, so to say on the subtitle, with reference on the writer as creator.
This paper will start of with an investigation on the background of how and why Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley wrote “Frankenstein”, in order to get a better understanding of why she choose the Greek myth to link her story with. To put it another way, how Mary Shelley used the myth to promote her ideas. A short reference to the Byron- Shelley- Circle will follow, seeing as “Frankenstein” was Mary Shelley’s entry into the “contest”. Continuing, the use of nature such as the cycle of life and death is a striking future in the literary movement Romanticism. Almost all characteristics of the literary term Romanticism are presented in the novel, t...

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