The Platonic Pursuit of Grief, and how Victor Frankenstein and Don Quixote are different

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Don Quixote and Frankenstein are not works one would generally compare to one another. However, closer reading of the two novels reveals that one underlying theme connects them; though two main characters of the novels use drastically different methods to achieve their objectives, ultimately glory is their ultimate intention, and what they both strive for. Both main characters are motivated by the platonic pursuit of glory.

Merriam-Webster dictionary describes glory as “something that brings praise or fame to someone or something : something that is a source of great pride”. The platonic pursuit is the search of, or quest for, the platonic ideal delineated in the philosophy of platonism. In other words, the platonic pursuit involves a search for the ideal thing, a search for perfection, essentially. This is also called ‘platonic idealism’, which also relates directly to Plato’s Theory of Forms. Part of the platonic pursuit is acceptance that perfection cannot be achieved in reality; only the idea of a perfect object is perfect, so long as an attempt to create this perfect object is not undergone. This is because all tangible things (that is to say, all things in the physical realm, beyond the realm of imagination) are flawed replicas of the perfect ideal. Imperfection is impossible to avoid as long as we are on this earth, and everyone’s ideas of perfection are different, so any effort to replicate the perfect object would defeat the purpose.

Mary Shelley (born Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin) was born on August 30, 1797, in London, England. She was the daughter of a philosopher/political writer William Godwin and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, an author. Despite her lack of a formal education, Shelley made great use of her fa...

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