Mary Shelley's Frankenstein can be read as an allegory for the creative act of authorship. Victor Frankenstein, the 'modern Prometheus' seeks to attain the knowledge of the Gods, to enter the sphere of the creator rather than the created. Like the Author, too, he apes the ultimate creative act; he transgresses in trying to move into the feminine arena of childbirth.
Myths of divine creation are themselves part of the historical process that seeks to de-throne the feminine; this is the history of Art, itself at first denied to women as an outlet of self-expression. It is a process recorded in Art itself, in stories like that of Prometheus. Prometheus in earlier myths stole fire from the Gods (analogous to the author at his craft). Later he was credited not just as Man's benefactor but as his creator. Man creates God through myth so as to have a power to will towards.
At this point text, analogy, and reality twist upon each other. As Victor moves into the female space of the womb, an act of creation aped by the Gods in mythology and religion, Mary Shelley as author moves into the male domain of art, aping the creative power of the Gods.
Reading Frankenstein as an analogy for Art can be more fruitful if done within the framework of Oscar Wilde's essay, 'The Decay of Lying', in which the author argues that the artist creates the world and not just imitates it: this will conclude this essay.
At the meal between mortals and the Gods at Mecone, Prometheus tricked Zeus into accepting the bones over the choicest entrails. Man was punished by the denial of fire; Prometheus again defied the Gods in stealing it. As punishment, he was chained to a cl...
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...he transition of the story to film, 'Frankenstein' has often mistakenly been used to signify the monster. This transition itself reflects the process of progression and substitution. As in the case of the non-existent deerstalker that Conan-Doyle never wrote about, celluloid representations have come to denote the essence, supposedly, of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
March, Jenny. "Prometheus." The Cassell Dictionary of Classical Mythology. London: Cassell, 1998.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein: Or the Modern Prometheus. 1818. Ed. James Reiger. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1982.
Waxman, Barbara Fry. "The Tragedy of the Promethean Overreacher as Woman." Papers on Language and Literature 23 1 (1987): 14-26.
Wilde, Oscar. "The Decay of Lying." Oscar Wilde. Ed. Isobel Murray. The Oxford Authors. Oxford: OUP, 1989.
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