Influence of The Metamorphoses and Paradise Lost in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Influence of The Metamorphoses and Paradise Lost in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

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Influence of The Metamorphoses and Paradise Lost in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein, possibly Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's most well-known work, is
considered by some to be the greatest Gothic Romance Novel. Due to her marriage to
Percy Bysshe Shelley and close friendship with other prolific Romantic authors and poets,
namely Lord Byron, Shelley's works permeate with Romantic themes and references. Also
present in Frankenstein are obvious allusions to The Metamorphoses by Ovid and Paradise
Lost by Milton. Shelley had been studying these two novels during her stay at Lord
Byron's villa, and at the time she was composing Frankenstein. The use of these references
and themes prove that Mary Shelley was a product of her environment and time.
Robert Walton, the arctic explorer whose letters create the framework for this epistlary
novel, opens the reader to the concept of the "Romantic Quest," the journey for the
unknown. "I am already far north of London," he writes to his sister, "... [and] I feel a
cold northern breeze play upon my cheeks...which fills me with delight...This breeze,
which has travelled from regions towards which I am advancing, gives me a foretaste of
those icy climes. Inspirited by this wind of promise, my day dreams become more fervent
and vivid" (Shelley 15). These sentiments will be later echoed by Dr. Frankenstein when
he experiments with the unknown to create his creature/monster. The quest of the
Romantic can take many forms, from Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" to
Byron's "Childe Harold," both of which are poems alluded to during the course of the
novel, along with ann abundance of allusions to William Wordsworth's poetry.
Walton ends his second letter ...


... middle of paper ...


...e novel and stated, "Like Adam, I was apparently united by no link to any
other human being... I was wretched, helpless and alone. Many times I considered Satan
the fitter emblem of my condition." Other echoes of Paradise Lost are Frankenstein hopes
to be the source of a new species, but ironicalle his creature evolves into a self-
acknowledged Satan who swears eternal revenge and was upon his creator and all the
human race. The moster refllects that hell is an internal condition which is produced and
incensed through loneliness. His only salvation is the creation of a mate, his Eve. Also, in
the latter part of hte book, Frankenstein refers to the monster in terms used in Paradise
Lost; the fiend, the demon, the devil, annd adversary. Both master and creature are torn
by their internal conflicts from misapplied knowledge and their sense of isolation.

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