Considering Mary Shelley's Frankenstein as an Attack on Masculine Romanticism

Considering Mary Shelley's Frankenstein as an Attack on Masculine Romanticism

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Considering Mary Shelley's Frankenstein as an Attack on Masculine Romanticism

I believe that Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is an attack on the
masculine Romanticism, thus, meaning my agreement with Mellor's
assessment. In Shelley's novel, the ambitious Romantic hero, Victor
Frankenstein, challenges the laws of nature by trying to dominate the
role of the females. He attempts to do so by creating artificial life,
however, his attempt to tamper with the "ever-varied powers of
nature", is then the cause for his "destruction". One interpretation
of the novel is that man must keep equilibrium between his ambitious
"pursuit of knowledge" and "the tranquility of his domestic
affections", not allowing one aspect to "interfere" with another.

Shelley structures her novel in a way that Walton's framing tale is
used as a warning to the readers who can relate to masculine
characteristics, telling them to tame their ambition before it's too
late. And through Frankenstein's narrative, Shelley hopes that the
readers can "deduce an apt moral" being that over ambition corrupts.

The characteristics of a masculine Romantic hero consist of a
dominative egocentric personality with huge ambitions to pursue
revolutionary ideas. These characteristics are represented in the
novel through Walton, and Frankenstein. Walton has ideas to "tread a
land never before imprinted by the foot of man". He is also convinced
that his "voyage" can give "all man kind to the last generation", an
"inestimable benefit". Similarly, Frankenstein has ideas to challenge
"the principle of life" and find out "how nature works in her hiding
places". Both characters have visionaries of...


... middle of paper ...


... which can be seen as
signifying the light of knowledge's blinding intensity. Light is often
associated with fire; and fire hurts the ones who try to 'penetrate'
it. This then attaches a sense of harm to the light of discovery and
knowledge which the scientists try so hard to grasp on to. Another way
of seeing the association of the light imagery with fire is through
the myth of Prometheus, who suffers sever punishment for introducing
the knowledge of fire to mankind. Like Prometheus, Frankenstein
'tries' to introduce forbidden knowledge to the human race, but fails
and is punished for it. This then leads to the message being that his
hunger for 'glory' only led to his "utter destruction", which was
foreseen during Frankenstein's account of the oak tree that inspired
him to use galvanism to "animate…lifeless matter".

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