Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is an early product of the modern Western world. Written during the Romantic movement of the early 19th century, the book provides insight into issues that are pertinent today. Similar to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust, Shelley's Frankenstein concerns individuals' aspirations and what results when those aspirations are attained irresponsibly.
While Mary Shelley (then Mary Godwin) wrote Frankenstein in 1816 she was living or in contact with both Percy Shelley and Lord Byron, the two predominant romantic poets who professed the romantic ideals of the age. One such ideal was the society transformed by the individual. For example, the British writer Thomas Carlyle wrote of romantic heroes making an impact on the world around them. Also, the concepts of uniqueness and self-realization were born in this era. Authors were writing about individuals' feelings and emotions regarding their daily struggles.
What is unique about Frankenstein is that it represents and almost foreshadows the romantic disillusionment with the established order. After the French Revolution, liberalism and nationalism were at all time highs. But with the response by the monarchies (e.g., the wars of 1848), romantic ideals were spurned. The effect this had was an increase in disillusionment among romantics. The possibility of a society transformed by individuals seemed less believable. Mary Godwin suffered from this disillusionment, but for different reasons. In his essay on Frankenstein, George Levine discusses the dream Godwin had which inspired the book: "The dreams emerge from the complex experiences that placed young Mary Shelley, both personally and intellect...
... middle of paper ...
...such ideals. In the case of Frankenstein, his aspiration for supernatural powers and knowledge created a monster who tormented him until the day he died. He sought a fame greater than his nature would allow and, while his monster knew nothing but a desire to be accepted and reunited with his creator, Frankenstein's own "overreaching" ambition was met with disillusionment.
Kerscmar, Rhonda Ray. "Displaced Apocalypse and Eschatological Anxiety in Frankenstein." South Atlantic Quarterly 95.3 (Summer 1996): 729-747.
Levine, George, and U.C. Knoepflmacher, eds. The Endurance of Frankenstein: Essays on Mary Shelley's Novel. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974.
Shattuck, Roger. Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography. NY: St. Martin's Press, 1996.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. 1816. London: Oxford University Press, 1971.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Historical Perspective in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is an early product of the modern Western world. Written during the Romantic movement of the early 19th century, the book provides insight into issues that are pertinent today. Similar to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust, Shelley's Frankenstein concerns individuals' aspirations and what results when those aspirations are attained irresponsibly. While Mary Shelley (then Mary Godwin) wrote Frankenstein in 1816 she was living or in contact with both Percy Shelley and Lord Byron, the two predominant romantic poets who professed the romantic ideals of the age.... [tags: Frankenstein Essays]
1035 words (3 pages)
- ... Since Victor created the monster, he had to be punished, and he wound up paying with his life as well as the lives of all of the people he loved (Rauch). She was trying to instill the message that humanity cannot be replaced. In 1811 there was a revolt by the workers who did not like the way machinery was being implemented into their work (Industrial). They felt that due to the machines they could not use their skills and that the jobs became degrading. These people thought that they had proven their worth already and did not need these machines to assist them in their jobs, especially since they were now being paid less.... [tags: historical analysis]
1089 words (3.1 pages)
- Exploration of Humanities: Analysis of Mary Shelly 's Frankenstein, 1818 Novel Initial reactions to work I was drawn to this novel, because I am intrigued by idiosyncrasies and unspeakable horrors. What I found after reading this novel, however, was even more horrific than man giving life to a creature using various parts of corpses. Frankenstein 's cruelty in subjecting his creation to a life of abandonment, loneliness, and emotional torture was the ultimate gruesome act. One aspect particularly interesting, and frustrating to me was that I found Frankenstein to be a selfish coward.... [tags: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, Romanticism]
1066 words (3 pages)
- Initial reactions I had the opportunity to read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley several years ago and it became one of my favorite books. My initial feeling was sorrow, what a wonderful story that has been slowly destroyed by Hollywood through the years. We think of Victor Frankenstein as a mad scientist trying to destroy mankind, and the monster having bolts in his neck with very little intellect. Mary Shelley’s book is completely different from the Hollywood version we are accustom to. The monster is intelligent and has emotions, the mad scientist or Victor was scared of his own creation due to his appearance.... [tags: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, Romanticism]
1159 words (3.3 pages)
- Mary shelley 's 1818 (later revised in 1831) novel Frankenstein is a very important piece of modern historical literature which has an interesting story behind its creation. The novel has been adapted into many different mediums including multiple feature films, comic books, radio plays, and even video games. However there is one thing in particular that is very interesting about the novel and that is its references to the scientific concept of galvanism. In fact, one could argue that galvanism is one of the primary inspirations and driving factors behind victor 's story in the novel.... [tags: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, Galvanism]
1326 words (3.8 pages)
- Frankenstein Often times an author’s background shapes their writing thus instilling a sense of curiosity in the audience. In her work, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley exposes the grotesque aspects of life as it resonates with her past. Considered a Gothic novel, and one of the first Science Fictions, Frankenstein also contains several components of the Romantic Movement. The Romantic Movement was a period in British history when people felt a deep connection to nature, science, and their emotions.... [tags: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, Science fiction]
1717 words (4.9 pages)
- Identity Formation in Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley Introduction The novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley has become the source of inspiration for many critiques in the recent decades. This novel is traditionally regarded as the classical work of the Age of Enlightenment, that shares all major characteristics of the time. Though, the contemporary literary discourse can be called more identity centered and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is often analyzed from the feminist and from the biographical point of view.... [tags: Frankenstein, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley]
1165 words (3.3 pages)
- Mary Shelley’s famous work, Frankenstein, captures the surreal, and ever popular tale of mad scientist, Victor Frankenstein, bringing a “human” creation of his own to life. The story has been embedded into culture, and is familiar to all. This comes as no surprise since the story is rich with different topics relating to science, literature, and culture, which continue to make it a timeless piece of literature. Among the many subjects Shelley used to craft her work, one stands out as an influential and intriguing key to the story, and that is the science of Galvanism.... [tags: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, Galvanism]
832 words (2.4 pages)
- “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” (Albert Einstein). Mary Shelley does a fantastic job leading readers down the rabbit hole of ambiguity. She leaves the meaning of her famous novel Frankenstein for her readers to discern. Critics have mixed reviews about the actual meaning of the novel and are eager to support their theories with ample evidence from the text itself. Regardless of the actual meaning of the book, several majors themes can be glimpsed in the text. Frankenstein delivers this plethora of themes that exemplify the human tendency to commit evil deeds.... [tags: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, Gothic fiction, Human]
1343 words (3.8 pages)
- Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein is a thought provoking story to read because the subject matter speaks to me. Dark, supernatural and gothic is exactly the style of reading I would choose in my own reading choices. It was only one step from my Victorian Vampire reading to Frankenstein therefore my choice to read the novel was almost a given to me. Several areas that I as a human can relate to are the human nature of each character, the unrelenting revenge the monster feels, and betrayal in the pursuit of self-preservation Victor bestows on his monster, his family, and mankind.... [tags: Romanticism, Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley]
1422 words (4.1 pages)
- Romantic and Gothic Forces in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
- Comparing James Joyce's Araby and Ernest Hemingway's A Clean, Well-Lighted Place
- Lessons Learned at Summer Camp
- The Bourgeois Social Class in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
- The Reason Behind the Censorship of Salinger's Catcher In The Rye
- Digression in Nikolai Gogol's Dead Souls