Poor monster. He has a face not even a mother/ mad scientist could love… but at least it comes with a heart of gold. Or does it? We'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt—but, when it comes down to it, we'd be pulling out the mace and pressing the panic button on our cellphone if we saw him in a dark alley. So, let's start with the bad.
And it's really not pretty. Check out how Victor describes him:
His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips. (5.2)
Monstrous? We'll say. And when you take a closer look at this description, the real horror seems to be the contrast: flowing black hair and white teeth juxtaposed with his shriveled face and "straight black lips." We don't exactly blame Victor for running out the door, but we do have to point out that Victor has already revealed himself to put a little too much emphasis on appearance. (Check out his "Character Analysis" for more about that.)
Unfortunately, Victor isn't the only one who's terrified of the monster on sight. The sweet, gentle family he's been spying on in the forest falls to pieces when they see him: Agatha faints, Safie runs away, and Felix beats him with a stick (15.37). Not a good beginning. Even Walton, who knows the whole story, can't deal: "Never did I behold a vision so horrible as his face," he says: "I shut my eyes involuntarily" (24.56).
Okay, so we've established that he's ugly. But we haven't established whether he's actually a monster—or whether he becomes a monster because "where they [i.e., all people everywhere] ought to see a feeling and kind friend, they behold only a detestable monster" (15.26)
Heart of Gold?
When the monster describes himself, it's all sunshine and light. He has visions of "amiable and lovely creatures" keeping him company (15.11); he admires Agatha and Felix as "superior beings" (12.17); he describes himself as having "good dispositions" and tells De Lacey that "my life has been hitherto harmless and in some degree beneficial" (15.25); and he uses "extreme labour" to rescue a young girl from drowning" (16.19). But no matter what he does, his actions are always misinterpreted. Felix and Agatha think he's come to attack their father; the public assumes he's trying to murder the young girl instead of rescuing her; William Frankenstein assumes that he's going to kill him.
The moment he's accused of trying to murder the girl is a real turning point for the monster.
This was then the reward of my benevolence! I had saved a human being from destruction, and as a recompense I now writhed under the miserable pain of a wound which shattered the flesh and bone. The feelings of kindness and gentleness which I had entertained but a few moments before gave place to hellish rage and gnashing of teeth. Inflamed by pain, I vowed eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind. (16.19-20)
Essentially, Shelley seems to be saying that we (society) get the monsters we deserve. By neglecting and shunning people with socially unacceptable appearances or behaviors, we create mass murderers. (Hm, sounds surprisingly like an anti-bullying PSA.) If we accept the monster's word—that he was born good and made evil—then one of the book's major moral points is that we as a society have a responsibility to reach out to our outcast members.
In Victor's "Character Analysis," we suggested that Shelley wrote him based on the Romantic ideas of her husband and his friends: an individual who went beyond society's norms to bring enlightenment back to us poor mortals. And we saw how well that worked out for Victor. But what if we saw the monster as a Romantic figure, too? Check out his description of himself:
I was dependent on none and related to none. The path of my departure was free, and there was none to lament my annihilation. My person was hideous and my stature gigantic. What did this mean? Who was I? What was I? Whence did I come? What was my destination? These questions continually recurred. (15.5)
If you leave out the bit about the "hideous" person, this is a pitch-perfect description of a Romantic hero: a radically independent dude who won't let the man tell him what to do, a kind of superhero who sets out to solve the mysteries of life. (If you want to hear this theory with more $10 words, check out this 1964 article.)
And if you want more proof that Shelley may have intended the monster to be heroic, check out this description of his strength:
I was not even of the same nature as man. I was more agile than they and could subsist upon coarser diet; I bore the extremes of heat and cold with less injury to my frame; my stature far exceeded theirs. (13.17)
Monster? Maybe. But if you closed your eyes, he'd sound a lot like a better version of humanity.
But being a superhero isn't all it's cracked up to be. It's lonely at the top, and not just because the monster is "shunned and hated by all mankind" (17.5). He's shunned and hated by all womankind, too: "Shall each man," he says, "find a wife for his bosom, and each beast have his mate, and I be alone?" (20.11). Even our cold hearts are touched by this plea. He begs Frankenstein to make him a mate, and he really seems sincere when he says that he's just planning to move to South America and eat "acorns and berries" (17.9).
(Quick Brain Snack: Percy Shelley advocated vegetarianism—and having the monster say that he does not "destroy the lamb and the kid to glut [his] appetite" (17.9) sounds a lot like he really is a superior form of human, doesn't it?)
Essentially, the monster has no community. Even Satan, he says, had fellow fallen angels—but the monster is totally alone. No wonder he has a death wish.
Adam or Satan?
If you're feeling pretty conflicted about the monster right now, that's because he's supposed to be essentially dualistic. Is he good or evil? Is he a lesser type of man, or a greater type of man? Is he Adam—or is he Satan?
The Adam/ Satan duality is super important, because one of the monster's favorite books is Paradise Lost. In Paradise Lost, Milton suggests that Satan is jealous of Adam for having Eve and a sweet garden to live in. Sounds a lot like the monster, right? Sure. Unless we think of him as a better type of man, and as (along with Mrs. Monster) the founder of a new breed of ugly but heroic creatures. Look at the way he describes his plan for the future:
I will go to the vast wilds of South America. My food is not that of man; I do not destroy the lamb and the kid to glut my appetite; acorns and berries afford me sufficient nourishment. My companion will be of the same nature as myself and will be content with the same fare. We shall make our bed of dried leaves; the sun will shine on us as on man and will ripen our food. (17.9)
Eating berries, living in the "wilds," sleeping in the leaves, not to mention being "created" rather than born: it sounds a lot like Book 5 of Paradise Lost. So, which is it?
Well, both. The whole point (we think) is that the monster is both. He's both good and bad. He's a little scientist, trying to figure out the secrets of life—and then setting fire to the ants he's been studying with a microscope. (Figuratively, folks.) He loves people, but he hates them. He wants to run away and live in the woods, and he just wants his mommy to love him. In other words, he's a lot like us.
does-the-monster-have-a-name-The Monster's Timeline
Mary Shelley (1797-1851)
Born: Somers Town, England
Parents: feminist Mary Wollstonecraft (best known for her feminist work, Vindication of the Rights of Women) and philosopher William Godwin.
Wollstonecraft dies as the result of Mary's birth. Mary is then raised by her resentful father and an evil stepmother.
Mary met poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, a devotee of her father's teachings, when she was 16. Along with Claire Clairmont, she goes off with Percy, despite that he is currently married to Harriet Westbrook.
In 1816, they go abroad again, this time spending time with Byron and his doctor, Polidori, in Geneva. There Byron suggests that they should all write a ghost story. Mary writes Frankenstein, the only story of the four that was ever to be published as a novel. Polidori wrote "The Vampyre," which is considered the first modern vampire story. The story was first published in the April 1819 issue of New Monthly Magazine, mistakenly under the name of Lord Byron. Read it!
Mary had trouble starting the story, however. It wasn't until later, after Percy goes crazy listening to Byron read a poem (he imagines Mary is the she-villan in the poem) that she goes to bed and has this "waking nightmare":
When I placed my head upon my pillow, I did not sleep, nor could I be said to think. . . . I saw--with shut eyes, but acute mental vision--I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavor to mock the stupendous Creator of the world.
from the introduction to the third edition of Frankenstein
In November, Harriet drowns herself: Percy and Mary marry in December 1816.
Young Mary Shelley, at age 17, miscarried her first baby. She later wrote in a letter to friend Leigh Hunt.... "I dreamt that my little baby came to life again...that it had only been cold, and that we rubbed it before the fire, and it lived. Awake and find no baby. I think about the little thing all day. Not in good spirits."
The last years of married life are filled with disaster for Mary. Her half sister dies as does another of her children. Mary becomes depressed, a tendency she probably inherited from her mother. She is only partly relieved by the birth of Percy, their only surviving child.
Mary and Percy eventually move to Italy where Percy drowns during a sailing trip in 1822. Mary is determined to keep the memory of her late husband alive. She publishes several editions of Percy's writings and adds notes and prefaces to them.
Lord Byron found Percy's body washed up on the shore of an Italien beach. Due to plague restrictions, the body must be burned on the beach. Percy's heart, however, refused to burn. Byron gave Mary the heart, and she kept it wrapped up in a copy of a poem Percy had written upon the death of his friend, John Keats.
Mary continued to write her own novels, the most famous one being The Last Man (1826). This book deals with human isolation just as her earlier novel Frankenstein did. She writes numerous short stories and contributes biographical and critical studies to the Cabinet Cyclopædia.
The last years of her life were spent in the company of her son and two good friends. She tried very hard to free herself from the strains put on her by being the daughter and wife of such well-known people.
Mary Shelley died in 1851 at the age of fifty-three.
The Gothic Novel
Frankenstein is one of the first gothic novels.
What makes a work Gothic is a combination of at least some of these elements:
1. a castle, ruined or intact, haunted or not,
2. ruined buildings which are sinister or which arouse a pleasing melancholy,
3. dungeons, underground passages, crypts, and catacombs which, in modern houses, become spooky basements or attics,
4. labyrinths, dark corridors, and winding stairs,
5. shadows, a beam of moonlight in the blackness, a flickering candle, or the only source of light failing (a candle blown out or an electric failure),
6. extreme landscapes, like rugged mountains, thick forests, or icy wastes, and extreme weather,
7. omens and ancestral curses,
magic, supernatural manifestations, or the suggestion of the supernatural,
8. a passion-driven, wilful villain-hero or villain,
a curious heroine with a tendency to faint and a need to be rescued–frequently,
9. a hero whose true identity is revealed by the end of the novel,
10. horrifying (or terrifying) events or the threat of such happenings.
The Gothic creates feelings of gloom, mystery, and suspense and tends to the dramatic and the sensational, like incest, diabolism, and nameless terrors.
Click here to view or download the TWIX Frankenstein commercial.
Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
To mould me man? Did I solicit thee
From darkness to promote me?
John Milton's Paradise Lost
The monster reads a copy of Paradise Lost, which stirs him. The monster compares his situation to that of Adam. Unlike the first man who had "come forth from the hands of God a perfect creature," Frankenstein's creature is hideously formed. Unlike Adam, the monster is abandoned by Victor Frankenstein and finds himself "wretched, helpless, and alone." The monster can also be compared to Satan since both were created to be beautiful and neither directly attacks their creator, but rather, the ones most dear to their creator.
Victor can be compared to Adam since both acheived their downfall via searching for knowledge that they should not have. In Paradise Lost Satan's sin is pride. Victor is motivated by his pride to be the best and to hide his actions, even to the expense of Justine's death.
The Fall of Satan
The Byronic Hero
The following was gleaned from wikipedia:
A theme that pervades much of Byron's work is that of the Byronic hero, an idealized but flawed character whose attributes include:
• having conflicting emotions and moodiness
• self-criticism and strong self-respect
• small integrity but superior intellect
• having a distaste for social institutions
• being an exile
• expressing a lack of respect for rank and privilege
• having great talent
• guiltily hiding an unsavoury past but pursuing a rigteous relationship
• being highly passionate, cynical, demanding, and reclusive
• being self-destructive but finding small redemption
The challenge now is to figure out which is the Byronic hero in Frankenstein, Victor or the monster?
Answers to Study Questions:
1. Robert Walton
2. Mrs. Saville, Robert's sister
3. Make a voyage to the North Pole
4. A man on a sledge
5. The story of Frankenstein
2. Caroline Beaufort, his daughter
4. On the shore of the Lake of Como; a pleasant woman had adopted Elizabeth after her mother died in childbirth
and her father in a war
1. The Pursuit of Knowledge
2. Henry Clerval
3. It was very happy, he even said that no human child could have passed a happier life
4. She is calmer and more concentrated while Victor is desperate for knowledge and searches everywhere for any knowledge.
5. Cornelius Agrippa
1. His parents decide he will attend Ingolstadt
2. Elizabath caught Scarlett Fever and his mother caught it while taking care of her. His mother then dies from Scarlett Fever
3. She wanted Elizabeth and Victor to one day be married
4. He asks about Victor's previous studies. He then tells Victor that he has to start over and has been wasting his time
5. He encourages Victor to keep up his former studies but combine them with new studies to further his knowledge
1. He watches bodies decompse.
2. He gains the ability to bestow life on lifeless matter
3. 2 years.
4. 8 feet tall.
2. Elizabeth dies in his arms.
3. Samuel Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancienct Mariner."
5. Clerval nurses Victor when Victor fell ill.
1. Elizabeth is concerned about Victor's illness
4. He is the mean professor at Ingolstadt
5. Oriental Languages
2. The gates have been shut and no visitors allowed
4. The Monster
5. He fears he will be called crazy and he doesn't want to confess to creating the monster.
1. She is put on trial for William's murder.
2. Elizabeth, because Elizabeth believes in Justine's innocence.
3. Justine confesses to William's murder.
4. She wanted to get a reduced sentence.
5. He is troubled by guilt because only he knows who killed William.
1. He thinks about his father and Elizabeth.
2. They go to Belrive.
3. They go to cheer up the family.
4.He goes to the valley of Chamounix.
5. The journey relieves Frankenstein of his guilt.
1. The summit (top) of Montanvert
2. The monster
3. How ugly the monster is and how grotesque shaped it is
4. He trys to fight him
5. He narrates the events of his life
1. he found a huge cloak
3. He saw a small hut
4. Bread, cheese, milk and wine
5. The old man in the village was playing an beautiful instrument
1. Because he was thinking of the occurrences of the day.
2. Cut wood and stacked it for their fire.
3. Agatha and Felix.
4. He was blind.
5. Yes, he was scared they would be disgusted.
1. The guitar.
3. He thinks he is ugly.
4. His protectors.
This epistlary novel begins with letters written from Robert Walton to his sister. The only point of these letters is to set up the pretense that this is a true story. This is a very popular technique at the time this novel was written.
In the letters, the story of Captain Walton unfolds. Eventually winds up in the Arctic circle and picks up Victor Frankenstein who relates his story to Captain Walton. The main part of the novel is this story, now no longer in letter form, but as Victor relates it.
"I will be with you on your wedding night!"
This is the frontsipiece for Shelley's 1813 copy of Frankenstein.
1. Ignorance is Bliss - The quote at the top of this page from chapter four illustrates this perfectly. This theme is a warning to avoid going too far with science. There are some mysteries that mankind was not meant to understand.
2. Human Injustice Toward Outsiders - The monster is an outsider to all humankind. The old blind man is an outsider because of his age and blindness. Justine is an outsider because of her being adopted. Victor is an outsider because he alone has the knowledge of what he has done and the existence of the monster.
3. The Treatment of Women - Victor doesn't mistreat women, but he does portray an 1800s view of male superiority. The monster, on the other hand, does not have the upbringing like Victor's, therefore, his idea of the equality of women is different.
4. Nature vs. the Unnatural - With the industrial revolution taking place, many Victorian novels expressed fear and distrust of the newer technology and leaps in science. This book expresses those fears through several scenes.
1.Who wrote the letters?
2.Who were the letters wrote to?
3.What was Robert Walton telling his sister he was going to do?
4.What is found when Robert reaches the North Pole shore?
5.What does the stranger tell Robert?
1.Who was Victor's dad's intimate friend and a merchant?
2.Who took care of Beaufort in his sickness?
3.Who did Victor's dad marry?
4 .Where did the family get Elizabeth, and from where did she come from?
1. What was Victor's main motivation in Life?
2. Who does Victor befriend while in school?
3. How was Victor's childhood?
4. How do Victor and Elizabeth contrast?
5. What Author/scientist first captivate Victor's imagination?
1. What happened when Victor turned 17 (pertaining to school)?
2. What happened before he left for Ingolstadt (Elizabeth and his mother)?
3. What was Victor's mother's last wish?
4. What does Mr. Krempe do upon meeting Victor?
5. What does M. Waldman tell Victor?
1. What does Victor do during some nights?
2. What ability does Victor gain?
3. How many years does Victor spend studying away from Geneva?
4. How tall does Victor decide to make the creature?
1. Of whom does Victor dream?
2. What happens in Victor's dream?
3. What poem is quoted in Chapter 5?
4. Which acquaintance does Victor see?
5. How does Victor's friend help him ?
1. What was Elizabeth's concern in her letter?
2. How many kids were in Justine's family?
3. How many of Justine's siblings survived?
4 . Who is Mr.Kremp?
5. What is Henry studing?
1. Who is murdered in chapter 7?
2. What is the problem with Geneva when Victor returns?
3. Who is accused of killing William?
4. Who does Victor see outside of Geneva at night?
5. Why doesn't Victor profess Justine's innocence?
1. What happens to Justine?
2. Who testifies on Justine's behalf and why?
3. What does Justine do at the end of the trial?
4. Why did Justine do what she did?
5. How does Frankenstein feel throughout the trial?
1. Why doesn’t Frankenstein commit suicide?
2. Where does the family go?
3. Why does the family take a trip?
4. Where does Frankenstein go?
5. What does this journey do to Frankenstein’s state of mind?
1. Where does Victor go when he wants his spirit to be revived?
2. What does he see where he went?
3. What does Victor realize when he sees it?
4. What does Victor do to the monster once he sees him?
5. What does the monster do inside the cave?
1. What did he find under the tree?
2. What did he search for a lot that was very scarce?
3. What did he see on a hill while walking trough the snow?
4. What kind of breakfast did the shepard feed him?
5. What made him not understand the emotions he was feeling?
1. Why could he not sleep?
2. What did Frankenstein's monster do that made the cottagers happy and surprised?
3. What were the daughter's and son's name?
4. What disability did the father have?
5. Was Frankenstein's monster scared to present himself to cottagers? If so, why?
"I beheld those I loved spend vain sorrow upon the graves of William and Justine, the first hapless victims to my unhallowed arts."
1. What instrument did the father play?
2. What is the "mystery woman's" name?
3. What does the monster think of himself compared to the humans?
4. What did the monster call the cottagers?
Thanks to the honors class of fall semester 2005 for the study questions.
The following insightful questions and thought provokers are, sadly enough, not mine. They belong to this St. John's web site. You should go there for more insightful commentary on the novel.
Mary's comments shed much light on what she was to write. We should note...
• the classics to which she alludes including Paradise Lost by Milton
• her analysis of "waking dreams" -we know the romantics' fascination with dream psychology--what is a waking dream? Recall Coleridge.
• her listening to Byron and her husband discuss the philosophy of reanimation: "My imagination, unbidden,. possessed and guided me, gifting the successive images that arose in my mind with a vividness far beyond the usual bounds of reverie. I saw--with eyes shut, but acute mental vision--I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out...frightful must it be, for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavor to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world."
• BOOK X of Paradise Lost and its importance.
• the Enlightenment influence and the role of a "reasonable' Christianity in promising a utopia, but Hindle notes, "As a cautionary tale warning of the dangers that can be cast into society by a presuming experimental science, Frankenstein is without equal." Hindle also notes the influence of John Locke's Essay on Human Understanding. The epistemology of the 'blank slate" and sensation / reflection is important in the education of the creature.
• Shelley's interest in the myth of Prometheus. Recall Byron's poem.
• Percy Shelley's interest in science. See Hindle's Introduction, p. xxi.
• the influence of the Byronic hero concept and Coleridge's poetry.
The Unreliable Narrator
Just as in Percy's "Ozymandius" and Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is a point of bonanza. The whole story is Robert Walton's retelling of what Victor tells him. In some cases the moster is telling Victor who is in turn retelling it to Walton who in turn retells it to us. Now we have no reason to really doubt Walton. We can, however, build a case to scrutinize what Victor is telling. We can also analize the truthfulness of the monster's story. Did the monster really try to save the girl from drowning, or is he lying in order to make himself look better.
An unreliable narrator cannot be fully trusted either because they do not understand what they are narrating (as in Flowers for Algernon and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) or they may simply be lying to the reader to suit their needs. Many people question the story of the monster (and for that matter, Van Helsing in Dracula).
Frankenstein Jr. was a cheesy Hanna-Barbera cartoon about a kid who built a robot called Frankenstein. The robot is activated by the kid's remote control ring. Together they go around fighting crime, but mostly the robot is just saving the little boy. Click to hear an audio from the show.
And last, but not least, perhaps the best Frankenstein movie ever made?
The Legend of the Golem
The monter in Frankenstein is a flesh golem. here is Wikipedia.org's definition of a golem:
The word golem is used in the Bible to refer to an embryonic or incomplete substance: Psalm 139:16 uses the word "gal'mi", meaning "my unshaped form" (in Hebrew, root words are defined by sequences of consonants, ie. glm). The Mishnah uses the term for an uncultivated person ("Ten characteristics are in a learned person, and ten in an uncultivated one", Pirkei Avoth 5:7). Similarly, Golems are used today primarily in metaphor either as brainless lunks or as entities serving man under controlled conditions but enemies in others. Similarly, it is a Yiddish slang insult for someone who is clumsy or slow.
The earliest stories of golems date to early Judaism. Adam is described in the Talmud (Tractate Sanhedrin 38b) as initially created as a golem when his dust was "kneaded into a shapeless hunk". Like Adam, all golems are created from mud. They were a creation of those who were very holy and close to God. A very holy person was one who strove to approach God, and in that pursuit would gain some of God's wisdom and power. One of these powers was the creation of life. No matter how holy a person got, however, the being they created would be but a shadow of one created by God.
Early on, the notion developed that the main disability of the golem was its inability to speak. In Sanhedrin 65b, it describes how Rabba created a golem using the Sefer Yetzirah. He sent the golem to Rabbi Zeira. Rabbi Zeira spoke to the golem, but he did not answer. Said Rabbi Zeira, "I see that you were created by one of our colleagues; return to your dust".
Having a golem servant was seen as the ultimate symbol of wisdom and holiness, and there are many tales of golems connected to prominent rabbis throughout the Middle Ages.
Other attributes of the golem were gradually added over time. In many tales the Golem is inscribed with magic or religious words that keep it animated. Writing the name of God on its forehead, (or on a clay tablet under its tongue) or writing the word Emet (???, 'truth' in the Hebrew language) on its forehead are examples of such words. By erasing the first letter in Emet to form Meit (??, 'death' in Hebrew) the golem can be deactivated.
The most famous golem narrative involves the Maharal of Prague, a 16th century rabbi. He is reported to have created a golem to defend the Prague ghetto from Anti-Semitic attacks. However these stories are of relatively recent origin, and appear to be the result of fictional accounts written by Yudl Rosenberg in 1909. According to the legend, Golem could be made of clay from the banks of the Vltava river in Prague. Following the prescribed rituals, the Rabbi built the Golem and made him come to life by reciting a special incantation in Hebrew. The word "emet", meaning "truth", was placed on the Golem's forehead. The Golem would obey the Rabbi's every order and would help and protect the people of the Jewish Ghetto.
However, as he grew bigger, he also became more violent and started killing people and spreading fear. Rabbi Loew was promised that the violence against the Jews would stop if the Golem was destroyed. The Rabbi agreed.
The existence of a golem is in most stories portrayed as a mixed blessing. Although not overly intelligent, a golem can be made to perform simple tasks over and over. The problem is one of control or getting it to stop, bearing a resemblance to the story of the broomstick in The Sorcerer's Apprentice.
In the late nineteenth century the golem was adopted by mainstream European society. Most notably Gustav Meyrink's 1915 novel Der Golem based on the tales of the golem created by Judah Low ben Bezalel. This book inspired a classic set of expressionistic silent movies, Paul Wegener's Golem series, of which especially Golem: How He Came Into the World (also released as The Golem, 1920, USA 1921) is famous. Another famous treatment from the same era is H. Leivick's 1921 Yiddish-language "dramatic poem in eight sections" The Golem.
These tales saw a dramatic change, and some would argue a Christianization, of the golem. Christianity, far more than Judaism, has long had a deep concern with humanity getting too close to God. The golem thus became a creation of overambitious and overreaching mystics, who would inevitably be punished for their blasphemy, very similar to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and the alchemical homunculus. The Golem has also been considered by some to be an early android, further divorcing it from its roots.
Gollum, from Lord of the Rings, does not get his name from golem.
. . . or a Modern Prometheus
The complete title of this book is Frankenstein or a Modern Prometheus. The story of Prometheus goes as follows:
Prometheus was one of the titans that sided with Zeus and the gods against Cronus and the titans. Later, after the gods ruled and mankind was created, Prometheus desired to give mankind a gift of fire. Zeus forbade it since man would misuse it to make weapons and such and since if man had fire, they would not be as reliant on the gods. Prometheus stole some from Mt. Olympus and gave it to man. As a result, man was punished by zeus giving them woman (horrors upon horrors!) and Prometheus was chained to a rock where an eagle (or vulture in some myths) eats his liver out everyday. Since he is immortal, it grows back only to be eaten again the next day. Hercules later rescued Prometheus (but nobody rescued man!).
Just as Prometheus went too far to give mankind the mysteries of the gods, Victor goes too far in discovering the mysteries of God by trying to defy death and learn how to create life.
Byron, who was with Shelley when she began to write this novel, wrote a poem titled "Prometheus" that she would have been familiar with and inspired by:
Titan! to whose immortal eyes
The sufferings of mortality,
Seen in their sad reality,
Were not as things that gods despise;
What was thy pity's recompense?
A silent suffering, and intense;
The rock, the vulture, and the chain,
All that the proud can feel of pain,
The agony they do not show,
The suffocating sense of woe,
Which speaks but in its loneliness,
And then is jealous lest the sky
Should have a listener, nor will sigh
Until its voice is echoless.
Titan! to thee the strife was given
Between the suffering and the will,
Which torture where they cannot kill;
And the inexorable Heaven,
And the deaf tyranny of Fate,
The ruling principle of Hate,
Which for its pleasure doth create
The things it may annihilate,
Refus'd thee even the boon to die:
The wretched gift Eternity
Was thine--and thou hast borne it well.
All that the Thunderer wrung from thee
Was but the menace which flung back
On him the torments of thy rack;
The fate thou didst so well foresee,
But would not to appease him tell;
And in thy Silence was his Sentence,
And in his Soul a vain repentance,
And evil dread so ill dissembled,
That in his hand the lightnings trembled.
Thy Godlike crime was to be kind,
To render with thy precepts less
The sum of human wretchedness,
And strengthen Man with his own mind;
But baffled as thou wert from high,
Still in thy patient energy,
In the endurance, and repulse
Of thine impenetrable Spirit,
Which Earth and Heaven could not convulse,
A mighty lesson we inherit:
Thou art a symbol and a sign
To Mortals of their fate and force;
Like thee, Man is in part divine,
A troubled stream from a pure source;
And Man in portions can foresee
His own funereal destiny;
His wretchedness, and his resistance,
And his sad unallied existence:
To which his Spirit may oppose
Itself--and equal to all woes,
And a firm will, and a deep sense,
Which even in torture can descry
Its own concenter'd recompense,
Triumphant where it dares defy,
And making Death a Victory.
Percy Bysshe Shelley's Poem "Mutabiity" (quoted in the novel)
We are as clouds that veil the midnight moon:
How relentlessly they speed, and gleam, and quiver,
Streaking the darkness radiantly!-- yet soon
Night closes round, and they are lost forever:
Or like forgotten lyres, whose dissonant strings
Give various response to each varying blast,
To whose frail frame no second motion brings
One mod or modulation like the last.
We rest.-- A dream has power to poison sleep;
We rise.-- One wandering thought pollutes the day;
We feel, conceive or reason, laugh or weep;
Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away:
It is the same!-- For, be it joy or sorrow,
The path of departure still is free:
Man's yesterday may ne'er be like his morrow;
Nought may endure but Mutability.
I just thought this look more like a Harry Potter and the Frankenstein's Monster book cover.
This is a city in Germany. This is where Audis are made as well as Frankenstein's monster. The Illuminati was formed here (Free Mason conspiracy that caused the French Revolution).
... he's blue and he's got a big gun!
This image the others like it are from Bernie Wrightson. You can see more of his work at: www.wrightsonsfrankenstein.
September 14th, 1486 - February 18th, 1535
"Seeing there is a Threefold world, Elementary, Celestial and Interlectual, and every Inferior is governed by its Superior...the very Original and Chief Worker of All doth...convey the Virtues of his Omnipotency upon us."
Agrippa was the scientist Victor studied before the university. This was his first introduction into science. Just who was this man?
- a magician
- occult writer
- early feminist
- legal expert
His devotion to the occult sciences led to many persecutions in his life.
His most notable works were
- De incertitudine et vanitate scientiarum (a satire on teh sad state of science in his time)
- Three books of Occult Philosophy (about magic - a book still studied to this day)
- Philosophy of Natural Magic: Complete Work on Natural Magic, White &Black Magic (title speaks for itself)
- Declamation on the Nobility and Preeminence of the Female Sex (a book on the equality of women)
Agrippa also made much use of the pentagram for his occult studies. He often used letters to represent the elements at the five points of the pentagram. Below is a pentagram drawing showing the golden symmetry of the human body.
Thanks to Wikipedia for most of this information.
Allusions in Frankenstein(click on the titles to read online versions of the texts):
Volney's Ruins of Empires:
This is the book that Felix uses to instruct Safie. While doing so, the monster learns world history. The book has a future predicition in it that all religions will eventually become one after mankind realizes the single truth that they all share.
Johann Wolfgang von Geothe's Sorrows Werther:
This was one of the books the monster found in a satchel while out in the woods that the monster reads to learn more about mankind. This is a loosely autobiographical novel that made Geothe an overnight success. Young men began to dress like the character and there was even the first reported cases of copycat suicides as young men tried to imitate the suicide of young Werther. Werther was in love with a woman who was engaged and could not love him back.
Plutarch's Parallel Lives:
Another book found in the satchel. This one gives history through the lives of Greek and Roman heroes. None of these heroes are female, but this is one of the best sources for information on the life of women in the ancient world.
John Milton's Paradise Lost: Much more popular than its sequel, Paradise Regained, this epic is about the fall of Satan and the subsequent fall of man. In it, Satan has cool quotes like, "Better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven." There is more about this book on the other side of the page. This book was also found in the satchel.