Frankenstein and other texts


Paradise Lost

"Many times I considered Satan as a fitting emblem of my condition."- The Monster

"Like the archangel who aspired to omnipotence, I am chained in an eternal hell."-Frankenstein

Both the monster and Victor can be related to Satan in Paradise Lost. Victor goes against Gods plan and is punished for his arrogance and thirst for forbidden knowledge. He attempts to take over Gods role as creator and is backfires on his violently. Many Romantics of Shelleys time considered Satan as some sort of Hero, but Mary does not present Victor in a particularly positive light. Instead, he destorys his own family and releases onto the world monstrous fantasies. 

Similarly, the monster himself considers himself to be Satan, outcast and different from everyone else, and is refused access to the rest of the glorious world of affection and love. However, what makes Satan and the monster different is that this rejection is initally through no fault of the monsters own, whereas Satans casting from Heaven occurs because he betrays God. Satan is also like Adam, in that he was never asked to be created, and he also foud himself withouta partner. Adam is like what the creature would have been like, had he not been rejected by Victor, his God. 

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Victor is seen as Shelleys interpretation of of Prometheus, fascinated by the power of electricity and ligtning, using it in the wrong way to bring evil into the world. His own fascination will bring the end of his life, and he will suffer because of it. His torture is like Prometheus', undying and eternal. Prometheus' punishment was to be chained to a rock and have his liver eaten everyday by a eagle. Similarly, Vicotrs punishment for the accquirment is to go around troubled by his own mistake, so much so that he cannot forgive himself, and dies still burdened

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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

The story by Samuel Talor Colridge is very much the same as Frankenstein. After killing off an albatross, the mariner is punished for all eternity by having to wander about the world telling his tale, and teaching people to not violate the laws of nature. Frankenstein, too, has to wander about the world after his monster, warning people not to succumb to the dangers of knowledge, because he too violated the laws of nature

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Real life cases: Burke and Hare, and Galvanism

Burke and Hare: 

Two real life serial killers from the 19th century. They were initally body snatchers, who dug up graves and sold the bodies to a local anatomist, Dr Knox for him to work on. In return they woudl receive profit from him. They were eventually caught and punished. They were not the only body snatchers in the era though, and it was a common crime. Victor too commits the crime and uses snatched corpses for his creation. His actions, like that of Hare and Burke, came back to haunt him. 


Luigi Galvani experimented with the powers of galvanism, and was able to make a frog legs muscles twitch, even though it was dead. His nephew, Giovanni, drew crowds by using the same concept, when he was given permission to experiment on a dead criminal, George Forster. It is said that his hands clenched into fists and one of his eyes opened. Frankenstein uses electricity to make the same effect, but unlike Giovani, he was actually successful at bringing the dead back to life

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