The Modern Prometheus Essay Research Paper Did — страница 2

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between Frankenstein and Prometheus. It is here that the similarities between the mythical story of Prometheus and that of Victor Frankenstein ends. Victor and Prometheus both “created” man for completely different reasons and intentions. In the story of Prometheus, Zeus (God) gave him the task of creating man as a reward for his loyalties in the war with the Titans. Frankenstein, on the other hand, chose to give life to inanimate materials on his own. He was not given the “God-like” ability to create life by “God,” he chose to do so by his own free will. Whereas Prometheus was asked to create man, Frankenstein did it for completely different, selfish reasons. It is because of these reasons that the subtitle of The Modern Prometheus truly becomes defined. Frankenstein

exemplifies the self-absorbed nature of the “modern” man because of these reasons. Instead of following the lead of Prometheus, Frankenstein decides to give life to his creation because he wants to do what no other scientist has done before. When he is attending the University of Ingolstadt, Frankenstein is under the tutelage of two different scientists, M. Krempe and M. Waldman. It was through listening to M. Waldman that the idea of the human frame and the process of life (Shelley, p. 50) enraptured Frankenstein. From there, he quickly progressed to having the idea of creating the change from death to life, where he describes: “a light so brilliant and wondrous, yet so simple, that while I became dizzy with the immensity of the prospect which it illustrated, I was

surprised that among so many men of genius who had directed their inquiries towards the same science, that I alone should be reserved to discover so astonishing a secret” (Shelley, 51). It is clear that Frankenstein’s intentions in creating life where one had ceased to exist before were based on his desire to do something that no other scientist had been able to do. This overriding ambition is similar to that of the scientists of today who engage in the race for who can clone humans faster, or travel to outer space. There is no helpful reason for such things to be accomplished, other than to have the “bragging rights” over another country. This ambition of Frankenstein’s to be the forerunner in the area of the scientific processes of life caused him to not think of the

consequences of his actions, and to only think of himself. Frankenstein embodies what Shelley obviously perceives as being “modern.” Along with simply wanting to be the first scientist to master such a feat, Frankenstein is determined to make his creation one of gargantuan proportions. He would not be satisfied by merely giving life to his creation, he had to make the monster larger than any natural being, a being of “gigantic stature” (Shelley, p. 73). In the Promethean myth, Prometheus gives man the ability to walk upright so that they would be closer to the heavens and the Gods (Norton, p. 312), whereas Frankenstein simply makes his creation massive, so that he may be all the more impressive. Although Frankenstein’s creation was enormous, it wasn’t merely its sheer

size that made him so impressive an invention. Frankenstein created his “monster,” giving him the ability to learn, think, and feel. This is similar to Prometheus and the “forbidden fire” he steals from the Gods to give to man. Even though both Frankenstein and Prometheus give their creations “forbidden fire,” or knowledge, it is their reasons for doing so that once again help discriminate between Prometheus and his “modern” counterpart, Frankenstein. Prometheus stole the fire from the Gods because he felt that mankind needed the knowledge to survive, especially since his brother, Epimetheus, had not left any attributes to give to man. Similarly, Frankenstein “steals” the knowledge that he gives his creation, playing the role of God by giving the monster

knowledge that he wasn’t meant to have. This act of giving the monster “forbidden” knowledge was not to help the monster survive; it was more so that Frankenstein could revel in his God-like role. Shelley deemed, in her introduction to the novel, that “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” (Shelley, p. XI). Shelley obviously intended to show that Frankenstein was indeed usurping divine power, but not for the same reasons as Prometheus had for stealing fire from Zeus. Frankenstein’s modern values caused him to want his creation to be extraordinary, and he would stop at nothing to have his monster be just that. Prometheus, on the other hand, had noble