The Modern Prometheus Essay Research Paper Did — страница 3

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intentions in mind when he gave man fire; he wanted to help man. Shelley’s emphasis of the difference in values from the mythical Greek times and that of the modern age is not only visible in the creation of man, but also in the reaction and punishment that followed. When Frankenstein first laid his eyes on the newly animated monster, “disgust filled [his] heart” (Shelley, p. 56) and he ran, hoping never to see the monster in his sights again. His horror and dismay at what he had created overcame his responsibility to this live, and essentially, child-like being. His cowardliness is contrasted by how Prometheus dealt with his situation. After Zeus stole the fire that Prometheus had given to his creation, Prometheus stole it right back; knowing that mankind needed it to

survive (Norton, p. 313). When Frankenstein ran away from the monster, the monster quickly became angered at the fact that he was alone, having been abandoned by the one who created him. When he finally meets up with Frankenstein, he explains how he feels about the way “you, my creator, abhor me” (Shelley, p. 96), yet does not conjure up any sympathy from Frankenstein. As a punishment, the monster has devoted his life to making the life of Frankenstein miserable by killing those that he loves, one by one. Conversely, Prometheus’ punishment is given to him for caring for man too much. His intentions of helping his creation survive went against the Gods, but he felt that what he did was necessary, and would stop at nothing to help. The punishment that he received of being

chained to the rock where the eagle fed on his liver daily, is similar to that of Frankenstein, except that Frankenstein had the opportunity to stop his punishment. The monster asks Frankenstein to create a wife for him, so that together they can “live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for [his] being” (Shelley, p. 138), and in return he would leave Frankenstein alone, “cut off from all the world” (Shelley, p. 139). Frankenstein refuses, afraid that his situation would only get worse with having two of the monsters that he had created. Once again, Frankenstein is only thinking of himself, and is totally oblivious to the needs of his own creation. Shelley makes her point of the modern values in society very clear by reiterating Frankenstein’s selfishness.

The story of Victor Frankenstein is one of horror, fear, and intrigue. It is also one that find itself surrounded in ambiguity, leaving the reader searching for a definite answer to the question of “Did Mary Shelley initially title her work about Victor Frankenstein and his creation The Modern Prometheus solely because of the glaring similarities between their stories?” That, it appears, is impossible. The discrepancies between the intentions of Prometheus in his creation, and that of Frankenstein’s, combined with their utterly different reactions to what they had created, are too blatant to be ignored. Most visible in the areas of Frankenstein which relate to the creation of the monster, along with the punishment that followed, Shelley used these discrepancies to

illustrate how values in society have changed, from the mythological Greek age, to that of modern society. That is why Frankenstein is subtitled The Modern Prometheus, to show how the archetype of a “Promethean hero” had changed from being noble and self-sacrificing, to being cowardly and self-indulging. Norton, Dans and Peters Rushton. Classical Myths in English Literature. New York: Greenwood Press Publishers, 1969. P. 311-316. Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. New York: Penguin Group, 1963. Smith, Johanna M. Forbidden Knowledge or “Sad Trash”? HTTP://www2.centenary.edu/forbidden/smith. February 1, 1999. Mullen, Patrick. The Creation of Man by Prometheus. HTTP://members.tripod.com/`greekmyth/creationman.html. January 31, 1999.