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Frankenstein

Frankenstein is the name of the hero of the novel of M. Shelley “Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus” (1818), written under the direct influence of the English Gothic novel of the late XVIII – early XIX century. Shelley’s novel events are described by several narrators. The novel begins with the letters of a Robert Walton to his sister Margaret. Walton writes to her from Russia, where he gathers a team to go to the Arctic Circle, to reveal the mystery of a compass, to glorify the name of Walton and benefit the humanity. At this perilous path Walton had two extraordinary meetings: the first was with a mysterious monster, and then with a seriously ill man, Victor Frankenstein, who told Walton his remarkable story. (Bloom, 1987)

Victor Frankenstein is a young Swiss scientist, endowed with remarkable talent and desire for education, who discovers the secrets of nature and science, wants to learn the unknown. Victor tries to penetrate into the mysteries of life, to create a living being from inanimate material: “ a flash of lightning illuminated the object and discovered its shape plainly to me; its gigantic stature, and the deformity of its aspect, more hideous than belongs to humanity, instantly informed me that it was the wretch, the filthy demon to whom had given life.” (Shelley, p. 60)

He creates a human being with extraordinary strength and endurance, but this creature turns out so ugly that the scientists is scared of it: “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 color as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips.”

And Frankenstein, affected the physical ugliness of his monsters which can cause only terror, he wants to get rid of it and of the responsibility for the fate of his creation: “I was seized by remorse and the sense of guilt, which hurried me away to a hell of intense tortures, such as no language can describe.” (Shelley, Ch.9)
As a result, a demon or monster, fails to find his place among the people, he suffers from being stranger on this planet: “‘When I looked around I saw and heard of none like me. Was I, the, a monster, a blot upon the earth from which all men fled and whom all men disowned?'” (Shelley, Ch. 13, p. 105)

But in Merry Shelley’s story Frankenstein’s monster is shown from the position of the traditional romantic hero: the monster is a good creature, he has kind heart and good intentions. But he feels rejected and lonely, his heart wants love, but no one accepts it, and he rebels against the whole world. That is why the monster rebels against his creator too, and wants to revenge him: he kills the brother, friend and the bride of Frankenstein. (Schor, 2003)

Frankenstein is a typical romantic hero, a desperate fighter: on the one hand he must be proud of that he managed to create new life, but also must take responsibility for the creature, but he can not do this solely for aesthetic reasons. Frankenstein used his youth to create a demon, the so rest of life he dedicates to attempts to destroy it, hoping to atone for humankind: “Great God! If for one instant I had thought what might be the hellish intention of my fiendish adversary, I would rather have banished myself forever from my native country and wandered a friendless outcast over the earth than have consented to this miserable marriage. But, as if possessed of magic powers, the monster had blinded me to his real intentions; and when I thought that I had prepared only my own death, I hastened that of a far dearer victim.” (Shelley, Ch. 22, p. 174)

The image of the Frankenstein brings the prophetic idea of the possibility of adverse consequences of scientific progress to mankind, and also the author’s thought on the human nature. Horrible monster appears in the novel as a counterpart of the great creator. Frankenstein says that a living being that he created and let to live among the people, is endowed with the power to do evil, “as a vampire, having escaped from the coffin to destroy all that is dear to me”. This “modern Prometheus” knows all the imperfections of the divine creation of a man, bearing in itself both creative and destructive impulses. His bunt, according to Shelley, is associated with a desire to get the divine truth and divine knowledge, is an integral feature of the human soul, but in his pursuit a men first of all must be guided by a thirst for human love. Otherwise Frankenstein turns out to be “the modern Prometheus” as he bears the burden of responsibility for creation, which he brought to people, he is forced to suffer for all his life.

References:

Bloom, H.( 1987). Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. New York: Chelsea House Publishers
Shelley M. (2007). Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. Ed. Susan J. Wolfson. New York: Pearson Longman
Schor, E. (2003) .The Cambridge Companion to Mary Shelley. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press