Comparing Frankenstein and Paradise Lost


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Frankenstein and Paradise Lost        


Mary Shelley has created a subversive and grotesque God/Man relationship in "Frankenstein." Shelly sets up Frankenstein and, at times, Man in general, to be the monster's God. Shelley's integration with Paradise Lost creates opportunity for making such comparisons. When the monster gives his book review of the found classic, he states, "It moved every feeling of wonder and awe, that the picture of an omnipotent God warring with his creatures was capable of exciting." This is reminiscent of the war he has with Frankenstein when his wishes are refused. He then goes on to relate the story's characters to his own situation.

The plot of the monster's life follows a mutated version of Adam's as he read it in Paradise Lost. At one point he relates, "But it was all a dream; no Eve soothed my sorrows nor shared my thoughts; I was alone. I remembered Adam's supplication to his Creator. But where was mine?" The monster relates himself to Adam and expects the same treatment from his 'God.' The full realization of the mockery of Adam and Eve is barely missed when Frankenstein decides to relieve Man of the burden of his monster race by refusing to create the monster's bride. Just as he has the power to create, has he the power to destroy. Yet, in the end, the monster is the one in control, and ultimately triumphs in the final chase, outliving his creator.

Just as with Adam, the monster's role is also compared to that of Satan in Paradise Lost: "Many times I considered Satan as the fitter emblem of my condition; for often, like him, when I viewed the bliss of my protectors, the bitter gall of envy rose within me." The monster is like Satan in that he is rejected by the beings of which he was once a member. While he does not remember, perhaps he feels his similarity, yet horrid mutation and punished rejection. The duality in the monster between Adam and Satan allows him to decide upon his plan of action. It is important to note that he takes upon himself the role of Adam before resorting to the methods learned from Satan.

In Paradise Lost, Adam and Eve are banished from the Garden of Eden for eating fruit from the tree of knowledge. Much the same way, Frankenstein's happy and loving life is smashed to pieces upon the creation of the monster.

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He has gone where man was never intended to go, and for this he pays dearly with his life and those of his family. The monster takes on the role of God for Frankenstein upon the realization of Frankenstein's incapability of acting the role. The monster is, at first, willing to accept his position as Man in the God/Man relationship with Frankenstein, and he goes, like Adam, to ask his God for a mate. Yet with Frankenstein's failure to comply, the roles quickly become reversed.


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