The Myth of Prometheus in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Essay

:: 3 Works Cited
Length: 1188 words (3.4 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Purple      
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Myth of  Prometheus in Frankenstein

Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein as a modern day version of the legend of Prometheus. Prometheus created men out of clay and taught them the "arts of civilisation" (Webster's World Encyclopedia CD-ROM 1999). Zeus, the chief god of the Titans, wanted to destroy Prometheus' creation but Prometheus stole fire from heaven to help mankind. Zeus punished Prometheus by chaining him to a rock where an eagle would feed on his liver during the day and each night the liver would grow back. Prometheus was able to bargain for his release because he knew a secret which concerned Zeus' future. Heracles shot the eagle and so Prometheus gained release. Victor Frankenstein is Shelley's modern Prometheus in that he, too, created man. The themes that relate to the myth of Prometheus in the novel are Frankenstein's torment, the monster's education, and the absolute determination of the individual spirit and how this determination can rival that of God. Shelley uses these themes to show that the human spirit is capable of many things - of noble pursuits that rival God himself, but also of the darkest of actions that draw comparisons with the acts of Satan.

Victor Frankenstein is in the first part of the book described as a very noble person, with human curiosities while not common to most people are nevertheless normal. Our sympathy is entirely with him. His desire for knowledge and his eagerness to achieve high goals and to bring the human race further in its effort to erase the pains and sufferings of mortality only make him seem more admirable. He seems to devote his whole life to the benefit of humanity. The sea captain, Walton, sums up this impression when he says " How can I see so noble a creat...

... middle of paper ...

... could find form his torture was death. It is ironic that the monster is initially kindly and good natured until the corruption of humanity seeps into his heart and he finally comes to be the monster that he is perceived as.


List of References

Webster's World Encyclopedia 1999 CD-ROM, Webster Publishing, Frenchs Forest

Shelley, M., Frankenstein, Aerie, USA

Boyd, S., 1984 York notes on Frankenstein, Longman Group, Essex


Webster's World Encyclopedia 1999 CD-ROM, Webster Publishing, Frenchs Forest

Shelley, M., Frankenstein, Aerie, USA

Boyd, S., 1984 York notes on Frankenstein, Longman Group, Essex

Griffith University Faculty 1999, Romanticism And Modern Culture Study Guide, Griffith University

Griffith University Faculty 1999, Romanticism And Modern Culture Readings Booklet, Griffith University


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

This essay is 100% guaranteed.

Title Length Color Rating  
Essay on The Myth of Prometheus and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein - The story of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is similar to that of a Greek tragedy and namely the myth of the titan, Prometheus. The characters as well as the plot are all similar between the two stories. Many have argued that Frankenstein is based on the Prometheus myth. I will attempt to show that there are many different parts of Frankenstein that are remarkably similar to the myth and draw a comparison between the two stories. The story of Prometheus is similar in many ways to that of Frankenstein....   [tags: Frankenstein 2014]
:: 2 Works Cited
1300 words
(3.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Myth of Prometheus in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Essay - Knowledge is a distinctively human virtue. After all, if not for the want of human beings to learn of and master our habitat, would we not still be counted among the beasts. For all of the good that knowledge brings to us, however, knowledge can just as easily bring pain. We discover new types of medicine to extend our lives, but that is balanced by our awareness of our mortality. We find new advances in technology with which to bring convenience into our lives, but those advances are countered by the resulting pollutions that are poisoning our world....   [tags: Frankenstein 2014]
:: 12 Works Cited
2900 words
(8.3 pages)
Research Papers [preview]
Essay about From Myth to Fable: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - By giving “Frankenstein” the subtitle “The Modern Prometheus”, Mary Shelley made a connection between a central character of her 19th century novel and a titan from Greek mythology. Prometheus was employed by the Olympian gods in the process of creating men, and is known for stealing the element of fire from them for the benefit of mankind (Hunt). The myth about him appeared in many legends and fables prior to its reincarnation in the story about Victor Frankenstein, a science student who created a being by reviving dead matter using electricity (Atsma)....   [tags: modern prometheus, myths, fable]
:: 7 Works Cited
952 words
(2.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on Comparing Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and the Prometheus Myth - Comparing Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and the Prometheus Myth Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is subtitled "The Modern Prometheus", and rightfully so. Prometheus, the Titan of Greek mythology that created man and gave them fire, is a fitting symbol for Victor Frankenstein, the man who created a "monster" and gave him life. The most obvious aspect of the similarity between Frankenstein and the Prometheus myth is the underlying theme - both stories deal with ill-fated actions with tragic consequences....   [tags: Comparison Compare Contrast Essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
2181 words
(6.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Mary Shelley's The Modern Prometheus or Frankenstein Essay - Mary Shelley originally intended to title her novel “The Modern Prometheus”. She ended up changing it to Frankenstein in the second publication. “The Modern Prometheus” was kept as an additional title, but Shelley separated it by “or”. From the start of the novel, the additional title foreshadows Shelley’s connection of Frankenstein to the myth of Prometheus. The many parallels between Mary Shelly’s novel Frankenstein and the Greek creation myth of Prometheus become apparent through both plot and the paternal relationships of the characters in the book....   [tags: monster, zeus, myth]
:: 1 Works Cited
1071 words
(3.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Mary Shelley´s Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus, an Analysis of the Subtitle - ... Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley being the daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin was, as a matter of course, part of the educated class and as a consequence aware of diverse scientists4. Shelley’s inspiration to write “Frankenstein” may have been triggered during an excursion with her Husband. In 1817 Mary and Percy Shelley visited Castle Frankenstein, on the Rhine, where they heard a story about a resident who lived 100 years ago. It seemed that he was a scientist5 and has tried, by using alchemy, to bring corpses back to life....   [tags: greek myth, victor]
:: 8 Works Cited
1215 words
(3.5 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Essay about Review of Mary Shelley's Frankeinstein - Frankenstein is a Romantic Horror novel written by Mary Shelley. Originally published in 1818, a revised version was also published in 1831. As a Romantic novel, Frankenstein is very emotional and addresses the connection between man and nature. This nightmarish tale was the result of a friendly challenge between Shelley, Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and Claire Clairmont to see who could compose the most horrifying ghost story. Shelley won after conceiving the idea of Frankenstein after experiencing a dream....   [tags: Mary Shelley Frankenstein] 1033 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Analysis of Volume 1 Chapter 5 of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Essays - Analysis of Volume 1 Chapter 5 of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley This passage is set at a point in the story where Dr. Victor Frankenstein is creating and making his first descriptions of the monster. Frankenstein at this time has been driven to work more and more to complete his aim, making him seem madly obsessed with his work. During this passage, the Dr. and the monster are constantly described in the same ways, “how delineate the wretch”: the monster “I passed the night wretchedly”: Frankenstein This could show how the monster is being conveyed as the Dr’s doppelganger, of the reflection of his subconscious....   [tags: Frankenstein Mary Shelley Essays] 730 words
(2.1 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Essay - Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" In order to illustrate the main theme of her novel “Frankenstein”, Mary Shelly draws strongly on the myth of Prometheus, as the subtitle The Modern Prometheus indicates. Maurice Hindle, in his critical study of the novel, suggests, “the primary theme of Frankenstein is what happens to human sympathies and relationships when men seek obsessively to satisfy their Promethean longings to “conquer the unknown” - supposedly in the service of their fellow-humans”. This assertion is discussed by first describing the Promethean connection....   [tags: Frankenstein Shelley Essays]
:: 6 Works Cited
1322 words
(3.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Gothic Theme in Chapter 5 of Frankenstein Essay - Gothic Horror has been described as “delightful horror”. Focusing on Chapter 5 of Frankenstein, how has Shelley used the Gothic Genre to explore deeper issues. The term ‘Gothic’ conjures a range of possible meanings, definitions and associations. It explicitly denotes certain historical and cultural phenomena. Gothicism was part of the Romantic Movement that started in the eighteenth century and lasted about three decades into the nineteenth century. For this essay, the definition of Gothic that is applicable is: An 18th century literary style characterized by gloom and the supernatural....   [tags: Mary Shelley] 1554 words
(4.4 pages)
Better Essays [preview]