Frankenstein Theme Essay

Many of the themes present debateable issues, and Shelley's thoughts on them.

Three of the most important themes in the novel are birth and creation; alienation; and the family and the domestic affections.

Clearly, Victor Frankenstein is this modern Prometheus-in a way, he stole the idea of creation from God and used it for his own ill-advised purposes.

A second theme stresses the idea of human injustice towards outsiders.

Yet the monster's alienation from society, his unfulfilled desire for a companion with whom to share his life, and his ongoing struggle for revenge, are all shared by his creator.

As the story develops, Victor becomes increasingly like his creation.Shelley details this theme in her book, making an allusion to the counter-humanist idea in chapter four when Victor warns Walton not to follow in his footsteps, saying, Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge, and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow.Indeed, to Shelley and many others of her time, some riddles of nature should never be discovered by man.They no longer have a purpose in life, as Victor Frankenstein can now create new life forms - a process which women needed to be involved in previously.An example of women's powerlessness in the novel is the condemnation of Justine for a crime she did not commit.In doing this, Frankenstein has taken over the roles of women and God.Shelley discusses how Frankenstein has used his laboratory or 'workshop of filthy creation' (page 53) as a kind of 'womb' as he has worked on his creation.Even the alternate title, The Modern Prometheus, undeniably relates this point.Prometheus, a figure in Greek mythology, took fire from the gods in order to give it to man and consequently suffered eternal punishment.In Shelley's time, the power of human reason, through science and technology, challenged many traditional precepts about the world and man's relationship with his creator.Yet at the same time, many questioned these humanist notions, stressing the limits of human capacity.


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