Frankenstein, The Modern Prometheus?
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|Frankenstein, The Modern Prometheus?
FRANKENSTEIN, THE MODERN PROMETHEUS?
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. Thereafter, the two forms of the myth, Prometheus the fire-stealer and Prometheus the life-giver are reviewed in the context of Shelly’s use of the myth in her novel and their relationship to the main theme. Finally, the character of Frankenstein as a modern Prometheus of the scientific age is discussed in the context of English Romantic literature.
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