How is <i>Frankenstein</i> a <i>modern prometheus</i>?


Published in Daily Trivia

The Modern Prometheus is the novel's subtitle. Prometheus, in some versions of Greek mythology, was the Titan who created mankind, and Victor's work by creating man by new means obviously reflects that creative work. Prometheus was also the bringer of fire who took fire from heaven and gave it to man. Zeus then punished Prometheus by fixing him to a rock where each day a predatory bird came to devour his liver. Prometheus was also a myth told in Latin but was a very different story. In this version Prometheus makes man from clay and water, again a very relevant theme to Frankenstein as Victor rebels against the laws of nature and as a result is punished by his creation. For Mary Shelley on a personal level, Prometheus was not a hero but a devil, whom she blamed for bringing fire to man and thereby seducing the human race to the vice of eating meat. For Romance era artists in general, Prometheus' gift to man compared with the two great utopian promises of the 18th century: the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution, containing both great promise and potentially unknown horrors.





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