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'Frankenstein is full of ideas and warnings which are relevant to a modern audience.' -Discuss the enduring appeal of the novel.

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Introduction

PRE-1914 PROSE ENGLISH COURSEWORK FRANKENSTEIN 'Frankenstein is full of ideas and warnings which are relevant to a modern audience.' -Discuss the enduring appeal of the novel. Introduction: Despite being over a century old, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein has continued to hold public interest for nearly two hundred years. The novel was published 1818 and is one of the most acclaimed gothic stories in the history of literature. It has remained a firm favourite with audiences of the past and present, and has been adapted and re-told many times through various different kinds of media, for example; radio programmes, theatre, art, children's comic books and cartoons, television and film versions. Shelley, daughter of one of the first feminist thinkers of the age, Mary Wollstonecraft, came from a well educated background, of the artistic and intellectual elite of the time. However, she grew up in most unusual circumstances; her parents never married (which was frowned upon) and she herself went on to have children (out of wedlock) with the famous English poet Percy Shelley. The idea for Frankenstein developed when Lord Byron, Shelley, Mary came together in the summer of 1816 in Geneva. On a fateful day, they were confined indoors due to rain. Byron came up with the idea that each of them should write a ghost story to pass time. It is thought she took many ideas from Percy Shelley's 'Prometheus Unbound' and most of Frankenstein became based on the limitations of being a human being. Mary Shelley alone succeeded in creating a story that would later become one of the most famous of all time. In the preface to Frankenstein, Mary Shelley states that the book was conceived in a dream in which she saw a "pale student of unhallowed arts putting together the hideous phantasm of a man." She writes, "the idea so possessed my mind that a thrill of fear ran through me, and I wished to exchange the ghastly image of my fancy for the 'realities around'." ...read more.

Middle

Also when telling his story to Capt. Walton he constantly reflects on what has happened, thinking about the consequences of his actions, and the consequences and implications that have resulted from his taking science too far. 'Learn from me....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.' Whilst telling his story to Capt. Walton, Victor talks of how his excitement and exhilaration at the prospect of reanimating the dead took over, and how he viewed himself as almost God-like: 'A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me.' Shelley plays around with the idea that Victor is 'playing God' in the title; 'Frankenstein- A modern Prometheus,' referring to the mythological Greek tale of Prometheus, son of Zeus, whose job it was to create life. Prometheus felt sorry for the primitive mortals on the earth, so he stole fire from Zeus to give to them. As a consequence he was punished by Zeus, who had him shackled to the side of a mountain. Each day, Prometheus would be tormented by Zeus' eagle as it tore at his immortal flesh and tried to devour his liver. Each night the torn flesh would mend so the eagle could begin anew at the first touch of dawn. This myth relates to Frankenstein, although loosely, it carries the same warning that Frankenstein also carries: if you interfere with the path of nature, bad things will happen to you. Whilst he is telling his story, Victor tells us that he had his doubts beforehand, however his ambition and thirst for knowledge quickly took over. '..I doubted at first whether I should attempt the creation of a being like myself...but my imagination was too much exalted...to permit me to doubt of my ability to give life to an animal as complex and as wonderful as man.' ...read more.

Conclusion

Shall I respect man when he condemns me? Let him live with me in an interchange of kindness; and, instead of injury I would bestow every benefit upon him with tears of gratitude at his acceptance...' The heated discussion continues, with Victor hurling abuse at his creation, using words like 'vile insect,' 'abhorred monster,' 'wretched devil,' whilst the monster protests, and, expressing his feeling of loneliness, begs Frankenstein to create a bride for him, so that he may not be alone for all of eternity. At the end of the story, when Frankenstein has died, the creature boards the ship intent on taking his final revenge, but is overcome with grief and remorse upon finding Frankenstein dead, having lost the only family he has ever known. Capt. Walton returns to the room in which the body lies, and is startled to see the monster weeping over Victor. The monster tells Walton of his immense solitude, suffering, hatred, and remorse. He asserts now that his creator has died, he too can end his suffering. The monster then departs for the northernmost ice to die. Much of the 'bad parenting' issue in Frankenstein relates to modern times. There are growing numbers of children from single parent backgrounds where, for certain reasons, they have been abandoned by one or both of their parents. In today's society, it is more commonly the case of fathers abandoning their children very young. There is a significant pattern between the numbers of children who are raised without one or both of their parents and the numbers of children who turn to crime. The tale of Frankenstein's monster relates to this in the same way: he was left to raise himself, having been abandoned by Frankenstein, and murdered several people throughout the story, having not been taught right from wrong. Had Frankenstein been there for the monster and not rejected him from the very beginning, things may not have turned out in the way they did. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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