The Myth of Prometheus in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Essay
1192 Words5 Pages
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…show more content…
35 - 39) only lend credence that his ambitions are in no way self motivated. By the next chapter he is completely consumed by his ambition. He no longer sees the beauties of nature and turns his back on the goodness and purity of life, which is symbolised by nature (and is, like the theme of the individual, an important theme in Romanticism), "My cheek had grown pale with study, and my person had become emaciated with confinement" (p. 44) and " The summer months passed while I was thus engaged, heart and soul, in one pursuit... my eyes were insensible to the charms of nature" (p. 45).
Frankenstein is characterised as the modern Prometheus in the subtitle of his novel but Prometheus brought fire and light (civilisation) to his creation and in doing so, turned his back against the gods. He suffered for his sacrifice by being chained to a rock and had his liver eaten by an eagle. For Prometheus and his creation fire was a blessing and enabled humanity to develop and break free of the gods. Like Prometheus, Frankenstein "steals from heaven in attempting to Œpour a torrent of light into our dark world'" (Shelley in Boyd 1984, p. 24) and is punished because of his actions. Shelley also contrasts Frankenstein with the Promethean myth. Her Prometheus brings only suffering into the world, his creation suffers, his family suffers and ultimately, he suffers. Frankenstein's
Essay about Prometheus Unbound
2388 WordsDec 3rd, 200510 Pages
The Quintessential Philosophy of Percy Bysshe Shelley
Three years before his death, Shelley wrote what many consider his masterpiece, Prometheus Unbound. Considering Shelley's rebellious nature, the choice of the authority defying Prometheus as hero is not surprising. For Shelley, Prometheus came to symbolize the mind or soul of man in its highest potential. Two of Shelley's favorite themes lie at the heart of Prometheus Unbound: the external tyranny of rulers, customs, or superstitions is the main enemy, and that inherent human goodness will, eventually, eliminate evil from the world and usher in an eternal reign of transcendent love. It is, perhaps, in Prometheus Unbound that Shelley most completely expresses…show more content…
The work not only describes transformation of the world but also seeks to create the environment that will allow reform to occur. Since each person's heart and mind must change before the world experiences regeneration, Shelley attempts to move as well as educate in his lyric drama - prose could accomplish only the later.
The ostensibly dramatic form of Prometheus Unbound, however, suggests a different radical of presentation: one in which the poet is absent and the audience observes the characters speaking and acting in relation to one another. Characters can talk of silence as an attribute of an object in the same way the lyric speaker can attribute silent qualities to an object of meditation, but in the dramatic medium, silence is also given an added dimension as an aspect of character interaction; it can be depicted through dramatic representations of indirect modes of communication used between characters. Throughout Prometheus Unbound, a silent discourse based on thought, feeling and dreams becomes the essence of signification. Representing such nonverbal discourse in writing or speech, however, can only be achieved by violating silence, and particularly in the dramatic medium.
Yet in Prometheus Unbound Shelley achieves some compromise in this linguistic paradox - the paradox that language negates silence in articulating it - by classifying his work as a "lyrical drama." As Tilottama Rajan points out,