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1818, Mary Shelley
Novel; Gothic Fiction, Horror Fiction, Science Fiction, Romance Novel, Soft Science Fiction
Victor Frankenstein, the monster, Robert Walton, Alphonse Frankenstein, Elizabeth Lavenza, Henry Clerval, William Frankenstein, Justine Moritz, Caroline Beaufort, Beaufort, Peasants, M. Waldman, M. Krempe, Mr. Kirwin
Shelley has been influenced by her parents, especially her father's "Enquiry Concerning Political Justice" and "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman". It also included ideas of galvanism, which have been extremely popular during the time the novel has been written.
Light and darkness, good and evil, fire, isolation, anger, unorthodox approach.
It has been the main theme of reanimating the dead, which became the pioneering theme in literary works, yet the most important and symbolic importance of this novel is the interaction between the scientist Victor Frankenstein and the nameless creature that he has brought to life. It can be summed up with the words of the monster: "I was benevolent and good, misery made me a fiend" (Shelley 90). It speaks of Victor's creating the being, yet it was the society that has created the monster.
The novel tells a story of a gifted scientist called Victor Frankenstein who manages to bring life to his own creation. The challenge is that his creation is not exactly what he has imagined. As a monster creature, he is rejected by his creator and mankind in general. The main idea is to see and explore regarding who the true monster is.
Mary Shelley was only 18 years old when she started Frankenstein. She was 20 years old when the book was published.
The Frankenstein has been written in the shadow of a tragedy as Shelley has lost her newborn daughter.
The most common misconception is that Frankenstein is the name of the monster, which has already become symbolic all over the world. In truth, the monster has no name at all.
Frankenstein word comes from the name of the German castle not far from the Rhine River, literally meaning "Stone of the Franks''. It was the place where an odd alchemist called Konrad Dippel has tried to create an elixir of immortality.
It was thought that it was Mary's father Percy Shelley who wrote the book since he also wrote the preface.
The book has not been accepted by the critics and was called "absurd" and "disgusting"
The full name of the book is Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus.
“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.”
“Life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend it.”
“I do know that for the sympathy of one living being, I would make peace with all. I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.”
“Even broken in spirit as he is, no one can feel more deeply than he does the beauties of nature. The starry sky, the sea, and every sight afforded by these wonderful regions, seems still to have the power of elevating his soul from earth. Such a man has a double existence: he may suffer misery, and be overwhelmed by disappointments; yet, when he has retired into himself, he will be like a celestial spirit that has a halo around him, within whose circle no grief or folly ventures.”
“How mutable are our feelings, and how strange is that clinging love we have of life even in the excess of misery!”
Although the story has been written a long time ago, it is still clear for contemporary readers because it can be related to scientific advancements, human relations, and AI. In a certain sense, it is the beginning of scientific fiction and the subject of "playing God". Mary Shelley's book is a warning to humanity and the scientists about responsibility with the main message being that science and technology can go way too far beyond the limitations. It proves that human beings must believe in the sanctity of our own being.
This book represents an essay topic for numerous academic fields from Data Science to Nursing and Education. Since it deals with ethics, responsibility, and being conscious about one's creations, it acts as the symbolic reflection of being the monster that we fear. The life of Victor Frankenstein is an example of scientists through decades, different countries and fields. It is a great warning for us all that we should not go too far.
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7. Ginn, S. R. (2013). Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Exploring neuroscience, nature, and nurture in the novel and the films. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/B9780444632876000099 Progress in Brain Research, 204, 169-190.
8. Holmes, R. (2016). Science fiction: The science that fed Frankenstein. https://www.nature.com/articles/535490a
9. Barns, I. (1990). Monstrous nature or technology?: Cinematic resolutions of the ‘Frankenstein Problem’. Science as Culture, 1(9), 7-48. (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09505439009526278?journalCode=csac20)
10. Brooks, P. (1978). Godlike Science/Unhallowed Arts: Language and Monstrosity in Frankenstein. New Literary History, 9(3), 591-605. (https://www.jstor.org/stable/468457)