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The Incorporation of Adam and Eve’s Story in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

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Throughout Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the parallel connection to Adam and Eve’s story from Genesis is incorporated to emphasize the negative aspects of the main protagonist in the novel, Dr. Victor Frankenstein. Integrating comparisons between the main protagonists in the book of Genesis, readers are able to draw the assumption that Victor is the cause of his own downfall, and that would have consequences- as it did with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God can easily be compared to the philosophers that Professor Waldman discussed in his class, whom believed that they were capable of creating and/ or controlling the sublime of nature.

The tree of knowledge is proportionate to the experiences and understanding that Dr. Frankenstein acquires throughout the novel. The forbidden fruit that the tree bears is the establishment of the monster that Victor created. In different scenarios, one could compare Satan to both the Creature – who did not perform as his creator originally established him to, and to Professor Waldman – whom indirectly inveigled Victor to create the Creature. The role of Eve was reenacted by Victor in Frankenstein, because Victor “ate the forbidden fruit” by attempting to be a creator and compose another form of life that he would be responsible for, going against nature and God. In this essay the comparisons between the story of Adam and Eve help to emphasize Mary Shelley’s theme of the use of knowledge for positive and/ or negative purposes and the rehabilitative powers that the sublime of nature has. Not only does Shelley introduce different themes throughout her novel, but her parallelism leads readers to ponder who truly was the “monster” in the novel, Victor or the Creature?

Mary Shelley’s incorporation of Genesis within Frankenstein is essentially to ensure that readers fully comprehend the parallel between the sublime of nature and the consequences that one can attain from attempting to misconstrue it. In Genesis, Eve is the first person to consume the forbidden fruit, and it completely changed her and Adam’s life. The parallel to this instance is evident in Frankenstein after Victor receives his letter from Elizabeth in which she conveys her adoration for him and her concern that he no longer wants marry her after the previous series of unfortunate events in the novel. The only thing that Victor contemplates when regarding marriage is the monster’s threat in Chapter 20 of Frankenstein, in which the creature promised to “be with Victor on his wedding night” if he does not create a wife for him. As Victor began deliberating the actions that the creature could perform, he “read and re-read Elizabeth’s letter, and some softened feelings stole into his heart, and dared to whisper paradisiacal dreams of love and joy; but the apple was already eaten, and the angel’s arm bared to drive me from all hope”. At this point in the novel, Victor has gotten ill from the events that have been direct results of his actions, such as Justine, William and Henry Clerval’s death but he still struggles in dealing with the guilt for all of the murders. The parallel to Genesis from the quote on page 162 is, “the apple was already eaten”, which clearly exhibits that fate has already been made after the creature was created and now Victor will have to deal with all of the pain and suffering that he formed.

In the book of Genesis, Eve is the first person to eat the apple, which is why Victor is easily comparable to her in Frankenstein. Just as Eve was tempted by the forbidden fruit, Victor felt tempted by Professor Waldman’s thoughts about the philosophers he taught about- making Waldman quite comparable to the serpent in the Adam and Eve story. Waldman manifests to be much like the serpent that tempted Eve as he postulates to Victor, “But these philosophers, they penetrate into the recesses of the heavens: they discovered how blood circulates, and the nature of the air we breathe. They have acquired new and almost unlimited powers; they can command the thunders of heaven, mimic the earthquake, and even mock the invisible world with its own shadows”. Like Eve, who ate the apple from the tree of knowledge because the serpent tempted her, Victor attempted to create a new life form because the Professor tempted him. Both Eve and Victor reap punishments in their stories, developing questions about who and what Victor truly represents in Frankenstein. Just as Victor aspires to become a philosopher, Eve desperately longed to attain all of God’s knowledge, and both are punished for these desires.

In the novel, Victor is a parallel of Eve – an apprehensive human being persisting to acquire knowledge that they are not ready for and this is when the creature is viewed as the fruit on the tree of knowledge. The monster was created with selfish intent, so that Victor would be known as the man with higher knowledge than any famous philosopher or creator known in the world. The creature was described as having “yellow skin scarcely covering the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, shriveled complexion and straight black lips”. The creature’s physical structure and appearance made it inevitable for society to do anything but live in fear of him, even though it possessed a big heart and did not purposefully mean to cause ruination to the community. The monster is viewed as blameless when he talks of the cottagers he wanted to have a relationship with, stating that, he “had been accustomed during the night, to steal a part of their store for his own consumption; but when he found that in doing this he inflicted pain on the cottagers, he abstained, and satisfied himself with berries, nuts, and roots…”. The creature is as faultless as the forbidden fruit from the tree, and instead of the creature, it is really Victor whom should be feeling guilt for all of the horrendous events in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

As analyzed in this essay, Mary Shelley’s incorporation of Adam and Eve’s story from Genesis allows readers to view the main characters in Frankenstein in a different limelight. The inter-textual reference and parallels between these two stories help readers understand the repercussions of trying to be superior over nature and “God’s creations”, and also sheds light on who is truly guilty in Frankenstein. Readers are capable of understanding that the creature truly was faultless and that all of the problems that occurred were a direct repercussion of Victor’s mistakes. In Genesis, it is anything but difficult to state that Eve is to blame for eating the apple and that the apple, a lifeless thing is clearly guiltless. In a more convoluted story, for example, this one, those things are not as effectively recognized, but rather through examination they can be set up. Shelley is candidly capable of exhibiting the consequences of using knowledge that one attains for negative purposes by using the collateral of Genesis to her novel.

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The Incorporation Of Adam And Eve’s Story In Frankenstein By Mary Shelley. (2021, January 25). GradesFixer. Retrieved November 30, 2021, from
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