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Frankenstein Topics Essays

  • 1

    Discuss similarities between Frankenstein's monster and the text of the novel as a whole.

    Both the monster and the text of the novel are objects that have been created by salvaging older materials. In the case of the monster, Frankenstein built his body out of dead body parts; he also learned how to think, read, and speak from old literary texts. Similarly, the overall text is held together by references and allusions to various poems and literary works. As such, we see that both objects are something new that have been synthesized from a collection of old components.

  • 2

    How might the novel be read as a commentary on scientific progress?

    Frankenstein, a young scientist filled with ambition, becomes obsessed with the possibility to create life -- something that science has yet to accomplish. Ultimately, he is able to do so; through this act, he achieves what we would typically conceive of as 'scientific progress', because he has expanded the scope of what science allows humanity to do. However, this act of 'progress' has almost entirely negative consequences: the monster subsumes the entirety of Frankenstein's life, murders innocents, and achieves no perceptible good for society. One might say, therefore, that the novel reflects a thesis that not all potential scientific advancements are progressive of necessity.

  • 3

    What relation does the novel's alternate title, The Modern Prometheus,bear to the story?

    Frankenstein is a Promethean analogue: just as Prometheus stole fire from the gods, so too did Frankenstein 'steal' from the domain of nature by learning the secret to create life by himself. Just as the gods for this crime punished Prometheus, Frankenstein receives nothing but misery from his creation, and ultimately dies in an attempt to destroy what he made. In this way, Shelley's novel really is a modern retelling of the Prometheus myth.

  • 4

    What does the novel gain from having so many levels of narration? Why do you suppose it might have been structured with so many embedded narratives?

    One noteworthy aspect that this structure affords the novel is that it adds to the parallelism between the monster and overall text. The novel is a patchwork of various perspectives and testimony, be they various narrators or the voices conveyed through various letters. This makes the overall narrative a dubious patchwork of the experiences of different people, similarly to the way in which the monster's body is literally composed of parts of many different deceased people.

    This structure also creates a deep sense of irony within the text. It is a text overtly concerned with scientific standards of proof; however, the multiple narrators and secondhand information directly undercut the degree to which the reader has grounds to believe the narrative. Like the moral sphere of the narrative's events, this is a puzzle that the novel compels the reader to resolve.

  • 5

    Do you think that the monster has free will? Provide textual examples in support of your claim.

    [Multiple answers can be argued. This is merely one example.]

    Assuming the truth of Frankenstein's testimony, the monster does not have free will. Frankenstein says that "the stages of the discovery [with respect to learning how to give life to inanimate tissue] were distinct and probable," which implies that there was explicit scientific grounding for every aspect of the creation process (Volume I, Chapter 4). If we take this claim seriously, then we can plausibly infer that the underlying mechanisms of the monster's brain and body were entirely designed by Frankenstein -- whether or not Frankenstein was consciously aware of the ramifications of his design. With regards to the creatures mind, we know that the majority of his sentiments and schemas of thought were coopted from the three books by which he learned how to read -- Paradise Lost, Plutarch's Lives, and The Sorrows of Werter. We therefore have plausible grounds to claim that external forces ultimately determine all aspects of the monster’s behavior.

  • + All Victor Frankenstein Essays:

    • Victor Hugo- Styles and Themes
    • Victor Brand
    • Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
    • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Bram Stoker’s Dracula
    • Appearance and Acceptance in Frankenstein and the Modern World
    • How Successfully Do Walton's Letters Introduce the Central Themes and Concerns of the Novel "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley?
    • The Reanimated Monster of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
    • Frankenstein: Abandonment, Loneliness, and Rejection
    • Nature vs Nurture in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
    • Frankenstein and True Blood: Discovering the Gothic
    • Science, Technology, and Morality as Perceived in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
    • English Romanticism's Influences on the Works of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
    • Comparing The Sandman and Frankenstein
    • Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
    • Frankenstein and the Sorrows of Young Werther, Mary Shelley
    • Frankenstein - Ideologies of Fire as Knowledge and Creation
    • Frankenstein vs Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde
    • Rousseau's Philosophy in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
    • Frankenstein- Acquirement of Knowledge
    • Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Employs Typical Features of the Gothic Tradition
    • The Function of Monstrosity in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
    • "Frankenstein": The Modern Prometheus, Boldly Creative
    • Cruelty of Society in Frankenstein, Master Harold, and An Enemy of the People
    • Frankenstein
    • Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Satanic-Promethean Ideals
    • The Danger of Knowledge (Comparative essay Frankenstein vs Macbeth
    • Chapter five is a very important part of Frankenstein because it best
    • The Character of the Monster inFrankenstein
    • Character Development in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
    • outline on Frankenstein
    • The Theme of Nature Versus Nurture in Shelly's Frankenstein
    • Knowledge in Shelly’s Frankenstein
    • Three Tragic Heroes in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
    • Mary Shelley's Frankenstein - Societal Prejudices
    • Analysis of Chapter 5 of Frankenstein
    • The Road to Despair: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
    • An examination of Patriarchy in Mary Shelly's Frankenstein.
    • Wish Fulfillment in Mary Shelly's Gothic Novel, Frankenstein
    • Psycho-Analysis in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
    • A Hero of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
    • The Concepts of Creation and Nurture in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
    • Is Human Cloning Another Frankenstein?
    • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
    • Frankenstein by Mary Shelly and the Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Comparritive Essay
    • Life, Death, and Frankenstein
    • Science, Morality and Responsibility in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
    • The Myth of Prometheus in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
    • Evil in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
    • A Comparison of Vistor Frankenstein and Henry Jekyll
    • How Does the Language in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Reflect its Gothic Genre
    • Walton’s Letters in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
    • Compare and Contrast the Narrators in Gulliver's Travels and Frankenstein, the Narrative Methods, and the Effects of These Different Ways of Telling a Story in Gulliver's Travels and Frankenstein.
    • Friendship in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
    • Frankenstein, Community, and the Individual
    • Frankenstein and Araby
    • Homosexuality and Misogyny in Frankenstein
    • Frankenstein - Every One Needs a Family
    • The Tragic Story of Victor Hugo
    • Elizabeth as a Typical Victorian Woman in Frankenstein
    • Critical Analysis of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein'
    • Victor's Destruction in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
    • Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
    • The Theme of Loneliness in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
    • Identity in Mary Shelly's Frankenstein
    • Ethical Issues in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
    • Defeats but not Defeated in "The Parrot in the Oven" by Victor Martinez
    • How Does Mary Shelley Create Tension in Chapter 5 of 'Frankenstein'?
    • Genetic Engineering and Cryonic Freezing: A Modern Frankenstein?
    • Mary Shelley's Frankenstein as a Tale of a Struggle Between Good and Evil
    • Social Ostracisation Within Frankenstein
    • Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and the Internet
    • The Real Monster in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
    • The Fire-Stealer: A Study of Robert Walton in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
    • The Theme of Appearance in Frankenstein
    • Mary Shelley´s Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus, an Analysis of the Subtitle
    • Discuss the Significance of Father Figures in Frankenstein