How to compare Frankenstein (1931) the movie to the Prometheus myth?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The 1931 movie version of Frankenstein was based rather loosely on the novel by Mary Shelley which was titled Frankenstein with the subtitle of "The Modern Prometheus." Prometheus in the Greek myth was punished by Zeus for creating humans and giving them the gift of fire. The subtitle to the novel is intended to suggest that Victor Frankenstein is being punished for a comparable crime against the gods. He wanted to create human life. One big difference between the movie and the novel is that the monster in the movie is much more inhuman- and horrible-looking that the monster in the novel. The monster played by Boris Karloff is inarticulate; he can only growl and groan and occasionally come out with a single word. The monster in the novel is quite articulate. But the moral is the same in both the novel and the movie: the gods will punish anyone who does not display proper humility. In both the movie and the novel, Victor Frankenstein is punished by his own creation.


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