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How are Victor's monster and Prometheus different?

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kinsey136 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 13, 2010 at 9:26 AM via web

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How are Victor's monster and Prometheus different?

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drrb | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted February 13, 2010 at 10:25 AM (Answer #1)

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Victor Frankenstein is the main character of Mary Shelley’s gothic tale Frankenstein. He is a young student steeped in the mysteries of science.He describes his explorations into the unknown through his obsession to create life from the dead . He produces a great monster which is bent on taking revenge. Perhaps, since Percy Shelley allegedly aided in the writing of Frankenstein, he may have been attempting to allegorize the ever-growing liver as a symbol of the Monster's immortality, meaning that the Monster, like Prometheus's liver, can never die and is eternally damned . Prometheus of Shelley is also eternally damned  by Zeus.

Mary Shelley included "The Modern Prometheus" as part of her title for the novel  and she attempts to compare Victor Frankenstein with Prometheus .

Prometheus was Greek God who breathed life into man and brought fire to earth after stealing it from Mount Olympus. Two years after the publication of Frankenstein , Shelley wrote Prometheus Unbound. There is the same obsession in Prometheus to create life by stealing fire from the storehouse of Zeus.He resembles Frankenstein’s Monster in many ways. He created life , stole and got punished for what he did. Both are clever deities. He enlightened man.

Victor attempts to explore in the field of life and death bypassing the tradition of scientific research. Like Frankenstein , Victor continues to read because he wants to penetrate the secrets of nature. He wants to bring human knowledge to a higher level. In a similar manner the Prometheus of Shelley also tries to enlighten human beings.Both are rebellious and innovative. Both are rebels against the authority and the institutions. Both are in this sense romantic in their new thoughts.

Dr.Ratan Bhattacharjee

India

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 14, 2010 at 5:05 AM (Answer #2)

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The usual comparison is between Victor and Prometheus since both of them "create" life and presumably anger "god" by doing so.  However, there are some comparison points between the Monster of Frankenstein and Prometheus.  The previous post lists some similarities--here are some differences:

1. At first, the Monster did not have a choice in being brought to life or being abandoned by Victor; so he does not choose to anger God. In contrast, Prometheus willingly defies Zeus even after asking if he could give fire to the men he had created.

2. The Monster desperately wants to have a relationship with his creator/father.  Prometheus does not seem to care about having a relationship with Zeus.

3. The Monster kills humans; Prometheus creates them and longs to make life better for them (by giving them fire and teaching them skills).

4. In the end, the Monster implies to Walton that he is going to commit suicide by burning himself on a funeral pyre (ironic if one considers that Prometheus gives fire to man). Prometheus cannot die but most likely would not commit suicide if he could.  He is eventually rescued from his chains and seems to show no remorse for his rebellion.  The Monster, on the other hand, is devastated when he finds Victor dead on Walton's ship and tries to explain why he committed such heinous acts before he leaves to kill himself.

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