Can we relate "Frankenstein" with "Faustus"?

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amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yes, I think we can.  Faustus is the story of the typical "deal with the devil," and there are many Faustian stories including "The Devil and Tom Walker" from which to choose.

While Frankenstein the scientist did not willingly or consciously make a deal with the devil, he is attempting to play God and meddle in areas of life and death where humans probably shouldn't tread.  At least this is the message that Mary Shelley is attempting to get across to her readers. 

Frankenstein first attempts to reanimate life in order to save people from dying like his mother did in the book.  He felt that people shouldn't have to suffer from loss to a "simple" death.  Science could conquer this fear and human frailty.  So, he creates the creature and then promptly becomes horrified and runs away abandoning the creature to his own resources.

Later, he does agree to build a female companion for the creature in return for a verbal contract that the two creatures would retreat to uninhabitable country living on berries and twigs.  Halfway through the building of the second creature, Frankenstein renigs on his promise and throws the materials into the lake.  The creature then wails loudly and vows to be with Frankenstein on his wedding night to seek revenge for the scientist's thwarting any possibility of future happiness for the creature.

If you want to count the creature as a devil figure, that last deal could be Faustian in nature.