Biblical Allusions In Frankenstein

What are some biblical allusions in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There are two main biblical allusions found in Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein. The first allusion is found in chapter four of the novel and the second found in chapter fifteen.

In chapter four, Victor is defining the importance of his success in re-animating life. For Victor, the re-animation...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

There are two main biblical allusions found in Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein. The first allusion is found in chapter four of the novel and the second found in chapter fifteen.

In chapter four, Victor is defining the importance of his success in re-animating life. For Victor, the re-animation of life insures that he will be blessed as a "creator and source." Essentially, Victor defines himself as a god. Given Christian ideology supports and believes God to be the only one who is able to create life (outside of giving birth), Victor sets himself up as a god. This, more specifically, speaks to Genesis and the creation of the earth and life on earth.

Chapter fifteen, on the other hand, offers a far more direct allusion to the Bible. In this chapter, the Creature is telling of his own history. Upon reading Milton's Paradise Lost, the Creature realizes that he is like both Adam and Satan. The Creature states that his is like Adam because there was "no link to any other being in existence." Also, the Creature likens himself to Satan in regards to the fact that "for often, like him, when I viewed the bliss of my protectors, the bitter gall of envy rose within me."

In one abstract sense, one could regard Victor's initial creature as "Adam" and the Creature's mate as "Eve." While never called "Eve," one could see the allusion to both beings in the novel.

Another aspect which proves to show biblical allusions is Victor and Walton’s search for forbidden knowledge. This speaks to Adam and Eve’s taking from the Tree of Knowledge which God forbid them to do. For this, Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden. Coincidentally, both Victor and Walton are on a similar path. Luckily for Walton, Victor has already been “banished” for taking from the “tree.” Therefore, while Victor must face his consequences, he is able to save Walton from doing so as well.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team