How does the symbol of fire (or possibly light too) function throughout "Frankenstein"? Quotes are great too!
If you can help trace it also... such as when the monster makes the fire for himself in the woods, burns down the cottage, and then at the end where he wants to be torn to flames (last paragraphs he mentions fire).
and what does this come to teach us/ show...
In the beginning, Robert Walton speaks, "What could not be expected in a country of eternal light?" As the book begins and ends in the Arctic (land of eternal light), the light symbolzies knowledge into the dark and hidden things, especially in science. Victor is shining a light on these esoteric areas, bringing into the light the hidden mysteries of alchemy.
Light can also symbolize life. Victor is bringing life from death, attempting to banish dark and death permanently from the human experience.
Fire is also symbolic of knowledge. The subtitle, "A Modern Prometheus" refers to the myth of Prometheus, the Titan god who gave fire to man. With this gift, man is able to create civilization. In other words, with fire man becomes a creator, much as Victor becomes as he creates his creature.
Yet, as Walton's "land of eternal light" can also be the "land of eternal night," light is replaced by darkness, and fire can destroy. Prometheus paid the ultimate price for giving man fire, and Victor also must give up his life and peace.
The dual nature of fire especially is significant to Frankenstein. Victor had intended (like Promtheus) to benefit mankind by banishing the darkness and cold of death. Yet instead, he brought about his own death, as Prometheus was chained to the mountain to be eaten eternally by eagles. As Prometheus has stolen fire from the gods, Victor has stolen a power that is not given to man.