Frankenstein Questions and Answers
by Mary Shelley

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In the opening letters of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, the stranger tells Walton, "My fate is nearly fulfilled... nothing can alter my destiny: listen to my history, and you will perceive how irrevocably it is determined." Relate this to the story of the Ancient Mariner (Coleridge).

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" illustrates what happens when mankind fails to recognize the importance of nature. Essentially, because he refuses to see the ultimate power of nature, the Mariner must live a life paying for his mistakes. As the result of killing the albatross, the Mariner's fate is to tell his story to all who will listen in order to insure they do not make the same mistakes in life. The wedding guest is...

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The main character of Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner kills the albatross, imposing human dominance over nature and upsetting the hierarchy of the natural world. Victor Frankenstein, who has not yet been identified as the stranger at this point in the story, has committed a similar offense by creating the creature and challenging the natural, perhaps even divine, process of creation.

This moment, when the stranger stops Walton and bids him to listen to his tale, is reminiscent of the moment when the mariner stops the wedding guest and beckons him to listen to his history as well.

Furthermore, the histories of both the mariner and Victor Frankenstein document the tragic consequences that they both paid for their reckless actions. Victor Frankenstein's entire family is killed by the creature. The mariner too must watch his entire crew die before he is able to return home.