What comparison can be established among the romance in subject and the Faustus of Marlowe?

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sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Critics agree that Shelley took her inspiration for Frankenstein from the Marlowe's play.  Both the protagonists are scholars, and both have "magical" powers - and they both suffer for those powers.

In theme, the two stories center around these two themes:  knowledge vs. ignorance and repentance.  Faust and Victor are both arrogant to begin with.  Their arrogance stems from the possession of superior knowledge.  This leads them to  make choices and deal with situations that they believe - with their intelligence - they can control.  They fail to accept their own limitations and suffer as a result of it.  Had they been more ignorant, had they failed to see the possibilities or to be over-confident in their abilities, both characters could easily have led a life a quiet bliss - as Victor tells Walton before he dies.

As for repentance, neither character does.  Faust wishes he had chosen differently, or lived differently, but he does not atone for his sin of pride.  He does not freely admit he was wrong and sinful, and so loses the chance to saved.  Victor knows he has created a monster, knows he is responsible to deaths, but he never owns up and repents.  He never admits to his family what he has done.  He fails to save Justine, and he causes Clerval's and Elizabeth's deaths.  Had he been honest and repentent, he might have been spared suffering.

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