What is the significance of the title of Prometheus Unbound by Mary Shelley?Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

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Prometheus is the Greek god who offers his guile to Zeus to help him win the war with the Titans.  However, after he wins, Zeus punishes Prometheus as, like all tyrants, he distrusts his friends.  When Zeus attempts to destroy man, Prometheus stands in his way, giving man the power of fire and breathes life into man. To prevent Prometheus from exerting his powers, Zeus has him chained to a rock.

Like Prometheus, Victor Frankenstein gives life to his creation.  But, unlike Prometheus, Victor does not help humanity; instead, he causes the death of his loved ones.  Hence, the title Prometheus Unbound. 

The connotation of Prometheus being "unbound" suggests Shelley's motif of uncontrolled science as dangerous.  Obsessed with his interest in science, Victor Frankenstein becomes consumed by his quest for knowledge and the power that science holds.  Enmeshed in his world of theory and experiment, Victor gives no thought to the consequences of his actions and his disrespect for the natural order of life.

A Romantic, Mary Shelley explores the question of whether science always acts for the good of man, or if it has a dark side.  Her conclusion seems much like that of the Greek tale of Prometheus:  Victor, like Prometheus is alienated from humanity as a result of his actions.

 

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Prometheus Unbound

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