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Mary Shelley
Yesha Bhatt
Department of English
M. K. Bhavnagar University
Mary Shelley (1797 – 1851)
Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin’s mother (Mary
Wollstonecraft) was a philosopher and activist and was
also interested in Feminism and Shelley was raised by
her father who was a political philosopher (William
Godwin).
She was raised by her father provided her with a rich if
informal education, encouraging her to adhere to his
own anarchist political theories
She married P. B. Shelley the great writer of that Age.
She edited and promoted her husband’s works.
She was famous for her Science fiction novel
“Frankenstein – The Modern Prometheus”
Frankenstein Or The Modern
Prometheus (1818)
 Frankenstein is the novel that tells the story of Victor
Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates
a sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific
experiment.
 Shelley started writing the story when she was 18,
and the first edition was published anonymously in
London on 1 January 1818, when she was 20.
 Shelley travelled through Europe and visited
Germany and Frankenstein Castle which can be
suggested as an inspiration for her.
After thinking for days, Shelley dreamt about a
scientist who created life and was horrified by what
he had made, inspiring the novel.
 The Modern Prometheus – Greek myth
Characters
Victor Frankenstein
Elizabeth
The creature Robert Walton
Henry Clerval
Characters
Captain Robert Walton (Writes
letters)
Mrs. Margaret Saville (Sister of
Robert Walton)
Henry Clerval (Victor’s Friend)
M Waldman (Influenced Victor)
The Creature (Creation of
Victor)
De Lacey (Blind old man) family
Victor Frankenstein
Ernest (Victor’s brother)
William (Victor’s youngest
brother)
Justin Moritz (Lives with
Frankenstein family from the age
of 12)
Elizabeth Lavenza (adopted
by Frankenstein family and
fiancée of Victor)
Caroline Beaufort (Victor’s
Mother)
Brief
Overview
 Robert Walton writes a series of letters to his sister
Margaret and tells her about his dangerous mission for
North Pole.
 He got trapped in seas full of ice and found there Victor
who was ill because of cold.
 Walton helped him and Victor told him the tale of his
creation.
 Victor first described his early life in Geneva with
Elizabeth and Henry and then he entered in the
University of Ingolstadt to study natural philosophy and
Chemistry.
 His desire to discover the “Secret of life” and research
of several years and he thought he found it.
 With the knowledge he gained from his research he
started experimenting it on old body parts of human.
 After his hard-work, finally one night in his lab, he
brought his creation to life.
Brief
Overview
 After his hard-work, finally one night in his lab,
he brought his creation to life.
 When he observed his own creation the
hideous look of it horrified him.
He couldn’t sleep that night and was
wandering on streets and went to visit Henry
and told about the disaster. Both returned to
the apartment but the monster was gone and
Victor fell ill.
 Victor prepares to return to Geneva. Just
before departing he receives a letter that his
brother William has been murdered.
While passing through the woods where
William was repressed, he catches sight of the
monster and becomes convinced that the
monster is his brother’s murderer.
Brief
Overview
 When he arrived at Geneva he found that Moritz has
been accused for the murder of William. Victor was
feeling guilty that his creation was responsible for the
deaths of two innocent people.
 To take a break Victor went on vacation to mountains
and there monster approaches him. The monster admits
to the murder of William because he wanted to hurt
Victor, but begs for understanding.
 Monster begs Victor to create a mate for him. Victor
refuses at first but was later convinced by Monster.
 Leaving Henry in Scotland, he separates himself on a
desolate island in the Orkneys and works on the
creation of female monster.
 One night, observing the monster he thought about the
results of his actions and creation he destroyed the
female monster.
Brief
Overview
The monster vowed revenge, swearing that he will
be with Victor on Victor’s wedding night.
 Victor takes a boat out onto a lake and dumps the
remains of the second creature in the water. He
got arrested for a murder for which he denied and
when shown the body, it was Henry’s body with the
mark of monster’s fingers on his neck and Victor
falls ill. he was kept in prison and later proved
innocent.
 After coming Geneva, he marries Elizabeth and
because of Monster’s warning, he kept Elizabeth
away from him.
 Victor was waiting for monster outside and he
hears the scream of Elizabeth as Monster killed
her and later Victor’s father also died because of
grief. Victor vowed revenge and started finding
monster for the rest of his life.
Brief
Overview
 Victor tracks the monster ever northward into the ice.
Victor almost catches up with the monster, but the sea
beneath them swells and the ice breaks, leaving an
unbridgeable gap between them. At this point, Walton
encounters Victor.
 Victor dies shortly thereafter. When Walton returns,
several days later, to the room in which the body lies,
he is frightened to see the monster weeping over
Victor.
 The monster tells Walton of his immense solitude,
suffering, hatred, and remorse. He asserts that now
that his creator has died, he too can end his suffering.
The monster then departs for the northernmost ice to
die.
Frankenstein Myth and
Morality
 Study of myths reveals about the mind and character
of people. Myths are symbolic projections of people’s
hopes, values, fears, and aspirations.
 Theory of shadow (dark hidden side of self, anima
( image of woman in the male unconscious(anima –
animus)) and persona.
 Anima (if it can be considered as inner world) fails.
Anima is usually projected on mother. Victor’s anima is
presented through Elizabeth. The world becomes a
shadow or a gloom.
 Social mark of a God-fearing, prayerful, self-righteous,
Spiritual immaturity. Clash between ego and the
external world (Victor’s persona)
 Myth of Prometheus (gift of fire to human race and
skill of metalwork, punished by Zeus who ensured
every day that an eagle ate the liver of the Titan as he
was helplessly chained to a rock.)
Morality
 Self-realization v/s Existence of God
 Freedom of the creature – death of his creator
 Biblical symbolism - theme of the outcast - story of creation. “The creature is bitter and
dejected after being turned away from human civilization, much the same way
that Adam in “Paradise Lost” was turned out of the Garden of Eden.”
 In the biblical story, Adam causes his own fate by sinning. Here the creator, Victor,
however, causes the creature’s hideous existence, and it is this grotesqueness that
leads to the creature’s being rejected. Only after he is repeatedly rejected does the
creature become violent and decide to seek revenge”
 Bible - The prodigal son will not eat them for religious reasons. The monster will not
eat them for moral reasons. (Parable of Prodigal son)
• The creature develops his own sense of morality without the influence of religion or the
creator mythology. - Senses of “pleasure and pain” - ideas of right and wrong, good and
evil
 It is evident from these (cottagers) examples from Frankenstein that the
creature is capable of learning moral and virtuous behavior without the
influence of spiritual or divine proclamation. The presence of a bible or other
religious scripture is conspicuously absent from his education, yet he is
capable of developing a thoroughly structured sense of morality and ethics.
 “Shelley’s monster is not evil by inherent constitution. - He is born
unformed.
 Who is the real monster…?
 ‘Civilized’ Society (hideous look v/s beauty)
 Victor (Ignorant – Creator – Narcissist)
 Circumstances ( “So called” Social decorum of a human appearance)
 Desire of love - Infancy – Child – innocence
 Rejection
The Vitruvian Man
 The Vitruvian Man is a drawing made by
the Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci in
about 1490.
The drawing, which is in ink on paper,
depicts a man in two superimposed
positions with his arms and legs apart and
inscribed in a circle and square.
The drawing represents Leonardo's
concept of the ideal human body
proportions.
It is accompanied by notes based on the
work of the Roman architect Vitruvius.
Frankenstein – Psychological
complexity
 Frankenstein's fractured psyche
 The monster is a creation of Frankenstein's
"fundamentally narcissistic" nature.
 Egoistical states
 Unable to find a balance between ego and id,
Frankenstein soon seems "to have lost all soul or
sensation but for this one pursuit".
 Frankenstein, driven by the power of ego, loses
himself by allowing "passion [and] transitory desire
to disturb [his] tranquility“.
 A man obsessed by his own success.
 Frankenstein’s a vision of "breathless horror and
disgust" - "the beauty of the dream vanished“.
Frankenstein – A Modern
Narcissus
 The myth of Narcissus ( Eco – Prophet -
narcissistic personality disorder )
 Victor exhibits all the characteristics of the
narcissistic personality disorder
 Narcissism is a pattern of traits and behaviors
which signify infatuation and obsession with one's
self.
 Exaggerated sense of self-importance and a lack
of empathy for others.
 Hideous look of monster and Victor’s illness.
“I am alone and miserable. Only someone as ugly as I am could love
me.”
Title – Frankenstein – A Modern
Prometheus
 The Creature as Adam - Did I request thee, Maker, from my
clay To mould Me man? (Paradise Lost)
 Frankenstein = The creature
 Victor – Penname of P. B. Shelley
 Prometheus - Prometheus became an archetypal image who represented
human striving and the quest of scientific knowledge to improve human
existence which results in tragedy.
 Creature and Creator
 Consequences of the action (Prometheus – Victor)
Frankenstein – Racial Reading
 Belief that one’s own race is superior
 Creature - Grotesque and marginalized one
 Physical difference – ‘other’ - an opposite of the European ideals of beauty
“presents a white protagonist who is haunted and undone by the rebellious monster whom he has created”
 In “Frankenstein’s Monster and Images of Race in Nineteenth-Century
Britain,” Harold Malchow contends that the monster’s “dark and sinister” look
echoes the “standard description of the black man in both the literature of
the West Indies and that of West African exploration”
Female characters in Frankenstein
 Shelley published this anonymously
 Much of the novel has a male voice and female characters are (appropriately
described as exotic, as outsiders) to a marginal position.
 Woman writer - Male voice
 Robert – Victor – Creature – Three narrator – not any is at the centre
 Elizabeth - symbolizes women in the 1800s – gentle reserved nature – symbol of
beauty

"A feminine text can't be predicted, isn't predictable, isn't knowable, and is
therefore very disturbing." - Helene Cixous
Female characters in Frankenstein
 Transgression occurs on the thematic level of the novel. Victor Frankenstein, the
bearer of the qualities of god-like power and knowledge that characterize the
masculine position in culture, discovers the limits of his mastery. He intends to
create a "new species" that will flatter his ego: "No father," he imagines, "could
claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve theirs" (p. 52).
Gothic fiction in Frankenstein
 Gothic fiction is a genre or mode
of literature that combines fiction, horror and
Romanticism.
Elements of Gothic Fiction
 Spooky castles
 Dark setting
 Ominous dream
 Suspense
 Overwrought emotion
 Metonymy of Gloom
 A Supernatural element
• “Man," I cried, "how ignorant art thou in thy pride of wisdom!” – Victor
• “The fallen angel becomes a malignant devil. Yet even that enemy of God and man had friends and associates in his
desolation; I am alone.” – The creature
• “Hateful day when I received life!' I exclaimed in agony. 'Accursed creator! Why did you form a monster so hideous
that even you turned from me in disgust? God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring, after his own image; but
my form is a filthy type of yours, more horrid even from the very resemblance. Satan had his companions, fellow-
devils, to admire and encourage him; but I am solitary and abhorred.' - Creature”
• “‘My food is not that of man; I do not destroy the lamb and the kid to glut my appetite; acorns and berries afford me
sufficient nourishment’”
• to see their sweet looks directed towards me with affection was the utmost limit of my ambition – The creature
• “I required kindness and sympathy; but I did not believe myself utterly unworthy of it” - The creature
Frankenstein

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Frankenstein

  • 1. Mary Shelley Yesha Bhatt Department of English M. K. Bhavnagar University
  • 2. Mary Shelley (1797 – 1851) Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin’s mother (Mary Wollstonecraft) was a philosopher and activist and was also interested in Feminism and Shelley was raised by her father who was a political philosopher (William Godwin). She was raised by her father provided her with a rich if informal education, encouraging her to adhere to his own anarchist political theories She married P. B. Shelley the great writer of that Age. She edited and promoted her husband’s works. She was famous for her Science fiction novel “Frankenstein – The Modern Prometheus”
  • 3. Frankenstein Or The Modern Prometheus (1818)  Frankenstein is the novel that tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates a sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment.  Shelley started writing the story when she was 18, and the first edition was published anonymously in London on 1 January 1818, when she was 20.  Shelley travelled through Europe and visited Germany and Frankenstein Castle which can be suggested as an inspiration for her. After thinking for days, Shelley dreamt about a scientist who created life and was horrified by what he had made, inspiring the novel.  The Modern Prometheus – Greek myth
  • 5. Characters Captain Robert Walton (Writes letters) Mrs. Margaret Saville (Sister of Robert Walton) Henry Clerval (Victor’s Friend) M Waldman (Influenced Victor) The Creature (Creation of Victor) De Lacey (Blind old man) family Victor Frankenstein Ernest (Victor’s brother) William (Victor’s youngest brother) Justin Moritz (Lives with Frankenstein family from the age of 12) Elizabeth Lavenza (adopted by Frankenstein family and fiancée of Victor) Caroline Beaufort (Victor’s Mother)
  • 6. Brief Overview  Robert Walton writes a series of letters to his sister Margaret and tells her about his dangerous mission for North Pole.  He got trapped in seas full of ice and found there Victor who was ill because of cold.  Walton helped him and Victor told him the tale of his creation.  Victor first described his early life in Geneva with Elizabeth and Henry and then he entered in the University of Ingolstadt to study natural philosophy and Chemistry.  His desire to discover the “Secret of life” and research of several years and he thought he found it.  With the knowledge he gained from his research he started experimenting it on old body parts of human.  After his hard-work, finally one night in his lab, he brought his creation to life.
  • 7. Brief Overview  After his hard-work, finally one night in his lab, he brought his creation to life.  When he observed his own creation the hideous look of it horrified him. He couldn’t sleep that night and was wandering on streets and went to visit Henry and told about the disaster. Both returned to the apartment but the monster was gone and Victor fell ill.  Victor prepares to return to Geneva. Just before departing he receives a letter that his brother William has been murdered. While passing through the woods where William was repressed, he catches sight of the monster and becomes convinced that the monster is his brother’s murderer.
  • 8. Brief Overview  When he arrived at Geneva he found that Moritz has been accused for the murder of William. Victor was feeling guilty that his creation was responsible for the deaths of two innocent people.  To take a break Victor went on vacation to mountains and there monster approaches him. The monster admits to the murder of William because he wanted to hurt Victor, but begs for understanding.  Monster begs Victor to create a mate for him. Victor refuses at first but was later convinced by Monster.  Leaving Henry in Scotland, he separates himself on a desolate island in the Orkneys and works on the creation of female monster.  One night, observing the monster he thought about the results of his actions and creation he destroyed the female monster.
  • 9. Brief Overview The monster vowed revenge, swearing that he will be with Victor on Victor’s wedding night.  Victor takes a boat out onto a lake and dumps the remains of the second creature in the water. He got arrested for a murder for which he denied and when shown the body, it was Henry’s body with the mark of monster’s fingers on his neck and Victor falls ill. he was kept in prison and later proved innocent.  After coming Geneva, he marries Elizabeth and because of Monster’s warning, he kept Elizabeth away from him.  Victor was waiting for monster outside and he hears the scream of Elizabeth as Monster killed her and later Victor’s father also died because of grief. Victor vowed revenge and started finding monster for the rest of his life.
  • 10. Brief Overview  Victor tracks the monster ever northward into the ice. Victor almost catches up with the monster, but the sea beneath them swells and the ice breaks, leaving an unbridgeable gap between them. At this point, Walton encounters Victor.  Victor dies shortly thereafter. When Walton returns, several days later, to the room in which the body lies, he is frightened to see the monster weeping over Victor.  The monster tells Walton of his immense solitude, suffering, hatred, and remorse. He asserts that now that his creator has died, he too can end his suffering. The monster then departs for the northernmost ice to die.
  • 11. Frankenstein Myth and Morality  Study of myths reveals about the mind and character of people. Myths are symbolic projections of people’s hopes, values, fears, and aspirations.  Theory of shadow (dark hidden side of self, anima ( image of woman in the male unconscious(anima – animus)) and persona.  Anima (if it can be considered as inner world) fails. Anima is usually projected on mother. Victor’s anima is presented through Elizabeth. The world becomes a shadow or a gloom.  Social mark of a God-fearing, prayerful, self-righteous, Spiritual immaturity. Clash between ego and the external world (Victor’s persona)  Myth of Prometheus (gift of fire to human race and skill of metalwork, punished by Zeus who ensured every day that an eagle ate the liver of the Titan as he was helplessly chained to a rock.)
  • 12. Morality  Self-realization v/s Existence of God  Freedom of the creature – death of his creator  Biblical symbolism - theme of the outcast - story of creation. “The creature is bitter and dejected after being turned away from human civilization, much the same way that Adam in “Paradise Lost” was turned out of the Garden of Eden.”  In the biblical story, Adam causes his own fate by sinning. Here the creator, Victor, however, causes the creature’s hideous existence, and it is this grotesqueness that leads to the creature’s being rejected. Only after he is repeatedly rejected does the creature become violent and decide to seek revenge”  Bible - The prodigal son will not eat them for religious reasons. The monster will not eat them for moral reasons. (Parable of Prodigal son) • The creature develops his own sense of morality without the influence of religion or the creator mythology. - Senses of “pleasure and pain” - ideas of right and wrong, good and evil
  • 13.  It is evident from these (cottagers) examples from Frankenstein that the creature is capable of learning moral and virtuous behavior without the influence of spiritual or divine proclamation. The presence of a bible or other religious scripture is conspicuously absent from his education, yet he is capable of developing a thoroughly structured sense of morality and ethics.  “Shelley’s monster is not evil by inherent constitution. - He is born unformed.  Who is the real monster…?  ‘Civilized’ Society (hideous look v/s beauty)  Victor (Ignorant – Creator – Narcissist)  Circumstances ( “So called” Social decorum of a human appearance)  Desire of love - Infancy – Child – innocence  Rejection
  • 14. The Vitruvian Man  The Vitruvian Man is a drawing made by the Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci in about 1490. The drawing, which is in ink on paper, depicts a man in two superimposed positions with his arms and legs apart and inscribed in a circle and square. The drawing represents Leonardo's concept of the ideal human body proportions. It is accompanied by notes based on the work of the Roman architect Vitruvius.
  • 15. Frankenstein – Psychological complexity  Frankenstein's fractured psyche  The monster is a creation of Frankenstein's "fundamentally narcissistic" nature.  Egoistical states  Unable to find a balance between ego and id, Frankenstein soon seems "to have lost all soul or sensation but for this one pursuit".  Frankenstein, driven by the power of ego, loses himself by allowing "passion [and] transitory desire to disturb [his] tranquility“.  A man obsessed by his own success.  Frankenstein’s a vision of "breathless horror and disgust" - "the beauty of the dream vanished“.
  • 16. Frankenstein – A Modern Narcissus  The myth of Narcissus ( Eco – Prophet - narcissistic personality disorder )  Victor exhibits all the characteristics of the narcissistic personality disorder  Narcissism is a pattern of traits and behaviors which signify infatuation and obsession with one's self.  Exaggerated sense of self-importance and a lack of empathy for others.  Hideous look of monster and Victor’s illness. “I am alone and miserable. Only someone as ugly as I am could love me.”
  • 17. Title – Frankenstein – A Modern Prometheus  The Creature as Adam - Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay To mould Me man? (Paradise Lost)  Frankenstein = The creature  Victor – Penname of P. B. Shelley  Prometheus - Prometheus became an archetypal image who represented human striving and the quest of scientific knowledge to improve human existence which results in tragedy.  Creature and Creator  Consequences of the action (Prometheus – Victor)
  • 18. Frankenstein – Racial Reading  Belief that one’s own race is superior  Creature - Grotesque and marginalized one  Physical difference – ‘other’ - an opposite of the European ideals of beauty “presents a white protagonist who is haunted and undone by the rebellious monster whom he has created”  In “Frankenstein’s Monster and Images of Race in Nineteenth-Century Britain,” Harold Malchow contends that the monster’s “dark and sinister” look echoes the “standard description of the black man in both the literature of the West Indies and that of West African exploration”
  • 19. Female characters in Frankenstein  Shelley published this anonymously  Much of the novel has a male voice and female characters are (appropriately described as exotic, as outsiders) to a marginal position.  Woman writer - Male voice  Robert – Victor – Creature – Three narrator – not any is at the centre  Elizabeth - symbolizes women in the 1800s – gentle reserved nature – symbol of beauty  "A feminine text can't be predicted, isn't predictable, isn't knowable, and is therefore very disturbing." - Helene Cixous
  • 20. Female characters in Frankenstein  Transgression occurs on the thematic level of the novel. Victor Frankenstein, the bearer of the qualities of god-like power and knowledge that characterize the masculine position in culture, discovers the limits of his mastery. He intends to create a "new species" that will flatter his ego: "No father," he imagines, "could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve theirs" (p. 52).
  • 21. Gothic fiction in Frankenstein  Gothic fiction is a genre or mode of literature that combines fiction, horror and Romanticism. Elements of Gothic Fiction  Spooky castles  Dark setting  Ominous dream  Suspense  Overwrought emotion  Metonymy of Gloom  A Supernatural element
  • 22. • “Man," I cried, "how ignorant art thou in thy pride of wisdom!” – Victor • “The fallen angel becomes a malignant devil. Yet even that enemy of God and man had friends and associates in his desolation; I am alone.” – The creature • “Hateful day when I received life!' I exclaimed in agony. 'Accursed creator! Why did you form a monster so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust? God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring, after his own image; but my form is a filthy type of yours, more horrid even from the very resemblance. Satan had his companions, fellow- devils, to admire and encourage him; but I am solitary and abhorred.' - Creature”
  • 23. • “‘My food is not that of man; I do not destroy the lamb and the kid to glut my appetite; acorns and berries afford me sufficient nourishment’” • to see their sweet looks directed towards me with affection was the utmost limit of my ambition – The creature • “I required kindness and sympathy; but I did not believe myself utterly unworthy of it” - The creature