Presentation on theme: "Frankenstein Or The Modern Prometheus"— Presentation transcript:
1 Frankenstein Or The Modern Prometheus Mary Shelley
2 Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Born August 30, 1797 in LondonDied February 1, 1851 of brain cancerMarried poet Percy Shelley in 1816Daughter of famous parentsFather: William Godwin – philosopher and political writerMother: Mary Wollstonecraft – famed feminist and author of Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792)Mary’s mother died shortly after Mary was born
3 Shelley’s Stormy Situations Father remarried and Mary did not get along with her new step- mother1814: Mary began a relationship with poet Percy Shelley. While he was still married to his first wife, he and (16-year old!) Mary fled England together. Mary’s step-sister, Jane, went with them. SCANDAL!!Mary’s actions alienated her from her father and he didn’t speak to for four years. EXILE!1815: Mary and Percy struggled financially and lost their first child. Mary delivered a baby girl who only lived for a few days. TRAGEDY : (
4 Shelley’s Stormy Situations 1816: Mary’s half-sister, Fanny, AND Percy’s wife, Harriet committed suicide (Harriet while pregnant with Percy’s third child!). Mary and Percy were married in December. : (1818: Frankenstein was published and was an overwhelming success. Mary was 20 years old.Mary and Percy did not have an easy marriage. They suffered from adultery and heartache. Two more of their children died. : (1819: Their son, William (“Will-mouse”), died of malaria. Percy Florence, their only child who survived, was born. : )1822: Mary miscarried and almost died. Percy Shelley drowned while sailing with a friend. : (
5 Romanticism1785 – 1830: French Revolution to beginnings of modern industrialismRomantic writers favored the revolution and its changes in lifestyle and sensibilityWriters had freedom to turn inwardReflect on issues of the heart and imaginationNatural scenes and rustic, commonplace lifestylesElements of the supernatural
6 RomanticismMary Shelley combined ethical concerns of her parents with Romantic sensibilities of Percy Shelley’s poetryFather’s concern for the underprivilegedPercy Shelley’s use imagination, isolation, and natureMary Shelley is unique because of her use of the Gothic novel
7 Gothic NovelMysteries in which sinister and sometimes supernatural events occurredEvents caused by some evil human actionOverly dramatic and inflated languageFascination with the macabre (disturbing and horrifying) and superstitionsUnrealistic settings, away from everyday life (except Frankenstein)
8 Frankenstein as a Gothic Novel Frankenstein reflects Shelley’s deepest psychological fears and insecuritiesInability to prevent her children’s deathsDistressed marriage to a man who showed no remorse for his daughters’ deathsFeelings of inadequacy as a writerDeviation in Gothic settingCreature wanders breathtaking Alps – he becomes more humanized
9 Epistolary Framing Device Epistolary novel: A novel told through letters, a convention of 1800 Romantic literature.Framing device: A literary device in which the same scene, event, or setting is used both at the beginning and at the end of any literary work. The repeated element creates a “frame” within which the work develops.Frankenstein – Robert Walton writes letters to his sister describing the story told to him by Victor Frankenstein. Frankenstein’s story contains the creature’s story.
11 The Modern PrometheusGreek mythic figure who stole the secret of fire from the gods and gave it to humanityHe received severe punishment for his hubris (excessive pride or self-confidence)Lesser-known myth: Prometheus creates the human raceHow does the novel’s subtitle foreshadow future events in Victor’s life?
12 Paradise LostQuotation from Milton’s Paradise Lost appears in an epigraph on the title pageExamines the fall from grace in Eden, according to the Old TestamentIf Frankenstein is like Adam, what is Shelley trying to say about Victor?
13 Can humans control all consequences of their actions? The Danger ZonesAmoral scienceUnrestrained rationalityImperfection of civil justiceSuperficiality of human judgmentFrankenstein is a book about the concurrent limits and limitlessness of human nature and human knowledge.Can humans control all consequences of their actions?