Frankenstein as the Modern Prometheus Essay

There are many authors that use a well-known historical figure to contrast the protagonist of their novel. One great author that uses this method of comparing a renowned person to a fictional character is Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly. In her novel Frankenstein, she uses the subtitle “The Modern Prometheus.” Prometheus, the Greek god, and Victor Frankenstein, the creator of the Monster, have contrasting qualities and behaviors that allow them to go against God’s will and attempt to create life.Prometheus, a Greek god, is the son of Iapetus and Themis. He was a guardian and protector of humanity, and he is greatly known for his superior intelligence. He stole fire from the Greek god Zeus and gave it to the mortals. This mistake caused the heroine Prometheus to suffer greatly. Zeus punished him for his offense and bound Prometheus to a rock, and each day an eagle came and ate out his liver. Prometheus is both credited with and blamed for playing a gigantic role in the early makings of human kind. Prometheus stole the fire from Zeus in order to help the mortals because he had befriended them and took pity upon them. At that time, the humans were in desperate need of help and Prometheus wanted to see them reach their full potential instead of dying off. Prometheus stole the fire and showed the humans how to use it because he was a very compassionate man and wanted to help. Prometheus is seen as a gentle titan whereas Zeus is seen as a dark god. Prometheus was acting on what the future held because he had the gift of foresight. He knew that humans would need help in order to survive, and he was the titan that brought help in the form of fire. Prometheus represented a man “playing God,” as did Victor Frankenstein. Both u…

…he house and the laboratory and took care of Victor. He had so much desire to obtain godlike powers that the stress it too much for Victor. He withdraws himself from society and grows an unhealthy obsession with revenging himself upon the monster. This eventually leads to his death after he tells his story to Robert Walton.Mary Shelly was absolutely correct when she compared Frankenstein to “The Modern Prometheus.” Frankenstein and Prometheus were similar in their character and how they wanted to help humanity, though one protagonist took it too far. They both attempted to be godlike by creating life and they suffered consequences for their actions. The mortal humans were in need of saving so two intelligent, gentle, men came forth to help. Did they try to become too godlike or were their attempts of helping the mortals of the world justified?

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