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Mary Shelley uses the mythic figure , Prometheus, as a basis for the dark novel Frankenstein. The characteristics of this mythical being corresponds with the combination of Victor Frankenstein s and the monster s intellect, conscience, and desire.The creator and the creation share a dual personality, theoretically equaling one single being with all the power compared to that of Prometheus. Creation and destruction,moral conscience and the desire for murderous revenge are thematical depictions of this antithetical relationship between Frankenstein and his monster. The mad-scientist cannot fully be compared to the mythical being without his counterpart or shadow, his son born
of ambition, because the monster is an extension of his true self. Prometheanism in Shelley s novel is understood through this combination of the creator and his creation with the titan and the scientist sharing a variety of the same powers.
In the Afterward to Frankenstein, Harold Bloom refers to Prometheus as causing the alienation of man from heaven (Bloom 214) by molding man from clay, discovering fire, and indirectly causing the creation of Pandora(Parada 2). Victor Frankenstein s pretentious desire for creation removes God, or Mother Nature, from the sequence of life. By using God s power to reverse death the monster is alienated from God and heaven before birth because Frankenstein is the sole creator, not God. This creature s existence is born of Frankenstein s psychological desire to escape death. Prometheus and Frankenstein suffer the results of the modern God Syndrome . Frankenstein
comprehends this alienation by paralleling himself to: …the arch-angel who aspired to omnipotence, I am chained in an eternal hell (Shelley 194). Bloom describes Prometheus as containing in him: …the full range of Romantic moral sensibility and the full romantic capacity for creation and destruction (Bloom 213). It is incapable for a human to have the power of life and death without experiencing consequences, yet the scientist exercises this power lacking the knowledge of the monster s potentialities. Prometheus and Frankenstein are both: …a son of light justly cast out by an offended heaven (Bloom 214).
Frankenstein and Prometheus are characterized as living with double identities. Prometheus: is taken as an analogue of the crucified Christ, yet is regarded also as a type of Lucifer (Bloom 214). Frankenstein s creation is born of desire. The monster searches for love and realizes society cannot cast away his ghastly appearance, plunging him into depression and causing evil to fuel his artificial soul. He becomes the result of: …desire restrained until it became only the shadow of desire, a diminished double of creative energy (214). Frankenstein shows an inclination to pursue the forbidden; the monster represents his ambition, curiosity, forbidden knowledge, and desire to fool death. The monster evolves into a symbol of the scientist s guilt, taunting Frankenstein as he stalks and murders his loved ones, illustrating the creator s second personality which he is highly ashamed and frightened of. Frankenstein s mind is ridiculed by: …the shadow of desire and the total form of desire (214), yet rather than a dream of desire the monster is a nightmare of actuality escapable only by death(215). Both identities survive dependent of each other; the monster s evil actions are results of his growing
hatred for his creator while Frankenstein inevitably wishes to murder his beast of a son . The novel concludes with the death of the scientist, and the monster desiring to kill himself because of his misery and the misery he has caused others. The monster cannot survive without his counterpart, his other identity, hence his death is unavoidable.
In Mary Shelley s Prometheus Unbound the titan creates a monster, Jupiter, and the way to help correct his mistake is through the quest for a feeling mind and an understanding heart (Bloom 217). Frankenstein must search for the power to love his beast, to accept his horrid creation as a part of himself. He is incapable of this realization, never experiencing inner peace for bringing an un-human into the world ultimately resorting to his death: Frankenstein s tragedy stems not from his Promethean excess but from his own moral error, his failure to love; he abhorred his creature, became terrified,
and fled his responsibilities (217). Prometheus completes this quest of unbounded love symbolized with the sexual reunion of him and Asia, while the scientist cannot find this power within him. The titan and the scientist are unlike because Frankenstein never loves his creation, instead he attempts to pacify the monster s needs with the creation of another beast; a female that will love the monster because Frankenstein is unable to. If the scientist could only love his creation he would be like: …a celestial spirit that has a
halo around him, within whose circle no grief or folly ventures (Shelley 14).
Harold Bloom analyzes Prometheanism in Mary Shelley s novel Frankenstein
portraying the correlation between the mad-scientist Victor Frankenstein and the titan Prometheus. Although many similarities between these two creators are observed, such as the power of creation and destruction, there are still differences in their actions. Prometheus owns the ability to accept the situation he created and love his monster; Frankenstein does not find this side of himself because it s submerged in guilt and hatred for himself and his monster. As love is vanishing from his life with the deaths of friends and family it is replaced with the vengeance for the murderer. Prometheus uses the gods powers to achieve his personalized goals for himself and mankind, while Frankenstein uses the power of creation because of his curiosity, ignorant of the disaster he would produce.