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Frankenstein Symbolism and Key Facts

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Symbolism of Frankenstein

The book uses some Christian imagery, referring to Victor Frankenstein as the “Creator”, thus comparing him to God, and comparing the Creature to Adam, the first man whom God created. Victor is also compared to Prometheus, a rebellious Titan from Ancient Greek mythology, and Prometheus, in his turn, shares many common features with Satan or Lucifer from Milton’s “Paradise Lost”, which was one of the novel’s sources.

Key Facts from Frankenstein

The book’s primary source was its author’s dream, where she saw a scientist, a practitioner of “unhallowed arts” to create a living creature resembling a man.

The book uses the Promethean Myth by Ovid as its source (seen from its subtitle, The Modern Prometheus) and its central character also resembles Satan from Milton’s book Paradise Lost. Mary Shelley also knew the ancient play Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus.  It is clear, too, that the author drew her inspiration from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

The novel also contains references to the French Revolution, the memories of which were still fresh in its time. There are also several possible prototypes of the protagonist: researchers name the French  inventor Frankenstein as well as the scientist  Giovanni Aldini known for his experiments with electricity and galvanism and attempts to reanimate people using it, and Johann Konrad Dippel, a chemist and alchemist trying to use chemistry to extend the length of people’s life.

The novel has long become classical and the Frankenstein’s Monster (often mistakenly called Frankenstein himself) is widely recognized in popular culture. The book has been adapted into a movie for numerous times, as well as inspired many derivative works. The first film adaptation took place as early as in 1910. The first sound film was produced in 1931. This movie is now considered classical and there is a number of sequels and other adaptations by different studios. The novel and its villain has since inspired many writings, comics, TV adaptations, stage plays, songs and even parodies.

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