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Natalia Oliveira2

on 26 June 2013

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Transcript of Frankenstein

Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus
Mary Shelley

Letters and Stories
The book itself is a huge letter/journal in which Robert Walton tells his sister Margareth his adventures and thoughts.
The Creature, by "it"self
The Destruction
Frankenstein through the Time

A challenger to Zeus’s omniscience and omnipotence
Creates mankind using clay;
Steals fire from Zeus and help human

Punishment: Everlasting Pain
Is chained in a rock on Caucasus, an eagle eats his liver every night and it heals itself during the day.

“Prometheus Unbound”, 1820, by Percy Bysshe Shelley.
“Prometheus”, by Lord Byron
When and where?
1818, Lake Geneva;

Influenced by
and Romantic literature, German supernatural tales, galvanism etc.;

Carrying ideas of Wordsworth, Rousseau, Locke, and critics towards the Enlightenment, Darwin, and Women situation at that time, the "game" of writing a horror story became something really serious
a discussion of 'good' and 'evil'
an affirmation of Romanticism over Enlightenment ideas
a criticism of Percy Shelley as an absentee father
an exploration of the idea of the noble savage
a statement of the need to respect the Creator and Creation

The Gothic Novel and its atributes
tension and relief
passion and reason
past and present
the civilized and the barbaric
the supernatural and the natural
sublime and horror
“It is commonly said that the emergence of the Gothic is related to a major shift in

cultural attitudes, resulting in important political, economic and social changes, that the processes of urbanization, industrialization and revolution are it’s clearer faces
From this point of view, the
gothic novel would be the answer to the fears and uncertainties experienced during this period
, as well as an
attempt to overcome the limits of rational and moral order and treat everything that the Enlightenment had left without explanation or swept under the rug
Vasconelos, p. 126, 2002.
The Enlightenment:

Feelings and Imagination
Individual (ambitions)
Collective (needs)
England : Rural

Authors were writing about individuals' feelings and emotions regarding their daily struggles.
Walton's Trip = "Present"
Victor and his family and creature's story until "Present"
The mailing goes:
Robert Walton ----> Margareth
Victor Frankenstein---> Elizabeth/ Clerval/ Father
Elizatbeth/ Clerval/ Father ----> Victor
Robert Walton
Walton sets out to explore the North Pole and expand his scientific knowledge in hopes of achieving fame.
He writes his letters to keep in touch with his sister Margareth, who is in England
We get to know about his trip and about himself through his letters.
This trip is his childhood dream
He is ambitious, lonely, pride and selfish
After 4 weeks in the sea, he and his crew spot a giant creature passing by them, on the ice.
At the same day, they rescue Victor Frankenstein, a "scientist".

Victor's Turn
He tells us about:
The very beginning of his life, and even tells us how his parents met and married.
His childhood and life as he was growing, siblings and friends
His time at College - Ingolstadt
The birth of his "marvelous plan"
"This expedition has been the favourite dream of my early years. (...) You may remember that a history of all the voyages made for purpose of dicovering composed the whole of our good Uncle Thomas' library(...). I was passionately fond on reading" ( Letter 1)
"I have no friend, Margaret: when I am glowing with the enthusiasm of success, there will be none to participate in my joy(...) no one will endeavour to sustain me in dejection" (Letter 2)
How he put the plan into practice
His success: The Creature wakes up, Victor fears and reject "it"
The Creature disappears
Victor gets sick
The first victims
In Plainpalais the Creature meets "its" master

The creature leaves the laboratory during the night
Education and observation of the De Lacey family
Attempt to contact the family
The De Laceys run away
The monster begins to search for his creator
Little William is murdered
The creature finds its creator and makes a last request
Creature's Turn
Starts to create the female being and destroys it
The creature promises to destroy and cause pain in Victor’s life
The rise of the motivation: death of Elizabeth and Victor’s Father
Find Walton
Victor’s death

Creature meets Walton

Walton's decision
"It" tells it's story:
Victor X Elizabeth Victor X Clerval
Victor X Walton
"Elizabeth was of a calmer and more concentrated disposition; but with my ardour, I was more (...) thirsty for knowledge"
"Meanwhile, Clerval occupied himself, so to speak, with the moral relations of things.(...) the virtues of heroes(...) his dream was to become one among those whose names are recorded in story as the(...) benefactors of our species" (Frankenstein, II)
"Unhappy man! Do you share my madness? Have you drunk also of the intoxicating draught? Hear me, let me reveal my tale. And you will dash the cup from your lips" (Letter IV)
Victor's Passions
"Natural philosophy is the genius that has regulated my fate; (...) predilection for that science"
"It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn(...) the physical secrets of the world"
Victor's ambitions
Be Praised
Creating Life

Secrets of the Nature
Secrets of Life
Secrets of Death
Frankenstein: The creator becomes the creature
• “One of the phenomena which had peculiarly attracted my attention was the structure of the human frame, and, indeed, any animal endued with life. Whence, I often asked myself, did the principle of life proceed?”
(Frankenstein, IV)
“Like one who, on a lonely road,
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And, having once turned round, walks on,
And turns no more his head;
Because he knows a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread.”
[Coleridge’s ‘Ancient Mariner.’] (SHELLEY, p 65)
Science: Glory VS. Usefulness
"Pursuing these reflections, I thought that if I could bestow animation upon lifeless matter, I might in process of time(...) renew life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption" (Frankenstein, IV)
From death to life
"To examine the causaes of life, we must first have recourse to death" (Frankenstein, IV)
"My attention was fixed upon every object the most insupportable to delicacy of the human feelings. I saw how the fine form of man was degraded and wasted; I beheld the corruption o death succeed to the blooming cheek of life; I saw how the worm inherited the wonders of the eye and brain" (Frankenstein, IV)
The Monster's Process
• “I collected bones from charnel-houses and disturbed, with profane fingers, the tremendous secrets of the human frame. In a solitary chamber, or rather cell, at the top of the house, and separated from all the other apartments by a gallery and staircase, I kept my workshop of filthy creation; my eyeballs were starting from their sockets in attending to the details slaughter-house furnished many of my materials; and often did my human nature turn with loathing from which perpetually increased, I brought my work near to a conclusion.” (Frankenstein , IV)
Victor: a megalomaniac?
• “After days and nights of incredible labour and fatigue, I succeeded in (...) bestowing animation upon lifeless matter.(...)I was surprised that among so many men of genius who had directed their inquiries towards the same science, that I alone should be reserved to discover so astonishing a secret.” (Frankenstein, IV)
Playing God
• “When I found so astonishing a power placed within my hands, I hesitated a long time concerning the manner in which I should employ it. Although I possessed the capacity of bestowing animation, yet to prepare a frame for the reception of it, with all its intricacies of fibres, muscles, and veins, still remained a work of inconceivable difficulty and labour. I doubted at first whether I should attempt the creation of a being like myself, or one of simpler organization; but my imagination was too much exalted by my first success to permit me to doubt of my ability to give life to an animal as complete and wonderful as man.” (SHELLEY, P 59)
What the Creature Found
Sorrows of Werther

Paradise Lost- by Milton
Lives - Plutarch
by Goethe
Sublime feelings
Human glory
Love the virtue & hate the vice
& Eve
Envy and Wrath
“I was now about to form another being, of whose dispositions I was alike ignorant; she might become ten thousand times more malignant than her mate, and delight, for its own sake, in murder and wretchedness. He had sworn to quit the neighbourhood of man, and hide himself in deserts; but she had not; and she, who in all probability was to become a thinking and reasoning animal, might refuse to comply with a compact made before her creation. They might even hate each other; (...) Even if they were to leave Europe, and inhabit the deserts of the new world, yet one of the first results of those sympathies for which the daemon thirsted would be children, and a race of devils would be propagated upon the earth who might make the very existence of the species of man a condition precarious and full of terror.” Chapter 21.
“Slave, I before reasoned with you, but you have proved yourself unworthy of my condescension. Remember that I have power; you believe yourself miserable, but I can make you so wretched that the light of day will be hateful to you. You are my creator, but I am your master - obey!” Chapter 21.
“Great God! why did I not then expire! Why am I here to relate the destruction of the best hope and the purest creature of earth? She was there, lifeless and inanimate, thrown across the bed, her head hanging down, and her pale and distorted features half covered by her hair. Everywhere I turn I see the same figure--her bloodless arms and relaxed form flung by the murderer on its bridal bier.” Chapter 23
“When I run over the frightful catalogue of my sins, I cannot believe that I am the same creature whose thoughts were once filled with sublime and transcendent visions of the beauty and the majesty of goodness. But it is even so; 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.” Chapter 24
Contemporary Reception
References & Dialogues
love & true friendship
reflection of himself
"The world was to me a secret which I desired to divine" (Frankenstein, II)
"So much has been done, exclaimed the soul of Frankenstein- more, far more, will I achieve; treading in the steps already marked"(Frankenstein, III
Full transcript