Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The monumental work of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, often believed to be the first work of science fiction. In this episode we discuss the 1813 version. Victor Frankenstein studies natural philosophy and dabbles in alternative methods that culminates in Frankenstein’s creation of the fiend. The fiend runs away, learns, grows and only when rejected by the world does the fiend return to his creator. The fiend demands Frankenstein to create a lover, a partner to share the horrors of the world, but Frankenstein rejects this notion. The conflict escalates as the fiend kills those closest to Frankenstein and Frankenstein turns to attempting to kill the fiend.
- The era Frankenstein was written in. In 1813 Western Europe transitioned from the Enlightenment to Romanticism while. Artistically the novel was very young: Jane Austin, Charles Dickens, Washington Irving were the contemporary writers of this time. The formalized novel written by
- The framing of horror – how horror is written within the timeframe. Shelley utilizes a framing device of notes from a ship’s captain. This framing device is similar those found in the works of Washington Irving: found stories as a means to hint at this story potentially being real. This tradition of found stories continues to this day in horror through the motif of found footage.
- Is Frankenstein not given enough credit? Frankenstein created a fiend, a monster, and does that make him a villain? Frankenstein portrays himself as a villain, but is that fair? Frankenstein overreached, made a mistake, and then when the monster returns Frankenstein decides to destroy his own creation. The fiend is self-aware. The fiend decides to become a monster, while Frankenstein gives up everything to make right his errors with the fiend better.
- The contemporary nature of story, neither the fiend nor Frankenstein are acting strictly for nefarious reasons.
- Theme: Are you responsible for that which you create? Jurassic Park sees John Hammond bring dinosaurs back from the dead. These dinosaurs are beasts and do not have a choice to be evil. The fiend makes a conscious choice to kill. If the fiend is able to make ethical choices, does the responsibility fall on Frankenstein? When does a child become an adult?
- How Frankenstein, the story, has been morphed through over time. How there is a cultural expectation of what Frankenstein, the story, is supposed to be.
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