The Prometheus Myth and Science in Frankenstein

How does the subtitle "The Modern Prometheus" assist Shelley in pointing out the underlying significance of her story?

Mary Shelley's work Frankenstein is a symbolic representation of the doubts and fears she, and her contemporaries, shared regarding the advances of science in the nineteenth century (Britton, 2-3). In order for Shelley to fully convey her sentiment about the dangers of scientific aspiration, she employs the myth of Prometheus and uses it as a subtitle to Frankenstein. In doing this Shelley actively, yet subtly, encourages the reader to draw comparisons between Prometheus and Frankenstein, aiding them in fully coming to understand the implications of Frankenstein's actions, and how he embodies Shelley's warning concerning an over-emphasis on the value of science in society.

Located in both Roman and Greek mythology, Prometheus is attributed with the creation of man, and later for stealing fire from the heavens in order to provide man with warmth and the ability to cook food (Pontikis, 1-3). Prometheus' ambition leads him on a journey to better the lives of the men he has created and loves, but in doing so he defies Zeus' commands and is consequently seriously punished for his actions...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 725 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4217 literature essays, 1406 sample college application essays, 171 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in