Frankenstein as a Novel About Power and Creation

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Religion is an extraordinary form of awareness pertaining to the world, based on the belief in the existence of one or more gods. It incorporates a set of moral and ethical attitudes, which are usually reflected in sacred texts. Religion appears in the form of different beliefs that accompany the emergence of mankind. It is an aspect in many pieces of literature that can easily be overlooked or misinterpreted. While many people view Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as a horror novel, it actually has more of a religious background due to the inclusion of Paradise Lost. Without any elaboration, it is not easy to detect any similarities between Frankenstein and John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Frankenstein, a novel about power and creation, tells a story of a young man named Victor Frankenstein who longs to bring life into the world after he has lost his mother. One night, after many years of trying, Victor builds a living creature from different body parts that he sewed together. 

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Victor’s plan quickly backfires after he abandons his Creature due to its repulsive presence, prompting the Creature to seek revenge. On the other hand, Paradise Lost is an epic about Adam and Eve, how they came to be created and how they lost their place in the Garden of Eden, also known as Paradise. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the author references John Milton’s biblical story, Paradise Lost in order to create a parallel between the characters. Examples such as the Creature and Victor Frankenstein prove to mirror those in Paradise Lost, making Frankenstein a story based off of religion.

To start we have the multifaceted Monster. This Creature represents more than one character from Paradise Lost, such as Adam and Satan. Adam is the first human, the father of our race, and the caretaker of the Garden of Eden. The creature feels a connection to Adam for many reasons. “Like Adam, I was apparently united by no link to any other being in existence; but his state was far different from mine in every other respect” (Shelly 116). In other words, the creature and Adam were the sole creations from their creators and had no one with whom to share their existences. When the creature was created, he was the first of his kind just like Adam was. 

Another reason the Creature feels such a strong connection with Adam is because their creators cast them away. When Adam betrayed God’s trust he was discarded, like the creature who Victor abandoned as soon as he saw its true appearance. They both shared this loss of a father figure which explains the Creatures attachment to Adam. Finally, both Adam and the Creature long for a companion. Adam is granted Eve but is then taken away from her after disobeying God. The Creature convinces Frankenstein to make him a companion, but then watches him rip her apart. It is evident that Mary Shelley included a lot of comparisons between the Creature and Adam to emphasize the story of creation as well as the role of religion in the novel.

As much as the Creature is Adam, there is also evidence that justifies him as Satan. In Paradise Lost, God originally created Satan to be good but the character soon fell from the good graces of his creator and became evil. The Creature went through the same process when his creator and everyone around him rejected him. 

Shelley introduces this idea when the Creature finds several books and obtains knowledge from them; one being Paradise Lost. Reading Milton allows the Creature to realize that he is, in fact, a monster. “Evil thenceforth became my good,” he swears to himself while on a killing spree, as he knowingly quotes Satan’s speech from Paradise Lost: “all Good to me is lost… Evil be thou my Good.” The similarities between his predicament and that of Satan are startling. 

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