Frankenstein Summary

Frankenstein is the hero of M. Shelley's novel "Frankenstein, or Modern Prometheus" (1818). Written under the direct influence of the English Gothic novel of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, M. Shelley's novel surpasses the works of H. Walpole, A. Radcliffe, and others in many ways in terms of the scale of the humanistic ideas presented in it and the psychological development of characters.

Few Words About Author

It was her first creation, which, as time showed, was the main thing in her life. It combines two powerful traditions. Firstly, it is the tradition of the problem-philosophical novel of the Enlightenment, which was no longer popular in Western Europe, but according to which Shelley, the daughter of a well-known publicist, philosopher, and novelist William Godwin, dreamed of reorganizing life in accordance with the requirements of reason and justice, was upbrought. And, secondly, it is a tradition of the "Gothic" novel that has come into force and was very popular for several decades, it tells about the villains-giants or the unknowable dark forces that threatened humanity with troubles, and even death. Writing the novel was preceded by the author's dream of a revived artificial man.

The Novelty of The Main Idea

The first book of the beginning author, who was also only 19 years old, very rarely becomes the property of national literature and acquires worldwide fame. However, the fate of the story of Mary Shelley piled up this way. Written almost two centuries ago, it left a deep imprint in European and American literature. Today we can safely say that "Frankenstein" stands at the source of the science fiction genre. This narration about the scientist, whose unique invention turned into a tragedy for him and others, anticipated the pessimistic motives of a number of modern science fiction works. Already the idea itself has a grim, but unusually strong energy. It is no accident that in the twentieth century many writers addressed this subject, and the story itself was repeatedly screened. The name of Frankenstein himself, the man who created the evil power with which he could not cope, became a household name. This is a philosophical work that deals with a huge range of topics such as cruelty and humanity, human nature and life after death, the responsibility of the scientist for his creation and the boundaries of knowledge.

Plot Overview

The hero of the novel, modern Prometheus, by definition of Shelley, is a young Swiss scientist Victor Frankenstein, who by nature is endowed with a bright talent and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. He is in love with science. Physics and chemistry excite his imagination. The scientist endowed with remarkable talent and an insatiable thirst for enlightenment seizes the secret of the reproduction of living matter. Scientists who managed to penetrate the secrets of nature, cause his admiration, because they "command the celestial thunder, can reproduce the earthquake and even challenge the unknown world ..." And he also dreams of a scientific feat for the benefit of mankind.

Frankenstein achieves his goal and creates an artificial organism similar to man, but his scientific victory does not bring him joy. He creates a human being with extraordinary strength and endurance, but, struck by his physical ugliness, capable of causing the only horror, hastens to relinquish responsibility for the future destiny of his creation. The powerful giant created by him enters the world with the hope of serving people, making friends with them, but not finding a place among them, becomes an enemy of humanity and brings his first blows upon his creator. The most terrible torture for the creation of Frankenstein is loneliness. As a result, a demon, or a monster, as the author calls it, desperate to find its place among people, rebels against the creator and cruelly avenges him, consistently killing his brother, friend, and his bride.

Frankenstein's brilliant discovery turns against him since the people closest to him die. On his own experience, he is convinced that the omnipotence of reason, which the enlighteners praised, conceals not only good but also evil in itself. Having used his youth to create a demon, he devotes the rest of his life to attempts to destroy him, hoping thus to atone for his guilt before mankind. Long-term wanderings lead him to the North Pole, where the life of the unfortunate researcher breaks down. But with the death of Frankenstein, the meaning of the existence of a monster voluntarily leaving the world that rejected it also disappears.

The Main Idea of the Novel

However, not in repentance is the main idea of Shelley's novel; it is the scientist's responsibility for his discovery. Listening to the passionate confession of the giant created by him and driven by people, Frankenstein understands this: "For the first time I realized the duty of the creator before my creation and realized that I had to ensure his happiness before accusing him of evil." Frankenstein dies, taking with him the secret of his discovery. Created by him the likeness of man, preparing himself a funeral pyre, curses himself and his creator. Faith in the omnipotence of the human mind is combined in Shelley's novel with obvious doubts about the need for decisive, "revolutionary" human intervention in the existing order of things.

This book had a great influence on the human mind, it has a lot of hidden, profound meaning, it reflects the whole truth, which sometimes human society does not notice. This book is not about the skills and ingenuity of the protagonist, this book is about how sometimes society is cruel if it sees something new and unexplored. This book is terrible not by its fiction, but by the reflection of the truth that lives in society. This book is one of those that respond to the reader with heartache because it's scary when a person is not responsible for the one whom he brought into this world.

The Symbolic Meaning of the Novel

If at first the novel "Frankenstein, or modern Prometheus" was perceived as entertaining reading, then over time the image gained a symbolic meaning. Already at the end of 1820, when parliamentary debates in England were about slavery in the West Indies, one of the statesmen compared the desperate slaves with the creation of Frankenstein, who destroyed his creator. Since then, the hero's name has become a household name for a person who has created something with which he cannot cope. Shelley's novel marked the beginning of a fruitful literary tradition, which found its continuation in the work of H. Wells, M.A. Bulgakov, and many other writers.

In the years that have passed since the novel was published, the name of Frankenstein had taken root in English to indicate who was unleashing or using force that escaped from his control. However, the images of the main characters carry in themselves not only the prophetic idea of the possibility of the consequences of scientific progress harmful for mankind but also the author's deep reflections on the nature of man. A terrible monster appears in the novel as a duplicate of the great creator. This "modern Prometheus" knows all the imperfections of the divine creation of man, carrying in himself both creative and destructive impulses.