Allusions in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
An allusion is a rhetorical device that makes a reference to a literacy work that is outside the text being read. They are used to further explain contents that normally would have insufficient information in the text itself. In the gothic novel Frankenstein, Mary Shelley weaves an intricate web of allusions through her characters’ expedient desires for knowledge. Both the actions of Victor Frankenstein and his creation allude to various mythological tales. Some widely seen references include the stories of Prometheus, Hercules, and Icarus and Daedalus.
The title of Shelley’s novel is an allusion to the story of Prometheus. Prometheus is a titan who offended Zeus by supplying mankind with fire. As a result, he was sentenced to spend eternity chained to a mountain, having his liver eaten by an eagle every day. His story parallels to Victor’s life. Victor gives mankind a way to create life, but without the consent of God. His actions go against the will of God even though that was not his original intent. His act of playing God inexpiably caused him to suffer greatly. His entire family was decimated by death in order to satisfy the creation’s desire to win his father’s love. Victor was meant to suffer for his decisions to go against God and bring something into the world that wasn’t meant to be created.
The next allusion in Frankenstein is the tale of Hercules. Throughout the novel, the creation and Hercules a great number of similarities. Being a demi-god, Hercules was not accepted by the gods or humans, making him an outcast. The creation is the same way. He was always out of place and wandering in the shadows. Another similarity between the two is their remorse. Hercules once went mad and murdered six people. He deeply regretted his actions and performed ten labors to be forgiven. The creation also murdered six people, some purposely and some indirectly. Afterwards, he feels ashamed of his actions .The last...