The Modern Prometheus is an alternate title for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, suggesting that Victor Frankenstein’s Creature stole the fire of life and received punishment for his transgression. Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein portrays a truly modern Prometheus, one who makes his audience question what it means to exist. In this way, the play leaves the audience stunned, just like the Creature opening his eyes for the first time and drinking in the awesome and horrifying bright lights.
Sources: Frankenstein, or The modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecroft Shelley; “Dracula and Frankenstein a Tale of Two Monsters” by Elizabeth Miller; and class notes.
Frankenstein A Modern Prometheus Essay
Frankenstein is also cast as a Promethean figure, striving against human limitations to bring light and benefit to mankind. While he advises Walton to "Seek happiness in tranquillity and avoid ambition," he nevertheless invites his listeners to share in the grandeur of his dreams, to glory in his ability to create a sublime facsimile of the human self. Frankenstein's fall, after all, results not from his creative enterprise, but from his failure and inability to give love to his creature. Indeed, another central concern of the novel is the conflict of individual desire against that of familial and social responsibility. George Levine writes: " spells out both the horror of going ahead and the emptiness of return. In particular, it spells out the price of heroism." Unlike her mother, , and unlike the Romantic poets generally, Shelley advocates self-denial and social harmony over self-assertion, confrontation, and the individualistic, imaginative act. In her novel she shows that Frankenstein's quest is an act of selfish obsession, one that destroys his domestic relationships. He is contrasted with the mariner Robert Walton, whose concern for others ultimately wins over his ambition to reach the "region of beauty and light."