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Category Archives: Frankenstein

John Milton’s “Paradise Lost”

John Milton

John Milton was a 17th century English poet. He is considered the most significant English author after William Shakespeare. He is best known for Paradise Lost, an epic poem that is considered to be the greatest in English.

Paradise Lost is an epic poem in blank verse. The first version, that consisted of ten thousand books with over seven thousand lines of verse, was published in 1667. Later on in 1674, a second edition was published that was arranged into twelve books with minor revisions. Critics claim this is Milton’s greatest work and sealed his reputation as one of the greatest English poets of his time.

The poem is about the Fall of Man. It covers the Biblical story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and Satan’s temptation. Milton’s purpose as stated in Book I is to “justify the ways of God to man.”

The poem has two plots: One focusing on Adam and Eve and the other focusing on Satan.

The story of Satan: Opens in Hell after he and the other rebel angels have been defeated and banished. Satan was formerly the most beautiful of all angels in Heaven. He held a rebellion to try to take the control from God and that is what ultimately got him banished to Hell along with his followers.  He is very cunning and persuasive throughout the whole poem. He convinces his followers to continue on with the rebellion even after their defeat because he claims that God rules as a tyrant and and all the angels should rule as gods. Satan decides to explore the new world God has created to seek revenge. God sees Satan flying towards the world and foretells the fall of man and the Son of God offers to sacrifice himself to the good of man. Satan finds his way to the Garden of Eden.

The story of Adam and Eve: Adam was the first human created by God and demands a mate. God creates Eve from one of Adam’s ribs and shaped into a female version of him. Adam and Eve rule over the creatures of the world and live in the Garden of Eden. Adam is infatuated with Eve which will eventually lead to their downfall. Eve is nothing like a traditional “good wife”. She refuses to be submissive to Adam and has more intelligence and curiosity than him. She loves Adam but feels suffocated by his constant presence. She convinces Adam to work in difference parts of the garden for a day and this is when Satan steps in and tempts Eve to sin against God. Satan, appearing as a serpent, finds Eve alone and convinces her to eat off the one tree God commanded they stay away from. She does it, and shortly after, Adam does as well. The Son of God descends to Earth to judge them and has mercy on them and delays their sentence of death. Satan and his followers are turned to serpents. Adam has a vision of the future and he sees everything that will happen to mankind until the Great Flood. In his obvious concern, the angel, Michael, tells him of the potential redemption to humankind through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. Then, Adam and Eve are sent away from the Garden of Paradise.

Paradise Lost related to Frankenstein: Victor and the creature reunite on Mount Blanc and the creature tells Victor, “I am thy creature: I ought to be thy Adam”. The creature, once abandoned by Victor, begins teaching himself and one of the books he read was Paradise Lost.  “The creature draws parallels between his existence and the story told in the poem, as well as contrasting his life with the poem” (mtholyoke,edu). Frankenstein blames his loss of innocence on the acts he had committed, as Adam had done.  Victor resembles Satan because he tries to take over God’s role as the creator of the universe. He wants to make creatures that will worship, honor and follow him as a God.

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Posted by on February 12, 2015 in Frankenstein

 

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Plutarch’s Parallel lives

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Parallel Lives by Plutarch

A collection of paired biographies that are followed by a short comparison on one famous Greek and one famous Roman.  It is intended to show model patterns of behavior by comparing and contrasting the good and bad between the two individuals

The occupations of the men in the book vary.  Some include: soldiers, legislatures, orators and statesmen

There are 22  pairs of biographies/comparisons and 4 single biographies surviving today.

Written in some time in the 1st century

Each biography contains the information about the subjects birth, youth, achievements and death.

Unique work because it has been used to fill gaps left in history with its special information.  The work contains interesting and rare facts about numerous things; like Alexander the Great, Numa Pompilius and the Roman Calendar.

English translate- Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans 

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The monster finds a sack of abandoned books in the forest. One of the three books that he finds is Parallel Lives.

This book was picked to enrich the Monster in a certain way and also enrich future content of the novel with his new found knowledge.

What the monster learns from Parallel Lives are his “High Thoughts”:

  • subjects  in the book are idealistic men found in early republics, so he has positive figures to aspire too
  • learns about towns and cities filled with different types of men and women. So he can learn about human society.
  • learns about vicious behavior from some of the subjects in Parallel Lives, and that makes the monster want to be more like the noble and good men.  This shows that the monster is not all bad and has a pure heart.
 
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Posted by on February 12, 2015 in Frankenstein

 

Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin

Mary Wollstonecraft

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Eighteenth century writer, philosopher, and women’s rights advocate

Born on April 27, 1759

Died September 10, 1797

Married to William Godwin

Mother of Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein

She wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Women, a book where she argues that women are not naturally inferior to men and that they only seem that way due to a lack in education.

Considered to be the first ever feminist

A lot of her feminist views came from her abusive and alcoholic father.

She died in a complicated childbirth of Mary Shelley

“I do not wish women to have power over men; but over themselves” -Mary Wollstonecraft

  William Godwin 

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Born March 3, 1756

Died April 7, 1836

English journalist, political philosopher, and novelist

Husband of Mary Wollstonecraft

Father of Mary Shelley

Godwin is most famous for two books:

An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, an attack on political institutions.

Things as They Are; or, The Adventures of Caleb Williams, an attack on aristocratic privilege.

First man to write a mystery/thriller novel

Relationship to Frankenstein

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Both parents had a noticeable impact on the writing of Frankenstein.

Both parents were writers who’s works influenced Mary Shelley.

William Godwin tutored Mary Shelley and taught her the ways of his intellectual mind.

Both parents wanted to offer some valuable lessons to Mary, so they did so in their actions when raising her.

Even before Mary was born they put forth actions to better her life.

http://education-portal.com/academy/lesson/mary-wollstonecraft-and-william-godwin-politics-and-essays.html

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2015 in Frankenstein

 

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Romanticism and Gothic Literature

Romanticism is defined as a rejection of the ideas of order, calm, harmony, balance, idealization, and rationality.  It is a period of literature that spanned from 1800-1855.  Romanticism occurred in England, Germany, France, and Russia and there were many novels written in these countries.  The collection of poems Lyrical Ballads (1798) by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge seemed to spark Romanticism in England.  In Germany, it was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and his 1774 novel The Sorrows of Young Werther that influenced the youth into trying to imitate the protagonist of the novel.  Romanticism was somewhat later in France than it had been in the rest of Europe.  However, François-René de Chateaubriand and his novella Rene became one of the first major breakthroughs of Romanticism in France.

Through Romanticism, Gothic Literature came to be.                                                                                                                                                                    

 

Gothic Literature is a genre of literature that combines Romanticism, horror, and fiction.  Some of the novels written that are considered Gothic Literature are  Frankenstein (1818), The Vampyre (1820), Faust (1846), Wagner and the Wehr-Wolf (1847), The Necromancer (1857), and Dracula (1897). Some of the authors of Gothic literature are Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, G.W.M. Reynolds, Elizabeth Gaskell The Gothic Genre of literature delivered many of the horrible creatures, such as the vampire/vampyre, werewolf, wizard of the dead, golem, zombies, and such that “go bump in the night” from legend to formal literature.

       

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanticism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gothic_fiction

http://www.virtualsalt.com/gothic.htm

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/508675/Romanticism

 

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2015 in Frankenstein

 

The Sorrows of Werther

The Sorrows of Werther is loosely an autobiography by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe. It was published in 17774 anonymously. It was revised and republished in 1787. ¨The novel coincided with what has come to be known as the Age of Sensibility, whose flames it helped to fan. it is an epistolary novel, told in Werther’s voice and from his perspective, and there is little in the way of plot. Charlotte, the oldest of six children, is left an orphan by the sudden death of her mother, and she marries the sensible, if somewhat plodding, Albert as a means of holding the family together. Onto the scene comes the young student Werther who is befriended by the couple but then falls passionately in love with Lotte. His infatuation progressively deepens to a point of desperation in which he commits suicide. The novel was said to be responsible for making suicide fashionable among the young men of Europe¨ (http://knarf.english.upenn.edu/V2notes/werter.html).

How does the creature feel about The Sorrows of Werter?

¨The Sorrows of Werther, this book is basically about a man who had deep feelings for a woman but were never returned. She marries another wealthy man and Werther, unable to see his lover marrying another man, takes his own life. The monster feels an unrequited love from the villagers and even mankind. He weeps as Werter dies in the book. There aren’t any other characters that the monster can identify with in his life, only this fictional character that seems to share his pain¨ (http://www.gradesaver.com/frankenstein/q-and-a/how-does-the-creature-feel-about-the-sorrows-of-werter-in-what-ways-is-he-different-from-the-characters-in-the-book-60141).

Themes of The Sorrows of Young Werther

  • Happiness – Despair is just around the corner from happiness. Werther states in a letter ¨Must is be so that whatever makes man happy must later become the source of his misery?¨
  • The Limits of Language- By appealing to the new, extremely subjective, anti-language of feeling, Goethe loses the precision of rational grammar and punctuation, but gains the power to express the irrational.
 
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Posted by on February 12, 2015 in Frankenstein

 

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Bio-Electricity Galvani Vs. Volta

Bio-Electricity Galvani Vs. Volta

Bio-electricity is the electricity present in life forms used to send signals to and from muscles, organs, and the brain. Today it is referred to bioelectromagnetics. Luigi Galvani discovered the electrical properties of life when he completed a circuit with a frogs legs and observed a twitching in the muscles of legs. Galvani conducted many tests analyzing the reactions of muscles to electricity.

Galvani published his findings calling the phenomena animal electricity. His findings gained immediate attention from his peers. Allesandro Volta was amazed by the finding and decided to recreate the experiments. Volta did not yield the same conclusion as Luigi Galvani. Volta insisted that the electrical current was created by the friction between the instruments and the frogs skin. Volta publicly challenged Galvani and his ideas. The feud that ensued caused Galvani to retreat from the public eye. Volta figured his “victory” a victory of science. Modern understanding of bio-electricity validate Galvani’s ideas and hypotheses.

Galvani’s discovery of electricity’s effect on dead animals sparked the imaginations of many. People wondered if full reanimation was possible. Could you give life to corpses? Mary Shelley was particularly inspired by this idea. Frankenstein is clearly inspired by bio-electricity and Galvani’s frog leg experiments. Science and Imagination combined to create a monster that was horrifying but believable to the people of the early 19th century.

Modern understanding of bio-electromagnetism shows just how impossible Frankenstein’s Monster is. Modern Medical scientist have discovered how the brain uses electricity to send messages across the body.

Bio-electricity is now a well understood and mundane phenomena. Much of the mystery has been removed from it. Nevertheless, it is easy to understand Mary Shelley’s fascination with it. It sounds and feels very exotic and alien, the perfect subject for a novel.

Video of Galvani’s Experiment

Additional Links

http://www.cerebromente.org.br/n06/historia/bioelectr2_i.htm

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/31078/title/Animal-Electricity–circa-1781/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luigi_Galvani

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2015 in Frankenstein

 

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