What does this have to do with Frankenstein? Well, a lot. First, check out "Symbols" for our thoughts on fire. And then come back (we'll wait), and think about how Victor Frankenstein decidedly doesn't take care of the monster the way Prometheus cared for man. And then prepare to have your mind blown when you learn that the philosopher Immanuel Kant calledBen Franklin the "Prometheus of modern times" in reference to his experiments with electricity (source). Franklin —Frankenstein —does that spark (groan) any ideas?
Why Is Frankenstein Modern Prometheus?In Ancient Greek mythology, Prometheus was said to be the wisest of all the Titans. In the form of fire Prometheus is credited with bringing mankind knowledge and enlightenment. Hestole fire from the Gods of Mount Olympus. For acting against the decree of the Gods, who wanted to keep the power of fire to themselves, Prometheus was harshly punished. He was chained to a rock to have his liver eaten out every day by an eagle. Every night his liver wouldgrow back. This was to be his punishment for all of eternity.The full title of Mary Shelley's novel is Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that Mary Shelley was influenced by this tale. Her husband Percy Shelley even began composing his own tale of Prometheus in the form of a poem entitled, Prometheus Unbound. He began composing this work right around the same time that Mary was publishing Frankenstein.Aside from the title, Shelley borrows from the tale of Prometheus a sense of consequence resulting from seeking enlightenment and power. Victor is her modern incarnation of Prometheus. He as Prometheus was, is fascinated by the power of electricity (lightning). We can recall from the narrative the moment when he becomes captivated by its fantastical power.It is from this power, that he has equipped himself with, that the inner torture he will suffer from the use of it stems. Immediately following the creation if the creature, Victor is ill with disgust for what he has done. His torture mirrors that of Prometheus'; undying and eternal. From the beginning of the novel, when Victor warns Walton of the consequences of his quest, to the conclusion when Victor again reiterates the misfortunes he has suffered as a result of his curiosity, Mary Shelley mimics the Prometheus tale. Perhaps, this is why she saw it as a fitting subtitle.GALVANİSMThe effect was named after the scientist Luigi Galvani, who investigated the effect of electricity on dissected animals in the 1780s and 1790s. In 1786, he discovered that, when a frog's legs are touched by both a copper probe and a piece of iron at the same time, they then twitch just as if an electric current were present. He originally attributed this to a vital fluid (an old theory of biology that is no longer accepted by science). He later changed his