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Frankenstein | Study Guide

Mary Shelley

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Mary Shelley

Year Published

1818; 1831 (revised edition)





Perspective and Narrator

Frankenstein is told through the first-person point of view. Using the first person, Robert Walton, the frame narrator, quotes Victor Frankenstein's narrative, also in the first person, in letters to his sister. In turn, Victor quotes the Monster's narration, also in the first person. Finally, Elizabeth Lavenza and Alphonse Frankenstein relate part of the story through their letters to Victor.


Frankenstein is told in the past tense.

About the Title

The novel's full title is Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. The first part of the title, Frankenstein, refers to Victor Frankenstein, the scientist—not, as is often misunderstood, the Monster he created. The subtitle refers to the Greek god Prometheus, who created the first human. After Zeus (the king of the gods) took fire away from humans, Prometheus returned it to them. As punishment for these actions, Zeus had Prometheus chained to a rock for eternity and sent an eagle to eat his liver. The liver grew back each night, and each day the eagle returned, condemning Prometheus to eternal torture. The subtitle links Victor and Prometheus; both defy heaven in taking the power of creating life, reserved for heaven alone, and suffer tremendously as a result.

This study guide covers the 1818 edition of Frankenstein.


This study guide and infographic for Mary Shelley's Frankenstein offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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