Frankenstein (full title: Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus) is a novel by Mary Shelley, originally published in 1818, with a 1823 reprint without Shelley's involvement and a third edition in 1831, this time with significant edits from the author. It is often considered the very first Science Fiction novel, projecting what was cutting edge science of its day (electricity causes muscle to move) to a logical extreme.
The novel tells the story of a scientist named Victor Frankenstein who unlocks the secrets to Creating Life, and uses this knowledge to create an artificial man, larger and stronger than most mortals, by means that he declines to describe in his narrative. While he is initially triumphant with his success, a few moments of observing the flailing and moaning patchwork being leaves Victor disgusted by and fearful of his creation. He suddenly realizes the full ramifications of his success and is horrified; he abandons the creature in the castle and flees to his family's estate.
In his absence, the Creature is forced to come to grips with suddenly finding itself alive and alone without explanation or guidance. He learns about humanity by watching a family cottage from afar, but is again driven off when he attempts to offer his friendship- one of many bad run-ins with humanity which leave the monster bitter and cynical. Eventually, the Creature comes to resent his creator, whom he views as his father, for abandoning the Creature to a life of torment, and decides to come home to seek vengeance against Frankenstein...
The subtitle, A Modern Prometheus, compares Victor Frankenstein to the Greek titan Prometheus, who brought the secret of fire from Mount Olympus to mortal men, reflecting on Frankenstein's spiritual would-be theft of the secret to creating life - but like Prometheus, Frankenstein also came to regret his transgression note . Many would say that Frankenstein was the ultimate warning of Science Is Bad, though similar stories were common throughout the industrial revolution. More feminist interpretations point to the attempt to remove feminine influence from the act of creating life, exemplified when Frankenstein destroys the mate that he had agreed to make for the Creature, and the subsequent death of his own fiancee by the Creature's hand. Finally, some point to it as the Ur Example of the entire genre of Science Fiction.
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