Frankenstein: Mary Shelley’s influences

A    Coleridge said that ‘a willing suspension of disbelief’ is an essential ingredient of fantasy and she uses this in the beginning by setting this fantastical tale in the ice-bound arctic.

B    Feminist Mother who died a few days after Shelley’s own birth.

C     Myths– obviously the Prometheus myth but also Faust who sells his soul to the devil for the secrets of the universe; also the Garden of Eden and the Fall of Man – the hovel in the woods?; and Paradise Lost by Milton in which Satan is banished by God for leading a rebellion.

D    The scenery – she was excited by the Alpine setting

E    Her husband

F    Rousseau – who said men’s nature is harmless but that men are made evil by society – a new idea!

G    Science and the supposed power of electricity – at this stage held an almost alchemical fascination.

Shelley’s purposes

Irony and dramatic irony are used to help the reader take a critical view of the narrators

The evil within man?

see the ‘meaning of the monster’

Parent- child relationships

As a political tale

Moral tale


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