Paradise Lost in Frankenstein Flashcard Example #44734

Who wrote Paradise Lost?
John Milton
When was it published?
1667
What was Milton’s intention for Paradise Lost?
“justify the ways of God to men”
How does this link to Frankenstein?
This links with Frankenstein’s justification to Walton in his narrative and the creature’s justification to Frankenstein.
Story of Paradise Lost
– It is the story of the creation of Adam and Eve and how they fell from Paradise/Eden.
– It also tells the story of how Lucifer/Satan, who was an angel in heaven, rebelled and led his fellow angels in a war against God. Satan tempts others to do wrong, persuading Adam and Eve to eat the fruit from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
– Satan is exiled from heaven and takes revenge, bringing about the downfall of man.
Why is Paradise Lost relevant?
– An extract of Paradise Lost makes up the epigraph of the novel.
– The creature reads Paradise Lost so it influences how he understands the human world he encounters.
Frankenstein as God
– In the epigraph, Adam criticises God for ejecting him from Eden as punishment for eating the fruit from the tree. Similarly, the monster (who can be seen as Frankenstein’s son) blames Frankenstein for his downfall.
– God and Frankenstein can both be seen as deserting their creatures and exiling them.
– Milton frequently refers to God as ‘the Victor’ which may have influenced Shelley’s choice of naming for Victor.
– God created man with freewill and so it can be argued that God does not accept responsibility for Satan. Similarly, Victor refuses to accept responsibility for the creature.
Opposition to Frankenstein as God
Milton reminds us that God’s authority comes from the fact that he is the author of creation, creating humans from ‘dust’. Whereas, Frankenstein created the monster from “bones from charnel houses” so used human resources in his creation.
Frankenstein as Satan
– Satan is ambitious, like Frankenstein, as both are not happy with their current life.
– Frankenstein and Satan isolate themselves in order to fulfil an ambition.
– Satan disregards God’s laws when convincing Eve to eat the forbidden fruit by claiming that God was testing their courage. Likewise, Frankenstein does not respect God’s laws.
– Satan’s actions bring pain, sin and death to humanity, as do Frankenstein’s actions.
Frankenstein as Prometheus
Prometheus rebels against God, just as Frankenstein opposes God too through creating the monster.
The creature as Adam
– In the epigraph, Adam criticises God for ejecting him from Eden as punishment for eating the fruit from the tree. The creature can be associated with Adam because Adam’s sin of eating the fruit is comparable to the monster’s sin of murdering William, after which he is disowned by Frankenstein just as Adam is deserted by God.
– The creature has to face the first part of his life on his own, like Adam.
Opposition to the creature as Adam
– When God sees his creation (Adam), he saw that it was good. However, when Frankenstein sees his creation he is unable to bear it: “unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created.”
– Adam asks his creator for a companion and is given Eve. But the creature’s request for company is not granted.
– Both creators (God and Frankenstein) expect perfection and reject their creatures when they do not live up to this expectation. In Adam’s case, this is when he is tempted by Satan and for the creature; it is when he is not as born as aesthetically pleasing as would have been desired.
The creature as Satan
– Satan tempts Adam to do wrong, just as the creature causes Frankenstein to commit unlawful actions: “I like the arch fiend, bore a hell within me.”
– Satan tries to overcome God, even though he resents God. This links to the monster’s claim: “You are my creator but I am your master.”
– The killing of William and Elizabeth in order to spite his master illustrate the monster’s acts of savagery and violence, mirroring Satan’s actions.
– Satan has fallen and the monster is subhuman, so both are trapped in hierarchical status below their masters.
– Satan and the creature feel deserted by their creators.
– When Satan first sees Earth he feels homeless and excluded, whilst the monster’s sense of exclusion is illustrated when he is abandoned by the De Laceys, particularly when the monster asks: “But where were my friends and relations?”
Opposition to the creature as Satan
– The creature sees even Satan as more fortunate than him, as even Satan has fellow devils: “Satan had his companions, fellow-devils, to admire and encourage him.”
– Satan claims that angels are “self-raised”, denying God’s authority over them as their creator. In contrast, the creature longs for a relationship with Frankenstein.
– Satan recognises that he cannot overcome God (even though he tries) as he is not as powerful, whereas the creature does not accept this hierarchy: “You are my creator, but I am your master.”
Milton’s presentation of Satan
– Satan wants to destroy God because he was cast out of heaven and so seeks revenge.
– Satan’s enemy does not extend to Christians in general, but is limited just to God.
How Milton’s presentation of Satan links to the creature in Frankenstein
– The creature is angry just at Victor, not all humankind.
– Both try to seek revenge for being cast away.
– The monster is subhuman so is below authority (like Satan) which they represent.

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