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Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus


Added Tue, 05/12/2017
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Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus

This Gothic novel by the English writer Mary Shelley was first published anonymously in 1818. The novel tells about the living dead, created artificially from parts of corpses in the laboratory of scientist Victor Frankenstein. The image of the living dead in this work can not be called a "zombie", since this term will be introduced into world literature much later, but it will serve as the basis for ideas about zombies for several decades to come, both in literature and in cinema.

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The novel "Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus" (Mary Shelley, 1818) is considered one of the key ones in creating the image of a revived corpse, despite the fact that the monster differs from the classic zombies or the pawned dead at least in that it was made up of different parts of human bodies and revived with the help of science

The story begins in St. Petersburg and Arkhangelsk, where the English Explorer Walton goes to the North pole in order to map these unknown lands. Among the ice, his ship picks up an emaciated European named Victor Frankenstein. With a little strength, Frankenstein tells Walton the story of his life and how He got to these places.

Frankenstein was born into a wealthy family of aristocrats from Geneva. Since childhood, Victor was interested in everything mysterious and inexplicable and, as a teenager, studied the works of famous alchemists like Paracelsus and Cornelius Agrippa. After his mother's death, his father sent Viktor to the prestigious University of Ingolstadt. There, Victor, under the influence of the science teacher Waldman, became interested in the cause of the origin of life and death. After two years of research, Victor found a way to create living matter from non-living matter and used this discovery to create and animate a giant. The new-found creature frightened Victor by its very appearance, causing the scientist to flee the laboratory in horror and causing him to have a fever attack.

After recovering, Victor tries to forget what happened, but after a while he finds out that his younger brother William was killed. Victor returns to Geneva, where at night he notices a monster he created in the forest. The court finds guilty In the death of William Frankenstein's maid Justine Moritz, who found the boy's medallion. Despite the fact that no one believes in her guilt, she is executed. Victor realizes that the real killer is the monster he created.

The monster meets Victor and tells him that he learned to speak thanks to a family in whose barn he lived and in which a man taught a foreign bride French. Trying to make friends with the blind father of the family, he was beaten by family members because of his terrible appearance. The monster found the diary of Frankenstein in the raincoat that he took from the laboratory, in which he described the process of its creation, and hated its Creator. Driven from everywhere because of its ugliness, the monster accidentally stumbled upon William and, finding out who he was, killed him.

The monster demands that Victor create a female bride for him. After a long argument, he agrees and retires to the island, but, thinking about the consequences of such an Alliance, as a result of which the Earth could be inhabited by many monsters, destroys the body of a female creature. The monster vows revenge in a rage and kills Victor's best friend, Henri Clerval.

Back in Geneva, a depressed Victor marries his childhood friend Elizabeth Lavenza, but on their wedding night, a monster enters her boudoir and strangles her. Elizabeth's death affects Victor and his father, who soon dies. Having thus lost his entire family, Frankenstein vows revenge and sets off after the monster in a chase that leads the unfortunate scientist to the North pole, where the monster, which has supernatural strength and endurance, easily escapes.

Volton, determined not to risk like Victor for the sake of gaining knowledge, turns the ship back. On the way, Frankenstein dies. In the cabin with the body of the scientist, Walton discovers a monster who says that he is sorry for the atrocities committed, and decides to go further North, where he intends to commit suicide. After uttering this oath, the creature flees the ship.

Phenomena in artwork: Zombies

Despite the fact that the monster is different from the classic zombie of the dead Zaloznykh or at least the fact that it was made from different parts of the human body and quickened with the help of science, this work is considered one of the key in creating the image of the reanimated corpse.

Description of the appearance of the monster in the book the following:

Since the collection of the smallest particles is very slow to work, I retreated from his original idea and decided to create a giant about eight feet tall and correspondingly powerful addition.


Was the hour of midnight; sadly the rain pounded at the window; a candle almost burnt out; and so, with her uncertain light, I saw opened dim geltu eyes; the creature began to breathe convulsively twitch.

How to describe my feelings at this terrible sight, like to portray the poor, created by me with such incredible difficulty? Meanwhile, the members of it were proportionate, and I picked it up for him, pretty features. Beautiful — great God! Yellow skin too tight that clings to his muscles and veins; the hair was black, shiny and long, and his teeth white as pearls; but the worse was the contrast with watery eyes, almost indistinguishable in color from the eye sockets, dry skin and a narrow slit of the black mouth.


It's impossible to watch without a shudder. No mummy, restored to life, could not be worse than this monster

The creature was able to climb a steep cliff, jump over cracks in the ice, etc., that is possessed of great lightness and great strength.

The description of the appearance and abilities of beings ends, but is of interest a large part of the work in which the story is told from the face of the monster. He describes its development from the moment of realization that he was alive before the development of thought processes, the capacity to build sentences, write, read and seek answers to philosophical questions.

Here we will not indulge in arguments, who is more the monster: the ugly animated corpse with love and kindness in the heart or its Creator, who had renounced his brainchild due to his creepy appearance. The website is not devoted to this.

It is unlikely that it influenced ideas about zombies that could exist in real life, because the further development of walking dead has gone the other way. However, this story in some extent can be linked to the phenomena of Bigfoot (the giant humanoid creature) and brownie (a creature that helps with the housework).

Translated by «Yandex.Translator»

Phenomena in artwork: Brownie

In the novel Frankenstein acted as a kind of spirit guide for a family members in whose barn he lived and studied. He brought them firewood from the forest and helped as he could on the farm undetected. In the text you can find, for example, the following mention:

One night, sneaking in, as usual, into the woods, where I produce their own food and collecting firewood for my friends, I found a leather bag in which was some clothes and some books.

This behavior is attributed since ancient times the goblins.

Translated by «Yandex.Translator»

Phenomena in artwork: Yeti

Part of the narrative, which describes the life of Frankenstein monster in the forest, can be attributed to the phenomenon of Yeti: a giant humanoid creature dwells in the forest and attacks people living in the area.

Translated by «Yandex.Translator»

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