Creation And Transgression Essay

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Creation and Transgression
In Paradise Lost Milton presents a myth of creation, one that elaborates upon the accounts of creation depicted in Genesis, namely that God created the heavens and the earth in six days, while also creating man in the image of himself. Milton also includes a myth of transgression in his narrative, one that outlines Satan’s rebellion, the temptation of Adam and Eve, and man’s inevitable Fall. In various ways, Frankenstein echoes Milton’s version of creation and transgression through its presentation of Victor’s creation of the monster and their mutual transgressions. In this essay, I will argue that Shelley synthesises these myths in her narrative so that they are almost indistinguishable, and that in making this
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The epigraph in its original context details Adam’s complaint of injustice against his creator for having been created at all: ‘Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay / To mould me man? Did I solicit thee / From darkness to promote me?’ (PL, X.743-5). The comparison that Shelley thus suggests, between God and Adam in Paradise Lost and Victor and the monster in Frankenstein, is then rather striking, because it compares Milton’s God with the conduct of a man who usurps and abuses godlike powers. Arguably, if God’s conduct in Paradise Lost is even slightly comparable to Victor’s, it could be submitted that Shelley believes religion, and particularly Christianity, has a lot to answer for. Alternatively, Shelley could simply be reproving Victor’s behaviour in his obvious attempts at playing ‘God’, and making that more damning by contrasting Adam with the Monster. As Chris Baldick has remarked, to early readers of Frankenstein it appeared that Shelley was ‘calling into question the most sacred of stories, equating the Supreme Being with a blundering chemistry student.’ In his analysis, Baldick contends that Paradise Lost lays itself open to this kind of impious treatment by Shelley, because ‘by submitting God’s providence to rational debate’ Milton had ‘inadvertently exposed the foundations of his religion to
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