Role Of Novels And Alchemy In Mary Shelley's Life

1033 Words5 Pages
Kiera J. Perryman
Instructor Toni J. Weeden
Honors Senior English
17 November 2017
The role of novels and alchemy in Victor’s life
Not everything presents itself to be obvious. Throughout the first portion of the “Frankenstein” novel, several notable scientists names were mentioned several times. Their interests and pursuits in their lifetimes were subtly referenced towards Victor’s story and his influence to reanimate life. Mary Shelley was an educated woman, which not many readers would know unless they dove deeper into the story of said scientists.
One of the most alluded scientists in Shelley’s novels is none other than Cornelius Agrippa. Agrippa is first mentioned in Chapter 2 (34) of the novel and continues to be a reoccurring name throughout
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Their foundational goal of transformation can easily translate into Victor’s desire to improve the human life, but does his fascination involve something deeper?
Agrippa was a sentient being well over 200 years before “Frankenstein” takes place. He played many roles during his lifetime, including a philosopher, alchemist, physician, secret agent, polymath, soldier, and occult writer. Agrippa became enticed by the wonders of occultism at a very young age, allegedly joining a secret society in France at the age of twenty. This supposed fact relates to Victor’s early interests in electricity and resurrection at the age of thirteen. Agrippa also connects to Victor because of his attraction to power. One branch of magic that Agrippa concerns himself with is ceremonial magic. A fellow researcher of Agrippa’s work, Chris Miles, concluded that the
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Magnus lived from before 1200 to 1278. His worked ranged from theology and philosophy to psychology and the natural sciences. He argued many times that Christianity and the experimental sciences were not bitter towards one another. Magnus mainly wanted to tell society that alchemy was not the devil’s magic. In his commentary “De Mineralibus”, Magnus refers to the powers of stones. He believed that stones had magical or occult properties, but little evidence has shown why he believed so. This became known as “The Philosopher’s Stone”, a legendary alchemical substance capable of turning base metals into gold. One paragraph after the novel introduces Magnus, the Stone is mentioned. “Under the guidance of my new preceptors I entered with the greatest diligence into the search of the philosopher’s stone and the elixir of life.” (Shelley 36). The Stone was rumored to be true, which may have sparked Victor’s interest in finding
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