Use Of Fire As A Motif In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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On March 11th, 1818, a classic novel was created that would remain popular for centuries to come. Frankenstein, written by Mary Shelley, depicts a story about a man, named Victor Frankenstein, who lost his sanity to create a monster that would ultimately be the cause of his own destruction. Throughout the novel, Shelley uses an extensive list of rhetorical strategies. One underlying strategy that she uses is a motif, or theme. Shelley uses fire as a motif to show the destructive path of Victor and his creation from beginning to the end. The first indication that Shelley uses fire as a motif is the subtitle of the novel, “The Modern Prometheus”. “The Modern Prometheus” refers to the god Prometheus, the god assigned to make mankind. When Prometheus…show more content…
(Shelley 26)
Witnessing this natural phenomenon sparked Frankenstein’s pursuit in an unknown science. The fire and electricity that once inspired Victor Frankenstein, was the one factor that gave his wretched creation life. When he infused life into his creature he began a dark, treacherous path for his abomination and himself. After Frankenstein realized what he has done, he disowns his brute. Feeling unwanted, the savage runs away and finds shelter in a shed attached to the De Lacy family’s cottage. After he reveals himself to the cottagers, the run away, frightened at the sight of him. This releases the rage inside the beast. As the rage over takes him, the monster sets the cottage on fire. This same rage would later cause him to kill the loved ones of his master, Frankenstein. Near the closing of the novel, the creature sneaks into Robert Walton’s ship and sees his creator dead. Feeling like the cause of his owners death, “the creature blames itself, planning to build a bonfire and commit suicide as penance for its actions” (Segal 861). The very element that gave the creature life, was the one component that took his life away, ending all the rage and
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