The Elements Of Alchemy In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was acclaimed throughout Britain, as well as internationally. The gothic science fiction thriller about a scientist who brings the dead to life enthralled readers. While the novel on the surface is gripping, Shelley alludes to many other books and ideas that romantics discussed around the time Frankenstein was written. One of these ideas was alchemy, an ancient science that many deemed worthless. Although alchemy was scientifically incorrect, romantics were fascinated by the mystical elements found within alchemy. Using the ideas of the Philosopher’s Stone, Equivalent Exchange, Homunculi, and “the other”, Mary Shelley takes the outdated properties of alchemy and transforms them to merge the ideals of heaven and earth in Frankenstein.
Romantics were fascinated by the tenets of Alchemy, which had long been scorned by scientists. Alchemy in Europe gained prominence in 1144, with alchemists such as Paracelsus, Nicholas Flamel, and Roger Bacon recording their experiments and producing “recipes” for others to recreate these experiments (Campbell, 3). Professors at the University of Pennsylvania record that “alchemy combined a mystical philosophy with empirical research into the reactions of various substances. The most famous objective of the alchemists throughout their long history is the transmutation of the
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Through the creation of homunculi, the philosopher’s stone, and equivalent exchange, Shelley uses the tenets of alchemy to express Victor’s attempt to merge heaven and Earth. Shelley also uses alchemy to explain why Victor’s downfall is imminent- not because of the “fates”, but because of Victor’s God Complex and payment for the creation of the monster. Frankenstein is a reminder that even though modern science has largely forgotten alchemy, its truths still lurk behind every boundary pushed by

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