The Differences Of Victor Frankenstein And Prometheus By James Baldwin

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How could two men with the same goals have different results? This situation can be encountered across the two stories Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and “Prometheus” by James Baldwin. In their respective stories, Victor Frankenstein and Prometheus both want to aid humanity, yet their societal effects are polar opposites. The two are similar in their compassion for mankind, disregard of human limits, and personal downfall, but Prometheus is successful in benefiting society, while Frankenstein ultimately creates a weapon of destruction.

Victor and Prometheus are two characters, who are both compassionate for mankind and are interested in positively affecting the people around them. Victor wants to end the suffering of people from illness
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Frankenstein believes his best method of benefiting mankind is to create a new life form. Victor says, “I became myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter [...] A new species would bless me as its creator and source” (Shelley, 53). Creating life extends beyond scientific studies and human capabilities. This is an action done by God only and should not be recreated by man. Victor oversteps his human boundaries, a critical sin that ultimately, imposes a bad will. In comparison, Prometheus is instructed by Jupiter, not to aid the people, and instead let them struggle while the Gods lived affluently, yet Prometheus ignores him. In one scene Jupiter says, “Not a spark will I give,” and “No, indeed! Why, if men had fire they might become strong and wise like ourselves, and after a while they would drive us out of our kingdom. Let them shiver with cold, and let them live like the beasts. It is best for them to be poor and ignorant, that so we Mighty Ones may thrive and be happy.”(Baldwin, Chapter I). Despite the fact that Prometheus’s intentions and plans are good-hearted, he was given clear instruction not to bother man. There is a strong punishment for disobeying Zeus, which Prometheus encounters later in the …show more content…
Victor is indirectly punished by the consequences of his decision. He says, “I had been the author of unalterable evils; and I live in daily fear, lest the monster whom I had created should perpetrate some new wickedness” (Shelley, 95). Victor realizes that he is the true monster because he created the weapon. Victor begins to self-loathe and suffer from the fact that he creates a weapon, that eventually murders his entire family. His punishment is an indirect result of his behavior and it has an emotional impact on him. Prometheus’s punishment stems from his ignorance to direct orders. In the Gory scene, Baldwin writes, “And so the great friend of men […] was chained to the mountain peak; and there he hung, with the storm-winds whistling always around him, and the pitiless hail beating in his face, and fierce eagles shrieking in his ears and tearing his body with their cruel claws. Yet he bore all his sufferings without a groan, and never would he beg for mercy or say that he was sorry for what he had done”(James Baldwin, Chapter III). Unlike Frankenstein, Prometheus’s punishment is a direct result of his disobeying to Jupiter and he is physically tortured by Zeus. He is hit with hail, shredded by eagles, and deafened by the whistling wind. If he would’ve obeyed Zeus’s orders and avoided man, he would not have been assaulted. Prometheus and Frankenstein were both severely

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