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Literary Influences of Mary Shelley

There has always been the influence of certain writings on the books that people write. This can happen without the writer knowing because they can be influenced by a children’s book that you read when you were babysitting a little boy five years ago. It can imprint in your brain and when you go to write your work of art then when that book crosses your mind, there is your main characters personality! Within Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, there are many different pieces of literature that influence the Creatures life. Some of them are Sorrows of Young Werther, Lives, Paradise Lost, and Ruins of Empires. These all helped Shelley create the monster and his personality.
Sorrows of Young Werther, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, is significant to the Creatures issues. The storyline of Sorrows of Young Werther is about a young girl that drowns herself in a river because her boyfriend abandoned her. When the Creature finds the book, it fills his head with wild ideas. Such as, “As I read, however, I applied much personally to my own feelings and condition” (Shelley 114). This is explaining how he became the monster that he is portrayed as. Throughout Frankenstein, the monster is sad because he cannot read, write, or communicate with others, so when he finds the book collection he cannot wait to read every single one. When the monster kills Henry Clerval, he makes it seem like Henry tried to attempt suicide by drowning him. This is taken right out of Sorrows of Young Werther because of the boyfriend drowning himself.
Another writing that was influential to Shelleys Frankenstein was Paradise Lost by John Milton. This is said to be the most influential piece of literature that the Creature was based on. Paradise Lost is an epic poem about a version of the creation story. In Frankenstein, the creature and Frankenstein meet on the top of Mont Blanc and the Creature starts to tell his life story from the time that he was abandoned. He tells of the list of books that he read and starts the conversation off with “I am thy creature: I ought to be thy Adam.” (Shelley 66). This is interesting because it is an allusion to Paradise Lost meaning that Jesus made Adam just like Frankenstein made the Creature.
Lives, by Plutarch, was also very influencing to the Creatures personality. This novel teaches the creature how human society works and how some men can be vicious. Lives is a series of biographies about the Greek and Roman time periods and the men and wars that happened in that time period. The Creature doesnt think that he will ever be accepted into society because of his looks which makes him want to plan a war against the species (Shelley 121). The war that he is planning will be just like how the leaders in the ancient times slaughtered everyone in their species.
The writings that are talked about in Frankenstein show how the creature became who he was. Whenever you see something or read something, it will always be in your mind and that can influence you for the rest of your life.

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Literary Influences of Mary Shelley. (2018, Oct 12). Retrieved from https://thepoetrytrust.org/literary-influences-of-mary-shelley-essay

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