I want to start out by saying that I was quite mad when I learned that I wouldn’t be able to attend my group’s Socratic, due to a LINK crew event. Clearly, the trio did fine without me, but it my absence was rather disappointing to myself nonetheless. To attempt to fix that, I will be giving my own personal analysis of the connections between the two. Forgive me if I overlap something that was discussed in class.
Paradise Lost is a 10 book long epic poem about the struggle of good and evil. God, the ultimate creator, has created this beautiful world, Paradise, or known as the Garden of Eden.. This is a higher, more ideal version of Earth. Above Paradise lies heaven; beneath it, hell. It is here that the first humans are created. A thoughtful, rational and curious individual. His mate, lesser in all aspects but physical beauty – Eve. Eve is the other half of life. Emotions, feelings and passions, guided by what she desires. Eve sees herself in the reflection of a lake, falls in love; leaving her susceptible to the forces of evil.
These two people, Adam and Eve are interconnected by love and curiosity, testing the waters of living with each other. It’s only a matter of time before something gets pushed too far.
Now, this story does not, on the surface, reflect Frankenstein so well. When I first did some research on Paradise Lost, I wasn’t exactly sure what a story about angels and devils had anything to do with a harmlessly inclined character and his seemingly evil creation.
That’s exactly it.
My interpretation of the connection between the texts is as follows:
Similarities and differences – Victor and Adam
Victor Frankenstein is a man of science, living in an ideal world for himself. Nothing but him and his lifelong dream being achieved – to give life to something that was formerly not. Having scavenged pieces from graveyards, Frankenstein physically creates, and then gives life to, his monster. He really just wants to know more about the world he lives in, as is what a scientist does on a daily basis. Who else is living in a perfect world, helps out in creating a companion, and is naturally a curious and thoughtful individual?
Adam. By giving up one of his ribs, he allows Eve to be created. Eve is everything he could have asked for – beautiful, forward, and equally as curious about this world around her. Guess who Frankenstein creates? The monster.
Similarities and differences – Monster and Eve
While Adam and Frankenstein share similar characteristics, I would like to highlight how much more dynamic of a connection the monster shares with eve. First of all, both are spirits that know nothing but emotion. Both are driven to the point of obsession over how they appear to others; Eve being the height of beauty, the monster being the depths of horror. Both of them saw their reflections in a body of water. Now, water has always been a symbol of purity and truth, alongside light and the sun. When water washes off of you, there is nothing to be hidden, just the truth shown. The truth is amazing for Eve, much less so for the monster.
A big difference that the two have is the concept of companionship. Eve has Adam, someone who will adore her and follow her, even against the word of God, as proven when the two eat from the Tree of Knowledge. The monster, though, has nobody to accompany him. His creator has left him, and will soon do anything to destroy him. This ties back to the struggle between good an evil. Eve, having a sense of fulfillment and love with her creator, being both God’s son and Adam, is good to those around her for the most part. The monster, with no sense of this love for his creator, someone who has despised him since the start, begins killing those around him, becoming the monster everybody had assumed him to be.
And finally, what wraps this up so well is how the two stories end. The monster promises to immolate himself, burn into ashes, no future left for him. Adam and Eve walk though the fire gate to Earth, hand in hand as shown in lines 641 to 649 of book XII.
They, looking back, all the eastern side beheld
Of Paradise, so late their happy seat,
Waved over by that flaming brand; the gate
With dreadful faces thronged, and fiery arms:
Some natural tears they dropt, but wiped them soon;
The world was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide:
They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow,
Through Eden took their solitary way.
Fire is a destructive force. It will burn as long as there is something to burn, and will not stop until every bit of it’s victim is annihilated. By having the lonely Monster burned to death by flames, and Adam and Eve making their way hand in hand, walking slowly though the firey gate, with “with wandering steps and slow”. Is this Milton’s way of saying that having a companion with you will keep you away from the destructive forces of the world? Adam proved this once by convincing Eve not to take her own life, and it was proven again as the epic ends.
In retrospect, the connections between Shelly’s Frankenstein and Milton’s Paradise Lost are many and vast, something that I am certain that I have many things left to discover about texts as long and intertwined as this. Until then, these are some of the deeper connections that I could find between the two novels.
Thanks for reading!