Critical Insights: Frankenstein: or, the Modern Prometheus
Amidst rapid technological advancements, moral dilemmas, and ethical questions surrounding scientific progress, Mary Shelley’s iconic 1818 novel, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, still resonates in contemporary society. The novel remains profoundly relevant, serving as a warning against the unchecked pursuit of knowledge and the potential dangers of manipulating the forces of nature. It continues to captivate readers with its timeless themes and cautionary lessons about scientific ambition and the consequences of playing God. The frame-tale novel, often overshadowed by subsequent film versions, is groundbreaking in giving a voice to the monster via its epistolary embedded-narrative form.
In today's world, where advancements like gene editing and human augmentation are becoming a reality, Shelley's novel urges us to reflect on the ethical boundaries humanity should set for itself and the potential consequences of crossing them. The novel also has compelled readers for over two centuries for its insight into the consideration of alienation and Otherness. Victor’s monster, as an outsider, brings to light the question of what is to be human as he grapples with his own isolation, a concept humans increasingly identify with in the twenty-first century. The novel also remains pertinent for its environmental concerns, as ecological critics remind readers of the responsibility humans have toward the environment. Essays in this volume will introduce readers to these topics and more.