Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

ArticleinProgress in brain research 204:169-90 · December 2013with 2,453 Reads
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Abstract
The story of Victor Frankenstein's quest to conquer death produced a legacy that has endured for almost 200 years. Powerful in its condemnation of the scientist's quest to achieve knowledge at any cost, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is one of the most enduring novels of all time. It has never been out of print and has been translated to both stage and screen many times since its "birth." Numerous novels, short stories, and scripts have drawn upon Shelley's primary theme: the creation of a living organism from the dead, dying, and decaying body parts of human beings. Although Mary does not provide details of the animation process, particularly in her first edition, the process has been explored with a great deal of imagination and originality in the various cinematic portrayals of the story. Equally important as the theme of the scientist's quest for knowledge is the role that a creator plays in the life of its creation. Mary Shelley's novel pondered on how rejection would affect the offspring of such "unnatural" origins. In keeping with the "scientific" basis of the Creature's birth, cinematic portrayals attempted to provide a scientific rationale for the Creature's descent into madness and its evil behavior. From Robert Florey's initial script for the 1931 film directed by James Whale to the more recent films and television series, an abnormal brain is considered to be the cause of the madness and malignity of the Creature.

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