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Frankenstein Or The Modern Prometheus Historical Context The time period is ambiguous Walton s letters are dated merely 17--, Also, no specific references to ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Frankenstein

  • Or The Modern Prometheus

Historical Context
  • The time period is ambiguous
  • Waltons letters are dated merely 17--,
  • Also, no specific references to current events
  • Safe to assume that the novel is set in the
    eighteenth century.-
  • The ending of the Enlightenment period, and the
    beginning of the romantic period.

Historical context Cont.
  • Frankenstein critiques the excesses of the
    Enlightenment period
  • Introduces the beliefs of the Romantic Period.

Historical Context Cont.
  • Frankenstein reflects a shift in social and
    political thought-
  • From humans as creatures who use reason and
    science to shape and control their destiny,
  • To humans as creatures who rely on their emotions
    to determine what is right.

  • Through the Enlightenment period people quit
    asking Why? and started asking How?
  • Workings of the human body and the laws of the
    universe became less superstitious.
  • Affected religion in a small sect.
  • Deism Where people believed that God set the
    universe in motion and did not interfere with
    human affairs.
  • Alexander Pope Whatever is, is right.

Enlightenment cont.
  • 18th Century thinkers welcomed discoveries from
    sciences of astronomy and physics.
  • These discoveries were seen as support for
    traditional beliefs about Gods universe.
  • As more specific discoveries were made and more
    control was exerted over nature, a secular view
    of the world began to emerge.

  • In this view that began to emerge, humans were
    but one animal among many other, but superior
    because of their ability to control so much of
    the natural world.
  • Nature was no longer a great mystery.
  • This created a crisis

Enlightenment cont.
  • The crisis
  • The discoveries of science seemed indisputable,
    but some people worried that nature itself was
    threatened by scientific advances and rational
  • Mary Shelleys husband, Percy Shelley, wrote
    man, having enslaved the elements, remains
    himself a slave.

Blame the French
  • The French Revolution also helped bring an end to
    the Enlightenment movement.
  • At the heart of the revolution was a call for
    individual freedom and the overthrow of the rigid
    social hierarchy that characterized both the
    British and the French.
  • In Britain the social system was further
    challenged by the Industrial Revolution and
    change from an agrarian society to an industrial
    society Large lower class, and an anxious middle