The monsters in the literature faust and frankenstein

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The monsters in the literature faust and frankenstein

A massively important literary figure in the modern age, Goethe was a very accomplished writer and wrote in areas such as literary criticism, botany and anatomy; wrote an autobiography, and several novels; as well as serving in the council of the Duke of Saxe-Weimar1.

His first novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther was the wildly popular account of a young man involved in a love triangle with a betrothed woman. The story is highly romanticized and results in the main character, Werther, taking his own life.

The monsters in the literature faust and frankenstein

Prolific to the end of his life, Goethe completed part two of Faust shortly before his death in at 82 years old. Faust is the story of a very learned man, who seeks power and knowledge beyond the worldly limitations of his study.

The play opens with a solemn Faust contemplating suicide, having reached the limits of his knowledge and finding otherworldly knowledge blocked to him. Before he does, however, he hears The monsters in the literature faust and frankenstein noises of an Easter celebration and briefly joins the celebration.

When he returns home he is followed by a poodle, who later transforms into Mephistopheles and offers Faust a contract: Gretchen, being very devout and pure of heart, desires Faust and eventually succumbs to this desire.

Gretchen then becomes pregnant. Gretchen, plagued with evil spirits, seeks help from a church but finds none. On Walpurgis Night, a night where witches celebrate with the devil, Gretchen, in utter distress, kills her newborn child and is condemned to execution for doing so.

When Faust and Mephistopheles break Gretchen from her prison, she appeals to God for salvation. In The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, Faust is so desperate to achieve power that he calls upon the devil and renounces God himself, drawing a pentagram and summoning Mephistopheles.

Faust and Mephistopheles then involve themselves in a series of pranks that, rather than gaining Faust any type of power, render him as petty and powerless. It is not until Faust is being dragged to hell in his last hour, however, that he truly begins to regret his decision.

The original appearance of Faust in lore is one of a sinful man conspiring with the devil. Goethe brings a new perspective into the folklore — because Faust claims that Mephistopheles will never be able to show him satisfaction, he is predicting his own downfall and condemning himself to unhappiness from the very beginning.

Throughout the novel, Faust tries to level himself with supernatural beings — desiring to be on an equal plane with them.

How is the MONSTER the true monster in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein? | eNotes

Faust, in dealing with Mephistopheles, addresses his egoism: The thread of thought is torn asunder, and I am surfeited with knowledge still. This characterizes the alienation that Faust feels in his surroundings and makes him an excellent portrayal of the Modern Man—individualistic, at odds with society, and highly educated.

Furthermore, because of this alienation, Faust is unable to take moral responsibility for his actions. It is this irresponsibility that results in the death of Gretchen and fills Faust with regret.

When Gretchen asked Faust whether he believed in God, his reply is one that is slightly heretical — he states that feeling and God are very much the same thing to him. Yet even so, Faust is very quick to make a deal with the devil and spurns possible salvation many times.

Goethe seeks to turn Faust into a sort of Everyman for the modern age, possessing knowledge in a variety of different subjects yet struggling with his own limitations and flaws.

The Romantic Movement

At a base level, Victor Frankenstein and Faust are very similar in personality. Much like Victor, Faustus goes too far and his reckless behavior is the very reason for his possible damnation.

Much like a Byronic Hero, both Faust and Frankenstein reject standard social conventions, feel alienated from society, are scholarly, learned men, and are primarily selfish in behavior. Whereas Goethe attempts to convey that striving and error are pathways to salvation, Shelley asserts instead that these types of heroes recklessly abandon their own morality in their pursuits, trampling on all others in their path—Shelley, through Victor, takes an adamant stance against the individualism so highly prized in this era of literary work.

Language & Lit

Both Victor and Faustus seek knowledge beyond the powers of human limitation. There can be parallels found in the concept of alchemy and occult knowledge as pathways to achieving supernatural understanding.

This passage sets up an important contrast. The emotions that drive Werther to suicide are highly sympathized by the monster.

The monsters in the literature faust and frankenstein

Faust, on the other hand, being similar to Victor, is a complete antithesis of Werther. Recall the passage of Frankenstein where the monster states: Early melodramatic adaptations of Frankenstein reverberate this sentiment. The monster, then, has a similar position to Satan in the idea that the monster doesn't truly fit in anywhere.

And like Mephistopheles of Marlowe's play, the monster is summoned by the use of supernatural power. Encyclopedia Britannica, 17 Feb. The Man and His Character'.The Romantic Movement originated in Germany with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Goethe's play Faust () addresses the issue of how man can acquire too much knowledge, how man can make deals with the Devil to get that knowledge, and how man can move from one human experience to another without achieving full satisfaction.

Ideas about a new intellectual movement had circulated for .

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Who Is the Monster in Frankenstein? - Character Traits & Analysis. Who Is the Monster in Frankenstein? CLEP English Literature: Study Guide & Test Prep;.

A collection of stories of famous monsters and villains from literature that are misunderstood or have had depressing backstories.

Misunderstood Monsters Frankenstien's Monster. the mountains, the monster approaches him at the summit and pleads for a female equivalent to mitigate his loneliness. Frankenstein agrees, but, . The monster is created by Victor Frankenstein while at the University of Ingolstadt."Formed into a hideous and gigantic creature," the monster faces rejection and fear from his creator and society.


The monster is the worst kind of scientific experiment gone awry. He does acquire humane characteristics, even compassion for his . In Faust, the striving fellow, Faust, seeks physical and mental wholeness in knowledge and disaster in lust.

In Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein struggles for control over one aspect of nature and disastrously, through the monster, nature controls him to a much greater degree. Many powers are much too mighty for mortal souls, a lesson that Frankenstein and Faust learn by the end of their tales.

While reading Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus, I couldn’t help but notice the striking resemblances to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The characters of Dr. Faustus and Dr. Frankenstein share common personalities and beliefs.

Baldick, "The Monster Speaks"