In human ambition is embedded the emotion of over ambition. When the human spirit rides high on this sentiment, it reaches precarious heights. Heights so dizzying that what follows is not a human sense of accomplishment but the eternal nudge of irretrievable and repugnant consequences. When purpose becomes the monologue of life, thoughts, however slight, gain fruition. But as one inches closer to success, more and more sacrifices are called for in its wake. The valiant deeds of the greatest discoverers and warriors have probably given birth to eulogies that have wended their way, dog-eared, through centuries. But the darker consequences of their undertakings, the ‘more’ enormous beckoning, still remain unknown. Mary Shelly’s novel “Frankenstein” or “The Modern Prometheus” focuses on the seedy, insidious repercussions of an attitude inclined towards the seemingly important, but often not, desires that human beings nourish. The book endeavors to bridge the chasm that exists between the spoken and the unheard of. It seeks universal audience. It is an enticing read for the mass. For the poignant self, it is a momentous relive – a painful experience.

Victor Frankenstein, a Swiss doctor, succeeds in collecting parts of human body and yearns to animate the heap. But when his endeavors materialize, Frankenstein appalled by his harrowing appearance, runs from the fiend, thus ignoring his responsibilities as his creator. The ‘monster’ however is a different and new being, a mutated human form that is intelligent and fast and despite his grotesque misshapen, is capable of feelings and emotions. Cast off by his creator and violently spurned and rejected by every human, the monster decides on a tremendous pay-off. Frankenstein loses his brother and a trusted aide to the fiend’s retribution. Disgusted and sickened at the consequences of his unbridled ambitions, and to seek solace for his growing disquiet, he seeks recourse by isolating himself in the swell of the hills. The sojourn takes a turn when in the haven of solitude the creator meets his creation and the latter beseeches of him the procreation of his feminine better, one who is as loathsome as him. Bound by common morality, busy in a labyrinth of mutual gratification, they’d hardly find any time to discharge their fatal skills. Killing out of habit would just be, a reject of the bygone. Frankenstein, encumbered by the sorrow of the deaths of his companions and a growing fear of endangering the entire mankind, concurs to the demands of his protégé. He works earnestly, yet again suffering loneliness compounded by a feeling of guilt and fear, losing the starry nights to the light of the day, only to gain the realization that the words of his creation were not to be trusted. Eloquence was a trait the monster was munificently engineered with. Anxious of the train of ghastly events the generation of another one of the kind would lead to, the scientist destroys his work. Enraged the villain embarks upon carnage, leaving his creator ruined and shattered.

As the story unfolds, Mary Shelly juggles with the” monstrous” denomination, thus, underlining the fact that life hoodwinks you into self-transforming corners. Here was a human, tortured and mocked by the consequences of the gift of an ambitious mind, and then there was the beast, made a beast, as a result of the anguish inflicted upon him by the species he owed his life to. The book beautifully ponders upon the strange construction of our souls, the weak ligaments which bind the consequences of human actions to prosperity or doom, and the vulnerability of the human mind to give in to the whims of the devil that torments him.

In her books Mary Shelly explores the contradictory relations between the self and the society. She uses writing techniques from various novelistic genres. Her works include literary pieces like Mathilda, The Last Man, The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck and many others. From short stories as a novice to laudable classics as a mature reader of minds, beside thousands of fireplaces and across a few more lonely journeys, Frankenstein remains her magnum opus.

Dipti Jain