In this essay I am going to try and focus on the issues of life and death, science in society and mortality. I am also going to consider the difficulties of adapting an 18th century novel into a 20th century film for the “big screen” and still staying faithful to the essence of the book. The novel Frankenstein was written in 1818, it has deep meanings and was strongly influenced by Mary’s background- above all the ‘ghost story’ contest, which was said to have given ‘birth’ to the exceptional novel. The novel is reflected by parts of her own life in that, she lost her child when it was only two weeks old.
This is shown with the creation of the daemon, which represents life and how she longed for her baby to be alive. “Dreamt last night that my little baby came to life again; that it had only been cold, and that we rubbed it before the fire, and it lived. Awake and find no baby. I think about the little thing all day. Not in good spirits. ” This terrible experience significantly influenced the book and its powerful issues. The novel discusses many intellectual issues such as: Should man play at being God? Should science be used to create life it’s self?
Victor Frankenstein has an idea that he could rid the world of disease, sustain life and even create life. “Wealth was an inferior object; but what glory would attend the discovery, if I could banish disease from the human frame, and render man invulnerable to any but a violent death! ” In a very religious and moral world his ideas were literally unimaginable. They are seen to go against God ‘s will and the natural order. In a way, the issues Mary raised in the book have influenced science today. It brought up the ideas of transplants and sustaining life.
Today transplants are very common and not unusual, the idea may have been predisposed by the once “unthinkable. ” At the time the book was written there were strong debates and arguments about how science played a role in society and also moral issues. The church played a major role in peoples lives in this era and often resisted the ideas about scientists pushing the boundaries of life forward. The novel pushed these boundaries even further. The book turns around the set ways of the world. In that birth and gestation is totally a feminine process; but you can clearly see the masculinity in the creation of the daemon.
The novel confronts the idea of changing feminine ‘nature’ and it being destroyed by masculinity. The narrative of the book is very complex and multi-layered; there are narratives within narratives! Robert Walton first tells the story in his letters to Margaret; then it passes to Victor, the creature then takes over, it then goes back to Victor then finally to Walton. Victor’s narrative contains significant detail about his family history and background. When Mary Shelly wrote the 18th century novel Frankenstein she did not intend for it to be created into a 20th century film. A film is a very visual medium; they are made to make money.