What Are Some Examples of Allusion in “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley?

Some of the allusions in Mary Shelley’s novel “Frankenstein” include the Greek myth of Prometheus, biblical Adam and Eve and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. These allusions help Shelley build upon her theme of the danger of knowledge.

The subtitle of the novel makes the first allusion as Shelley brings to mind the myth of Prometheus, who created man from clay and gave him fire. This angered Prometheus’ father, Zeus, who then punished Prometheus. Similarly, Victor suffers for his creation by choosing to step outside the boundaries of science.

The allusion to Adam and Eve appears when the creature refers to Victor as his creator. He tells Victor he should treat him as though he is Adam because he is the first of his kind, but instead he is treated as a fallen angel. The creature also wants Victor to create a mate for him, an Eve, so he does not have to be alone.

Shelley alludes to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” with Victor’s cursed life. The Mariner is living a nightmare as he watches his crew die while he continues to live. Victor, too, ends up watching as the people closest to him die.