Why Is Frankenstein Called The Modern Prometheus?

For those of us that love a good story, Frankenstein is a classic tale of hubris, suffering, and tragedy. Written by the revolutionary author Mary Shelley, Frankenstein has captured the imagination of millions worldwide.

It’s a story that continues to be adapted and celebrated almost two hundred years since it was first published. But why is Frankenstein often referred to as “The Modern Prometheus”? We’ll explore why this name is so poignant and what it means for the story of Frankenstein.

Why is Frankenstein Called the Modern Prometheus?

Frankenstein, the novel by Mary Shelley, is often referred to as the “modern Prometheus”.

But why is this? Who is Prometheus, and how is he connected to the novel? Read on to find out.

Who is Prometheus?

Prometheus was a figure in Greek mythology.

He was a Titan and the son of Themis, a goddess. According to the myths, Prometheus was a champion of mankind and gave them fire, which was hidden by the god Zeus. Because of this, he was punished severely by Zeus.

Mary Shelley and Prometheus

Mary Shelley was inspired by the Greek myth of Prometheus when she wrote Frankenstein. In the novel, the protagonist Victor Frankenstein, creates a monster using science and technology. This act of creation is comparable to Prometheus giving fire to humanity.

The Theme of Creation

The main theme of the novel, and the reason why it is called the “modern Prometheus”, is the idea of creation and its consequences. Victor creates the monster, much like Prometheus gave fire to humans.

But, like Prometheus, Victor’s creation brings about disaster. This is the central theme of the novel and is why it is referred to as the “modern Prometheus”.

Victor Frankenstein as a Modern Prometheus

In a sense, Victor is a “modern Prometheus”. He is a modern day analog, taking the place of the mythical figure for the purposes of the novel. Just as Prometheus was punished for his actions, so too is Victor. His creation leads to disaster and death, and Victor is never able to make amends or put things right.


The novel “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley has become an iconic work of literature, and one of the reasons it has endured is its connection to Prometheus. By connecting the novel with the Prometheus myth, Mary Shelley was able to explore the idea of creating something and being responsible for the consequences. This theme has resonated with readers over the centuries, and is why “Frankenstein” is referred to as the “modern Prometheus”. Citation URL 1: https://www. greekmyths-greekmythology. com/prometheus-mythology/ Citation URL 2: https://faculty. georgetown. edu/irvinem/theory/Shelley-Frankenstein-200pdf

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