us it seems that Hermes' speech is to the point.
What he commands to you is to relax from your
self-will and seek the wisdom that's in good advice.
Do as he says, since wrong is shameful in the wise.
Ancient Greek mythology, Prometheus was said to be the wisest
of all the Titans. In the form of fire Prometheus is credited
with bringing mankind knowledge and enlightenment. He stole
fire from the Gods of Mount Olympus. For acting against the
decree of the Gods, who wanted to keep the power of fire to
themselves, Prometheus was harshly punished. He was chained
to a rock to have his liver eaten out every day by an eagle.
Every night his liver would grow back. This was to be his
punishment for all of eternity.
full title of Mary Shelley's novel is Frankenstein; or
the Modern Prometheus. So it shouldn't come as a surprise
that Mary Shelley was influenced by this tale. Her husband
Percy Shelley even began composing his own tale of Prometheus
in the form of a poem entitled, Prometheus Unbound.
He began composing this work right around the same time that
Mary was publishing Frankenstein.
Aside from the title, Shelley borrows from the tale of Prometheus
a sense of consequence resulting from seeking enlightenment and
power. Victor is her modern incarnation of Prometheus. He as Prometheus
was, is fascinated by the power of electricity (lightning). We can
recall from the narrative the moment when he becomes captivated
by its fantastical power.
It is from this power, that he has equipped himself with, that
the inner torture he will suffer from the use of it stems. Immediately
following the creation if the creature, Victor is ill with disgust
for what he has done. His torture mirrors that of Prometheus'; undying
and eternal. From the beginning of the novel, when Victor warns
Walton of the consequences of his quest, to the conclusion when
Victor again reiterates the misfortunes he has suffered as a result
of his curiosity, Mary Shelley mimics the Prometheus tale. Perhaps,
this is why she saw it as a fitting subtitle.