Discuss the evolution of the Creature in Mary Shelly's "Frankenstein" and account for its enduring popularity and appropriations.

Essay by Kubla_KhanHigh School, 11th grade November 2006

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Frankenstein's enduring popularity is directly related to the relevance of the manifestation of the Creature to the social themes and ethical issues. At the time of Shelly, the fear of the "dangerous new science" of galvanism is captured in the unnatural science of the Creatures creation, despite his articulate and compassionate nature. However, appropriated in James Whales era of rapid technological advancement, the Creatures role as a warning is undermined in the transformation of the "mad scientist" into a hero of sorts. As technological change reaches the new frontier of genetic engineering, the Creature is recast once more into the sensitive, intelligent mould exhibited in Chris Carters The X Files "Post-Modern Prometheus". The danger of biological weapons technology is explored in the 2003 special edition of Alien Resurrection - an issue that will no doubt face present-day society if genetic engineering becomes common practice. This is contrasted with the 1999 movie Deep Blue Sea, where the morality or trying to cure Alzheimer's disease is balanced with the immorality of gene experimentation.

In a different manor, the 1997 animated satiric comedy South Park "Pig and Elephant DNA" humorously explores the morality of the creation of a human clone reminiscent of Whales creation in a contemporary setting.

Mary Shelley's original "Frankenstein" became the source of the "Frankenstein" of popular culture that has been appropriated into an enduring icon. It deals with the idea of the original "mad scientist" Victor Frankenstein attempting to aid humanity in the medical research that led to the creation of the Creature. Like the present day, Shelley's time can be described as on the verge of a technological breakthrough - the discovery of galvanism and the eventual discovery of electricity. In addressing the issue of mankind's overreaching - important not only to her time period, but future ones...