Roots of the Frankenstein Complex
F? rat Ender Kocyigit Professor: Duygu Serdaroglu TDE 396 December 10, 2012 Frankenstein Complex: Origins “I should be thy Adam, however I am rather the fallen angel …” Mary Shelley, Frankenstein Mankind varies from other species by being smart. Intelligence and creativity enables human beings to endure regardless of their relatively inferior physical qualities. Besides these advantages, being smart has actually also influenced fear. Humanity has constantly hesitated of being the creator of its own end.
This fear can be seen in ancient texts along with modern science fiction works. Mary Shelley’s masterpiece, Frankenstein, is among many known examples uses this theme. Isaac Asimov, who is understood by his contribution to sci-fi genre with his books and originalities about synthetic human beings, even called the fear of artificial man after Frankenstein book; Frankenstein complex. Despite the fact that it is named after Frankenstein, the fear of artificial human has existed before 1818; it was even present prior to the stormy days of Industrial Transformation and Enlightenment Age.
In this piece of work, it is aimed to track the roots of Frankenstein complex to its origin by analyzing numerous misconceptions and tales, identify the primary cause of this worry and find Mary Shelley’s source of motivation. Oedipus and Ancient Folklore Oedipus complex can be considered as the earliest kind of worry of being damaged by one’s own production. Oedipus complex takes its name from the protagonist of Sophocles well known tragedy Oedipus Rex. In this disaster, King Laius’ is murdered by his own son and this occasion raises the anger of gods, thus causes the destruction of Kingdom of Thebes.
Freud discusses Oedipus complex in “The Material and Sources of Dreams”: “His fate moves us just due to the fact that it may have been ours– because the Oracle laid the exact same curse upon us prior to our birth as upon him. It is the fate of everybody, maybe, to direct our first sexual impulse towards our mother and our very first hatred and our very first homicidal wish against our father. Our dreams convince us that this is so.” (Freud, p. 296) To Freud, every boy has a defiant instinct versus his daddy. It can be stated that similar to this deadly daddy– boy relationship, every created being has an unavoidable fate to challenge his/her creator.
Mythologies from the every corner of the world have a tale of production going rogue. According to Mesopotamian misconceptions, Tiamat, primitive goddess of chaos and oceans, is killed by an alliance of her daughter and boys under the leadership of the storm god Marduk. In the far North of the world, Vikings thought that Midgard (indicates “Middle World” in ancient Norse tongue, it is presumed that Midgard was where the humanity live and the middle one of the nine worlds) was produced from the corpse of the giant Ymir, who is murdered by 3 gods he accidentally developed.
Eliminating or impairing the daddy is a reoccurring theme in Ancient Mythology. Kronos gilds his daddy Oranos in a conspiracy with his mom, Gaia. Later on, he comes down with Zeus’ (his own boy) plot. These tales are not exclusive to ancient beliefs. Modern Abrahamic faiths likewise have the creation-gone-wrong motif. According to the classical genesis story in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the God is challenged by his own development, Satan. Satan tries to topple the God after the God’s decision on producing the humanity upsets him. Considering all these myths, tales and beliefs one can’t himself or herself to ask a concern: Why?
Why nearly all these efforts to develop another living and logical being end with a catastrophe? The response differs. In the viewpoint of literature research studies, the explanation is practically clear. All the stories need to include a struggle for maintaining the stress. Since the God, whether he is a supreme and omniscient being or simply a deity with gentle feelings and weak points, is alone at the very starting; the only way to make him a lead character is adding a villain to the story, and this is possible only if the God decides to create something capable to compete with him.
The other explanation is psychoanalytic point of view. According to famous historian of religions, Mircea Eliade, religious beliefs and mythologies take their roots from mass consciousness of people (Eliade, p. 27-60). Hence, settled Oedipus Complex in people’ minds assesses the creation tales. The resemblances in between Oedipus complex and Frankenstein complex are easy to see. There are two significant differences in between these two phenomenons: First of all, Frankenstein complex is the worry of another living and thinking kind while in Oedipus complex battle is in between two individuals of the very same species.
Secondly, the subject of the complex is the one who developed the other in Frankenstein complex, however in Oedipus complex, the focus is on the developed one, the kid. Alchemy, Mysticism and Pseudo Science Other primary sources of Frankenstein complex is alchemy and mysticism in a period from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment Age. Due to the lack of positive clinical techniques, pseudo sciences (Alchemy, Astrology etc) gained a huge amount of popularity in these years. Even the popular scientist in these times have actually included with alchemy and astrology.
On the other hand, religions have given birth to increasingly more magical ideas. Kabala in Judeo Christianity and Sufism in Islam have actually occupied the minds of theorists and clerics in these ages. The first well-match examples of Frankenstein complex belong to these times. Homunculus and Golem tales shares the quality of Frankenstein. Developing a homunculus (a sentient human which is produced without sexual intercourse) was main goal of alchemists alongside with transmutation and immortality. Carl Gustav Jung says that very first referral to developing a synthetic human is dated to 3th century AD.
In Visions of Zosimos, Zosimos of Panopolis argues that in his visions he sees himself impaled and dismembered with a sword by Ion, who is believed to be a divine spirit and creator of a Gnostic sect. Then, Ion throws pieces of Zosimos to sacred altar and burns them. After that, Zosimos changes into a pure, spiritual entity. Ion melts to an awful animal, anthroparion, while crying blood. Jung considers anthroparion as the first example of homunculus in alchemical literature. (Jung, p. 142– 144) The word homunculus was initially utilized by well-known researcher and alchemist Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim.
Another popular alchemist of this era, Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, likewise called Paracelsus, declares that he handled to produce a homunculus in a test tube from human sperm, heated by horse dung for the forty weeks of normal human pregnancy. He also states: “From such Artificial guys, when they come to Mans age, are made Pygmies, Giants, and other terrific and monstrous males, who are the instruments of great matters.” (Campbell) Alchemists or occultist from 18th to 20th centuries also seek to produce homunculus. Dr David Christianus composed another receipt for Homunculus.
Aleister Crowley, possibly the most popular occultist of 20th century and head of the esoteric “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” society, alleged to have actually developed a homunculus. He named his homunculus “the moon kid” and stated that his homunculus had actually gotten away after a while. (Moonchild) Homunculus is a main source of motivation for Frankenstein. The idea of Homunculus has actually been a foundation for the later synthetic guys and robot concept. In the novel, lead character Victor Frankenstein follows the footsteps of Cornelius Agrippa and Paracelsus in his journey.
These two figures (especially Agrippa) activate his passion in alchemy and science. Though being reprimanded by his daddy and later his tutor in the university, he respects alchemists and natural thinkers of pre Enlightenment Age and even after he had actually been persuaded to hollowness of alchemy, he admits their part in his mission for developing an artificial man. “Natural approach is the genius that has controlled my fate; I prefer, for that reason, in this narration, to specify those truths which resulted in my preference for that science.
When I was thirteen years of age, we all went on a party of enjoyment to the baths near Thonon: the inclemency of the weather condition obliged us to stay a day confined to the inn. In this home I chanced to find a volume of the works of Cornelius Agrippa. I opened it with apathy; the theory which he tries to show, and the terrific facts which he relates, soon altered this feeling into interest. A brand-new light seemed to dawn upon my mind; and, bounding with delight, I interacted my discovery to my father. My daddy looked carelessly at the title page of my book, and stated, “Ah!
Cornelius Agrippa! My dear Victor, do not waste your time upon this; it is unfortunate garbage.” If, rather of this remark, my father had taken the discomforts to explain to me that the concepts of Agrippa had actually been completely exploded, which a modern system of science had actually been introduced, which possessed much greater powers than the ancient, because the powers of the latter were chimerical, while those of the previous were genuine and useful; under such situations, I should definitely have thrown Agrippa aside, and have pleased my creativity, warmed as it was, by returning with greater ardour o my former research studies. It is even possible that the train of my concepts would never ever have gotten the deadly impulse that led to my mess up. But the general look my daddy had actually taken of my volume by no ways ensured me that he was acquainted with its contents; and I continued to check out with the greatest avidity. When I returned home, my first care was to procure the whole works of this author, and afterwards of Paracelsus and Albertus Magnus. I check out and studied the wild fancies of these authors with pleasure; they appeared to me treasures known to couple of beside myself.
I have described myself as always having been imbued with an impassioned yearning to permeate the secrets of nature. In spite of the extreme labour and wonderful discoveries of contemporary theorists” (Shelley, p. 477– 478) Although they inspired Mary Shelly in composing the unique Frankenstein, homunculus tales are not perfect-in-every-way examples to Frankenstein complex. In those tales, homunculi enjoy to serve their masters and have little to none free choice. At many, they leave their masters and escape from their homes.
There is not any example of an alchemist which is eliminated or damaged by a homunculus; however in Frankenstein complex, creator worries from his production and this production harbours a subtle or obvious animosity versus his creator. The most Frankenstein-like tale in pre Enlightenment Age progressed in Jewish ghettos of Middle and Eastern Europe. Due to the increasing Anti Semitist violence, most of the Jewish homeowners in Western Europe were casted out to East. In the cities of Eastern and Middle Europe, such as Vienna, Prague and Warsaw, Jewish ghettos rapidly grew (Johnson).
These social change and large pessimism enhanced the interest towards mysticism in Jewish neighborhoods. It is assumed that origins of the Golem story goes back to Middle ages Age, but the most recognized narrative is credited to rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel who lives in Prague in late 16th century. The tale of Golem of Prague was assembled in 19th century. According to the legend, rabbi ben Bezalel handles to give life to a clay statue by utilizing the secret knowledge of Adam’s creation. He forms a clay particles to shape of a male then connects a notepad written “emet” (“reality” in Hebrew) to its forehead.
He uses this clay man, Golem, to protect Jewish ghetto from anti Semitic riots and run errands. Because it is forbidden to work in Shabbat days (Saturdays), Golem needs to be shut down. Ben Bezalel removes the first letter of “emet” in Sabbath days, thus it ends up being “fulfilled” (“dead” in Hebrew) and Golem gets immobilized. In a Shabbat day, Ben Bezalel forgets shutting off Golem. Golem freaks out, develops havoc in the city and leaves (Idel, p. 296). In the “Golem of Prague” tale, overview has to do with male’s ambition to play the function of the god by creating a servant in a brand-new life type and the catastrophic outcome.
In lots of ways, this tale shares more resemblances with Frankenstein than Homunculus legends. In both Frankenstein and “Golem of Prague”, lead characters choose to produce a new being and prosper it. This animal later leaves control and kills damages other individuals who are not accountable for the incident and entirely innocent. On the other hand, background of Golem myth includes Jewish Cabbala tradition and mysticism while Frankenstein acquires the speculative paradigm of alchemists; “Golem of Prague” is more like a spiritual story but Frankenstein is a precursor of science fiction literature.
Frankenstein goes over the same aspiration with these two tales but Mary Shelley’s impulsion is a lot more rational than them. This scenario is a great example for showing modification in procession of the story due to the social change while the primary theme remains same. Enlightenment Age The world witnessed a rapid advancement in science and innovation in 19th and 20th century. This development was the fruit of the Knowledge Age or with its other name the Age of Factor.
The Enlightenment Age began in mid 17th century. With the discoveries of Galileo, Copernicus and Sir Isaac Newton, science has acquired a popular location in every element of life. The Knowledge Age has actually likewise altered individuals’s world-view in developed nation. Rather than seeking advice from priests, church or holy books; they have started seeing science as the primary guide. Impressed with the glorious development, it was thought that whatever is either possible or will be possible soon.
Edgar Allan Poe, who lived in the same century with Mary Shelley, explains researchers’ mission to comprehend the God’s works by taking a look at nature: “If we can not understand God in his visible works, how then in his impossible thoughts, that call the works into being? If we can not comprehend him in his objective animals, how then in his substantive moods and stages of creation?” (Poe, p. 261) Age of reason supplies a valuable motivation for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. In the unique, it is highlighted that science had be successful the location of alchemy and magic to produce wonders.
Victor Frankenstein’s professor sums up the fact: “After having made a couple of preparatory experiments, he concluded with a panegyric upon modern-day chemistry, the terms of which I will never forget: “The ancient instructors of this science,” stated he, “promised impossibilities and carried out absolutely nothing. The modern masters guarantee very little bit; they know that metals can not be transmuted and that the elixir of life is a chimera but these thinkers, whose hands appear only made to meddle dirt, and their eyes to pore over the microscope or crucible, have indeed carried out miracles.
They penetrate into the recesses of nature and demonstrate how she works in her hiding-places. They rise into the heavens; they have actually found how the blood circulates, and the nature of the air we breathe. They have actually obtained new and almost limitless powers; they can command the thunders of paradise, imitate the earthquake, and even mock the unnoticeable world with its own shadows.” (Shelley, p. 483– 484) In the introduction of the novel’s 2nd edition, Mary Shelly writes how she felt while writing the book: “I saw– with shut eyes, however severe psychological vision– I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the important things he had actually created.
I saw the horrible phantasm of a male extended, and after that, on the working of some effective engine, show signs of life and stir with an uneasy, half-vital movement. Shocking needs to it be, for very shocking would be the impact of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Developer of the world.” (Shelley, p. 456) This passage summarize Mary Shelley’s concerns about quick advancement of the science and human aspiration of playing the God’s role by using the power of the science.
Another point of view of the Knowledge likewise plays a fantastic role in Dr. Frankenstein’s downfall; human body. It is known that pioneers of the Enlightenment, Leonardo da Vinci for example, needed to work secretly on human body. After the Enlightenment Age, nearly all the constraints based upon religious basis have been eliminated. Researchers have acquired the flexibility to inspect the body without the fear of church. Dr Frankenstein’s experiments on dead bodies are a clear indication of worries about scientific principles after the decline of religious beliefs’s power. Conclusion
Frankenstein is a very dazzling work in literature and a milestone in science fiction category. It impacted many other well known writers such as Isaac Asimov and Philip K. Penis. Besides, Frankenstein complex formed a basis for block buster science fiction movies, most especially Terminator and The Matrix series. Frankenstein is an ingenious book for sure, however it likewise carries the marks of previous tales and legend. Mary Shelly has made a good combination of ancient misconceptions, legends of alchemy and mysticism, the concepts of modern science in her work of art.
All these factors have a different impact in the book. The full name of the book; Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus provides ideas about the book’s inheritance. The primary style of the novel, a disastrous effort to mimic god’s works, go back to Prometheus, ancient times. This style has ripened in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance duration with the contributions of early researchers, alchemists, Gnostics and Kabbalists. Mary Shelley has improved this style with the bringings of the Enlightenment Age and offered it a scientific basis.
Mary Shelly’s successful realization of old legends and tales might be the secret of the Frankenstein’s splendid achievement. Source Campbell, Mary B. “Artificial Guys: Alchemy, Transubstantiation, and the Homunculus.” Republics of Letters: A Journal for the Research Study of Knowledge, Politics, and the Arts 1. no. 2 (April 3, 2010). Stanford University Online. Web. December 3 2012. http://arcade. stanford. edu/journals/rofl/ articles/artificial-men-alchemy-transubstantiation-and-homunculus-by-mary-baine-campbell Crowley, Aleister.
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