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The Persistence of Narrative: Archetypal and Thematic Parallelism in Milton and Shelley
Other Undergraduate Scholarship
  • Douglas Stephens, IV
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The literary connections between Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and John Milton’s Paradise Lost are relatively obvious to anyone familiar with both works. Less obvious is the fact that an astonishing number of character roles and thematic components translate directly between the two works. The characters of Frankenstein continually switch in and out of these clearly archetypal roles, but careful study reveals that the underlying parallels hold true throughout. The question at hand is whether the parallelism evident in the relationship between the books is a result of thematic referentialism or if there is a deeper historical and mythopoeic significance. That these archetypes appear in different genres and mediums across history would seem to indicate an answer to the dilemma. The striking narrative similarities that run through Paradise Lost and Frankenstein result from the fact that these literary objects stem from the higher reality of the Genesis narrative, and persist because they speak to those indelible parts of the universal human psyche which have been molded in the image of God.

This paper was presented at the 2013 Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium held in High Point, North Carolina.

Citation Information
Douglas Stephens. "The Persistence of Narrative: Archetypal and Thematic Parallelism in Milton and Shelley" (2013)
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