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Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature

Paradise Lost

An angel standing at the bottom of heaven's stairway holds a sword in its right hand and has his left hand on Adam's right shoulder. Both Adam and Eve are not wearing clothes as the angel expels them from Eden. Adam walks holding his head in his hands. The Expulsion from Eden, 17th century. Artist unknown. Photographic reproduction of a line engraving. Courtesy of The Granger Collection, New York.
The Expulsion from Eden, 17th century. Artist unknown. Photographic reproduction of a line engraving. Courtesy of The Granger Collection, New York.

Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
To mould me man? Did I solicit thee
From darkness to promote me?

Lines from John Milton's Paradise Lost
From the title page of Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheuse, 1818

In Frankenstein, the intelligent and sensitive monster created by Victor Frankenstein reads a copy of Milton's Paradise Lost, which profoundly stirs his emotions. The monster compares his situation to that of Adam. Unlike the first man who had "come forth from the hands of God a perfect creature," Frankenstein's creature is hideously formed. Abandoned by Victor Frankenstein, the monster finds himself "wretched, helpless, and alone."