The Bible: Creation

Old Testament references

Frankenstein refers to the Bible on a number of occasions, all of which are identified and discussed in the Frankenstein Synopses on the novel elsewhere on this site. It is, however, worth noting that many of the references are to the early chapters of the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament.

Adam and EveThis book tells the story of God's creation of the world, of the plants and living creatures and finally of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman. It then goes on to recount the story of the Fall:

  • Eve succumbs to the temptations of Satan, disguised as a serpent
  • when Eve eats the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (traditionally held to be an apple), and persuades Adam to do the same, she disobeys God's specific command
  • as a punishment, she and Adam are expelled from the Garden of Eden.

The story is relevant to Frankenstein at a number of levels:

  • the monster can be identified with Adam, in that he is a new creation, the first of his kind, who at first views the world with the same kind of innocence
  • in being rejected by his creator, Frankenstein, he feels that he has been deprived of paternal love and expelled from a potentially paradisal life
  • he can also be identified with Satan in that he eventually turns against his creator and wages war on him and on all mankind
  • there is also a sense in which Frankenstein himself may be compared to Satan in that he defies God and commits a profound blasphemy by attempting to usurp God's power as the creator of life
  • and, although Frankenstein's character is deeply flawed by arrogance and egoism, he, too, comes to feel excluded from the happiness of his childhood with his father, brothers, Elizabeth and Justine.

Finally, it is important to remember that many of the references to the biblical story are not taken directly from the Bible but are filtered through the monster's reading of Milton's Paradise Lost. As far as the reader is aware, the monster never reads the Bible. For further information, see Big ideas: Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, ‘Second Adam'; Creation, creativity, image of God)

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