Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a timeless classic that has had a lasting influence on many aspects of popular culture and science. Written in 1818, Shelley’s novel reflected the cultural movements and scientific discoveries of the time. Since its publication, Frankenstein has been a source of inspiration for many in film, theatre, evolution of science and literature. The novel’s themes of ambition, morality, and the consequences of technological progress are still relevant today and can be seen in many aspects of popular culture and scientific progress.

First, Frankenstein has been pervasive in popular culture, appearing in films, television shows, and Halloween decorations. For example, the 1931 Universal Pictures movie starring Boris Karloff is widely considered the definitive adaptation of the novel. This movie sets the standard for portraying the creature with a flat head, bolts in the neck, and a menacing demeanor (Laemmle Jr). During the 1930s, Hollywood created more than fifty full-length motion pictures based on Mary Shelley’s novel, ranging from the classic 1931 Universal Pictures film where Boris Karloff played the Monster to the more contemporary 2019 film “Victor Frankenstein.” Frankenstein movies and television specials that air every October have made The Monster’s appearance in cinema a staple of the Halloween season. Children continue to dress as recognizable monsters for Halloween, which has also evolved into classic Halloween costumes. Frankenstein’s influence on pop culture is further demonstrated by the Monster’s appearance in various products, including toys, games, comics, and graphic novels. Moreover, characters from the book, such as Dr. Victor Frankenstein and his Monster, can be seen in the 2014 television series Penny Dreadful (Loga and Mendes). The Monster, the doctor, and society’s viewpoints have all been incorporated into the book’s cinematic adaptation. The book’s themes, such as prejudice and loneliness, are explored differently in each rendition. The stories are preserved in popular culture due to these television and film productions, demonstrating how the themes and characters are still relevant today.

The evolution of science has been influenced by Frankenstein as well. In the story, Victor Frankenstein’s desire to give the creature life stands in for the generation’s technological advancements (Shelley). The novel’s influence on science is evident in medical science, specifically in advancing cloning and genealogy. Since the novel’s release more than 200 years ago, genetics has significantly increased, with the cloning of animals in the late twentieth century being one of the most significant achievements. Medical professionals use cloning and genetic engineering to treat various illnesses and ailments. The development of effective organ transplants and operations is another example of how the book has influenced medical research. Dr. Frankenstein revived the Monster in Shelley’s novel using electricity, a feat that is currently feasible in the area of medicine. In addition to symbolizing Victor Frankenstein’s desire to create new life, Dolly’s cloning was a significant scientific accomplishment. The moral ramifications of playing God and the limitations of human ambition were two other recent topics of discussion raised by Dolly’s cloning (Greely). Today’s surgeons employ electricity to restore organ function and resuscitate patients who have experienced cardiac arrest.

Finally, Frankenstein has also had a significant impact on literature. Numerous authors, including H.G. Wells’ contemporary science fiction novel The Island of Dr. Moreau, have drawn inspiration from the book for their works (Breedlove). The famous horror novel Dracula by Bram Stoker is one of many works that have drawn influence from Shelley’s novel. Several of the same literary devices Shelley used, such as gothic themes, horror, and a love of the unknown, were also used by Stoker. Being a reanimated corpse, Dracula resembles Frankenstein’s Monster in the novel (Crisan and Senf). Stoker produced a book that has stood the test of time employing these similar methods. The topics Frankenstein discusses are still relevant today. For instance, Shelley’s novel examines the risks of playing God and creating life. As scientists progress in genetics and cloning, this is highly significant. This raises ethical concerns about playing God and generating life. Shelley made a timeless work still disputed today by tackling these themes in her novel. By exploring these themes in her book, Shelley created a position that is still relevant today and has had a lasting impact on popular culture.

In conclusion, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is still relevant today since it significantly impacts popular culture and science. The novel’s themes of ambition, morality, and the effects of scientific development are still important today, with applications ranging from its use in movies and Halloween decorations to its impact on cloning, genealogy, and operations. These can be observed in modern popular culture and scientific advancement facets.

Works Cited

Breedlove, Byron. “Revisiting the Island of Doctor Moreau.” Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal, 2021,

Crisan, Marius-Mircea, and Carol Senf. “Bram Stoker’s Dracula: The Transformation of Tradition.” The Palgrave Handbook of Steam Age Gothic, 2021, pp. 647–667.

Greely, Henry T. “Frankenstein and Modern Bioscience: Which Story Should We Heed?” Huntington Library Quarterly, vol. 83, no. 4, 2020, pp. 799–821.

Laemmle Jr, Carl, director. Frankenstein | “It’s Alive!”YouTube, Universal Pictures, 25 Oct. 2020, Accessed 10 Mar. 2023.

Loga, Johnn and Sam Mendes, directors. Penny Dreadful Season 1 | Official Trailer | Eva Green & Josh Hartnett SHOWTIME SeriesYouTube, Penny Dreadful, 14 Feb. 2014, Accessed 10 Mar. 2023.

Shelley, Mary. “Frankenstein or, The Modern Prometheus.” ManyBooks, Project Gutenberg, 10 Dec. 2012,[item7]!/4/3:12).

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