Published Title: 

Paradise Lost

Section type: 

With language, the world of knowledge opens up for the Creature. In the forest, he discovers an abandoned suitcase filled with books. He devours Milton’s Paradise Lost, Plutarch’s Lives, and Goethe’s The Sorrows of [Young] Werter. Of these, Paradise Lost has the greatest effect on him: “It moved every feeling of wonder and awe that the picture of an omnipotent God warring with his creatures was capable of exciting. Like Adam, I was apparently united by no link to any other being in existence; but... he had come forth from the hands of God a perfect creature, happy and prosperous, guarded by the especial care of his Creator; he was allowed to converse with, and acquire knowledge from, beings of a superior nature: but I was wretched, helpless, and alone. Many times I considered Satan as the fitter emblem of my condition; for often, like him, when I viewed the bliss of my protectors, the bitter gall of envy rose within me.”

The danger of seeking knowledge, which Frankenstein tells Walton can become “a serpent to sting you,” has been a theme from the start. Still, however, the Creature believes in the cottagers’ charity and he spends months preparing to reveal himself to them. When the day comes, he enters the cottage when only the blind De Lacey is there, telling him he seeks the protection of friends. But, just as De Lacey offers the first kind words ever spoken to the Creature — who pleads “You and your family are the friends whom I seek. Do not you desert me in the hour of trial!” — the rest of the family bursts in. Agatha faints. Felix attacks him. The Creature, “overcome by pain and anguish... quitted the cottage and in the general tumult escaped.”