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Literature: Shakespeare

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Mary Shelly's Frankenstein opens with a series of letters from the arctic
explorer Robert Walton to his sister Margaret Saville in England. In these
letters Walton reveals his Promethean, "machismo" qualities to his
sister as he heads, ambition unbridled, into an inhospitable world of ice and
sea. Like Victor Frankenstein, whom he meets on the last leg of the journey of
horror, Robert Walton writes unhinged from a deeper reason or wisdom. What if,
though, we could enter the Frankenstein myth from the point of view of his
sister, Margaret? Margaret's letter to her ambitious brother would give the
reader a sense of what Robert's true nature is and what is fueling his journey.
Oh dear brother, I am truly happy for your optimistic forethought's but yet
there is still an itch in my heart that warns me of true danger to this
celebrated voyage of your undertaking. Robert, ever since you were an infant you
dreamed of altering the state of humanity. At first you studied the voyages of
men like Cartier and Columbus but you grew tired of this and make a liking
toward the classics. You say you wished to achieve the mastery of a poem yet
even though you intrigued my fancy it was good to compare to that of Homer or
Shakespeare, and thus inadequate. And now once again you wish to change the
world as we perceive it by discovering the North Pole. Can you not see, Robert,
that you only failed at leading the role of the poet because you set the
criterion much too high? I can see this happening once again. You seem to
believe it is fixed fate that you shall rise to the top of the world on an
adventurous, yet dangerous journey that could very easily prove to be the demise
of you or the elevation of your psyche. Oh, Robert, I mean not to depress your
spirits or foretell a dark future. I only mean to see what is the best and most
safe for you. Brother, I love you and wish for nothing to ever wrong to fall
upon your head yet I cannot simply dismiss this feeling of dread I behold
whenever I dream of you sailing off into the cold bitter ice. I'm sorry for
bringing up these dark apparitions of my mind but I could not let you go without
at least warning you. Do not worry Robert, by most likely circumstances I am
dearly wrong and am but fortune-telling like that of a lying gypsy. On a lighter
note, I just finished getting published in the London Times an article on the
role of women in today's society. The publisher enjoyed my work but still wanted
to make changes. He thinks that I can be a regular writer for the Times. Isn't
that splendid! Of course, there are the obvious problems of being a women writer
and having such fiery opinions on today's topics. I am going to be a writer and
I owe it all to you, Robert. If you had not encouraged me to bring forth my
creative power I would have never gotten this far. I thank you brother. I just
hope that the world will know my name like they will know yours. Brother, once
again I must warn you against the spectres and demons that you may encounter in
your journey to the North. One more word Robert. I read those books in Uncle
Tom's library at times and noticed an article that at times deemed to be
interesting but now may be worth to your safety and well being. In the mid
1660's when the whole search for the pole began the governments around the world
spent much time and money searching for the answer to what the climate is like
at the top of the world. They discovered that the pole was cold and rigid. Myth
arose of the riches that the pole possessed and many voyages to sent out to find
these. The only conclusion these voyagers came upon was that the pole is a place
of death and a desolate hell. Robert can you see that the North Pole is not a
land of tropic leisure but a frozen death. Once again I could be wrong but even
if there is a hint of truth behind what I've said then isn't that enough to
question what you are doing? I reiterate that I mean not to curse you with my
worries but to only seek what is safest for you. I must be going now brother.
May heaven always send an angel to protect and lead you through life. Good luck
in your discovery. Your caring sister, Margaret Saville. Mary Shelly could have
easily exchanged the positions of the author, Robert Walton, with the receiver,
Margaret, of these numerous letters in the introduction of Frankenstein. The
influence that this new author would have on the story could have greatly
changed the tone at which the story was perceived. Margaret would be responding
in perhaps a more "feminine" way to what happened to her brother and
also the overall mood that encompasses the Frankenstein story. The reader would
perhaps see the "animal" as not a killer but a mistreated and
misunderstood creature. Blame could then be brought upon his creator for
abandoning his creation and for not even giving the "creature" a
chance. The author's sensitivity would influence how the story would be told and
great detail would be placed on the loveless world that life was created upon.
More emotion would come to this story and would have possibly caused the various
movies to focus on this rather than a psychotic murderer.
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