O miserable Mankind, to what fall Degraded, to what wretched state reserv'd! Better end here unborn! Why is life giv'n To be thus wrested from us? Rather why Obtruded on us thus? Who if we knew What we receive, would either not accept Life offer'd, or soon beg to lay it down, Glad to be so dismisst in peace.
John Milton, Paradise Lost
I abhor myself. But when I discovered that he, the author at once of my existence and of its unspeakable torments, dared to hope for happiness; that while he accumulated wretchedness and despair upon me he sought his own enjoyment in feelings and passions from the indulgence of which I was forever barred, then impotent envy and bitter indignation filled me with an insatiable thirst for vengeance.
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
Two sorrowful protests, one spoken by the wretched Adam to the God who created him, the other voiced by the equally wretched monster created by the science of Dr. Frankenstein. In these outcries there is a haunting expression of the West's preoccupation with the powerlessness and victimization of human beings, beings created by forces beyond their control and then sent blindly into a life of confusion, pain, and illness. The stories of Frankenstein's monster and Adam are tales of those who are eternally forsaken, stories in which the mythology of science and the mythology of religion merge. The mythic imagination may be transcendent, but, despite the undeniable distinctions between God's Adam and Frankenstein's monster, both characters are the subjects of pervasive Western myths that describe much the same cynicism. The characters of history are always changing--even the identities of their creators change--yet the essential myth of human victimization persists as one of the underlying relationships between people and their creators.