Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein can be compared in a few ways to the dæmon-lover, one of the ballads in the Norton Anthology. On page thirty-seven Shelly writes, “Destiny was too potent, and her immutable laws had decreed my utter and terrible destruction.” This statement perfectly illustrates Frankenstein and the dæmon-lover. A example where Shelly’s statement can be illustrated in the dæmon-lover is on line thirty-five through thirty-six where the ballad says, “O fair ye weel, my ain two babes, For I’ll never see you again.” The woman in the dæmon-lover abandons her duty as a mother and wife in hopes to pursue a new life with a wealthier man at her side. Later on the woman realizes she has made a horrible mistake. In lines fifty-one through fifty-two it says, “until she espied his colven foot, and she wept right bitterlie.” The life changing mistake she made would not only affect her family back home, but ends up being the reason she would lose her own life. The woman created her own nightmare just like Victor created his. The woman and Victor had no idea what they were getting into initially.
Furthermore, Victor expresses his dark emotions about the lifeless bodies on page forty-six when he says, “Darkness had no effect upon my fancy; and a churchyard was to me merely the receptacle of bodies deprived of life, which, from being the seat of beauty and strength, had become food for the worm.” Victor later on page forty-seven goes on to say, “I succeeded in discovering the cause of generation and life; nay, more, I became myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter.” Two years later Victor’s creation is believed to have committed the murder of his younger brother and he expresses his hatred on page sixty-eight when he describes him as, “gigantic stature, and the deformity of its aspect, more hideous than belongs to humanity, instantly informed me that it was the wretch, the filthy dæmon, to whom I had given life.” This is another way the woman and Victor are alike. They have both lost something to the monsters they thought they would love. Victor loses a brother at the hands of the monster he created and the woman loses her life at the hands of the monster she trusted.
In addition, the book and the ballad both bring many ethical and moral questions to light. Victor for example hated his “son” because he wasn’t what he expected. In the bible it is mentioned in Exodus 20:13, “You shall not murder.” Not only did victor break many traditional morals when he took the creation of life away from God and made his own creation, but he also set out to murder his own creation. The ballad brings up many moral questions about motherly duties. Victor and the woman were both awful parents that ended up wanting to turn back time after they had both created their own nightmares.
In conclusion the ballad and the book can be compared in many different ways. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley was merely a ghost story told between friends with the purpose of disturbing and grabbing the interest of readers. Likewise the dæmon-lover was also written as a ghost story. From both of these works readers can gain an understanding of consequences they will have to face if they make the same decisions.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Introduction and Notes by Karen Karbiener. Barnes and Noble, 2003.
“The daemon-lover.” The Norton Anthology of British Literature: The Romantic Period. 10th ed. Stephen Greenblatt, General Editor. W. W. Norton, 2017. Pp. 31-39