Victor Frankenstein, playing God, resembles Satan from Milton's Paradise Lost, in which Satan is an archangel punished for his vanity, arrogance, and thirst for forbidden knowledge. Like him, Victor attempts to take over God's role as creator and master of the universe. This achievement, Victor imagines, will be a superior one, and the exuberant and admirable beings that he creates will worship and honor him like a most deserving father.
How does Frankenstein relate to Paradise Lost?
The Romantics, especially Blake, Byron, and Percy Shelley, interpreted Milton's account of the biblical story of Genesis as a celebration of Satan — the rebellious hero who defies the power of God. They regarded Satan not as the embodiment of evil, but as a victim of the tyrannical power of the establishment.
Like Milton's Satan, Victor Frankenstein is a rebellious character who has faith in his own creative powers and has the courage to aspire higher than his limited human condition allows. However, Mary Shelley does not present Victor's acts as positive or admirable. Victor's intellectual curiosity and ambition does not contribute to any scientific advancement or social progress. Instead, he destroys a family and, symbolically, populates the world with monstrous fantasies.