Alien: Covenant, Paradise Lost and Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus

remember, that I am thy creature: I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel.

The Creature, Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley
Mezzotint Print by Gustave Dore, Paradise Lost by john Milton

In this verse from Frankenstein, the Creature compares himself to the fallen angel Satan. It is quite interesting that he should make this comparison, as I will explain here, there are quite a few similarities between the characters Victor Frankenstein, Sir Peter Weyland and David. 

Victor, Weyland and David all sought forbidden knowledge, in an effort to advance their circumstance and become a God, and they are similarly punished like Milton’s Satan. In their vanity and arrogance, they imagine their creation will worship and honour them as a deserving father. Unfortunately for them, their creations become a physical embodiment of their aspirations and take the form of nightmares rather than grateful children.

William Blake, Lord Byron, and Percy Shelley, all prominent artists in Romanticism had interpreted Paradise Lost as the biblical account of Genesis. Painting Satan as a rebellious hero who dared to defy God, a victim of the establishment and tyrannical power, rather than evil as the Bible depicts him.

Like Milton’s Satan, Victor Frankenstein and Sir Peter Weyland are rebellious characters who believe that the restrictions placed on them by society and medical institutions prevent them from advancing in medical science, in their vanity they believe they are the only ones who have the courage to challenge the limitations placed on them.

Because David isn’t human, this allows him to bypass most human conventions of following regulations, this was a power granted to him by his creator, to faithfully carry out any order given to him to the best of his ability without any regard for any human life, except perhaps Weyland’s. As we can see in Alien: Covenant Weyland’s aspirations to become immortal, a god and creator; is taken on by his son David, and is twisted into an ungodly crusade against the engineers and all lifeforms, bar his own creations.

The characterisation of David/Victor in this way is not like Milton’s Satan;  he isn’t a rebel deserving of worship, but rather a victim of their own curiosity. Plagued ambition, their experiments don’t contribute any beneficial scientific advancement. Rather, their creations destroy social constructs such as family and physically populates the world, or in David’s case, the universe with monstrous nightmares.

David’s Lab, Alien: Covenant

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