Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851)
"The Mortal Immortal" (1833)
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Things to Consider:
- Religious Views of Death and Immortality
- Standards of Beauty and Roles of Women
- Role of Science
- Forms of Reproduction
- Textual Analysis and the Role of Engravings
- Describe the circumstances surrounding Mary Godwin's birth.
"The Mortal Immortal"
- Describe the circumstances surrounding Mary Godwin's
elopement with Percy Shelley.
- Who is the Wandering Jew?
- Why doesn't Agrippa tell Winzy the true nature of his
- How does the description of Bertha correspond to that of
the potion on 964?
- Explain: "That delicious draught of a divine elixir . . .
had inspired me with courage and resolution, thus winning for
me an inestimable treasure in my Bertha" (965).
- Explain: "She sought to decrease the apparent
disparity of our ages by a thousand feminine arts" (968).
- Explain: "Such an enigma is man--born to
perish--when he wars, as I do, against the established laws of
his nature" (969).
- How might Winzy become "the wonder and benefactor of the
human species" (970)?
- Why is Winzy writing his story?
Other Discussion Questions:
- Why did Godwin refuse to recognize his daughter's
relationship with Percy Shelley?
- Describe the circumstances surrounding the composition
- Describe the circumstances surrounding Mary Shelley's
return to England in 1822.
- How old is the narrator of the story?
- Who is Cornelius Agrippa?
- Explain: "His memory is as immortal as his arts have
made me" (962).
- Why is Winzy afraid to work for Agrippa?
- Explain: "Still I was too poor to marry, and she grew weary
of being tormented on my account" (962).
- Why does Winzy decide to work for Agrippa after all?
- Explain: "I was jealous as a Turk" (963).
- Why does Winzy drink the potion?
- Explain: "A prophet is least regarded in his own
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- Why is Bertha so intent on finding signs of age in Winzy?