Frankenstein, written by Mary Shelley, explores the theme of the pursuit of knowledge and scientific discovery through the main characters; Victor Frankenstein, the Creature and Robert Walton. This pursuit of knowledge drives the plot of the novel, leading Victor to create the Creature in his attempt to break down the mortal barriers that surround him and unlock the secret of life. Robert Walton’s quest for discovery leads him to the North Pole, far beyond the reach of Humans at that time. Ultimately Victor’s thirst for knowledge and scientific discovery did him more harm than good with Victor’s hatred of his creation driving him to death. Frankenstein’s message to the modern is age is simply put as “humans should not meddle in the business of the gods”. Mary Shelley’s is using Frankenstein and the actions of the characters in the novel to warn us that although we have the technology to for example, create a human being, some things are better left to nature. In our quest for knowledge we can do ourselves more harm than good. Through her novel Shelley tells us that on our path of scientific discovery there are some trails better left unexplored.
From the beginning of time until now the limitless pursuit of knowledge reveals man’s weakness. Modern society provides humans with a wide variety of sources on how to gain knowledge, both good and evil. The thirst for forbidden knowledge beyond what man can essentially handle, causes a tragic life. The protagonist in the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley exemplifies the behavior of the ideal man grasping for more knowledge than he can truly bare; in turn this knowledge becomes tarnished. Shelley eludes to the Greek myth of Prometheus allowing the reader to delve deeper into the general theme that those who pursue an insatiable desire for knowledge, if not tamed,
Alchemy (Early Chemistry) was another science closely related to medicine. Alchemy was the name given to this science in Latin Europe in the 12th century. It was a belief that the human body was closely related to the stars and the heavens. Over hundreds of years, the main goals of alchemists were to turn any metal into gold and discover an elixir which could cure all ills or lead to immortality. This magical elixir was called the philosopher’s stone. Alchemy was based on the belief that there are four basic elements – fire, earth, air and water – and three essentials – salt, sulfur and mercury. The metals gold, silver, copper, lead, iron, and tin were all known before the rise of alchemy. The liquid metal, mercury, and the burning rock, sulfur, were also known. Many processes with these elements were known to alchemists. The art of alchemy was heavily spiritual. Alchemists were the first to try out different ideas and experiment with different elements, but because of their intense metaphysical and spiritual beliefs, they didn’t develop modern day scientific methods.
Victor Frankenstein was a young boy, born in Naples, who wanted to explore and figure out what was just beyond his reach through science. “My temper was sometimes violent, and my passions vehement, but by some law in my temperature they were turned, not towards childish pursuits, but to an eager desire to learn… It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn,” (Shelly 37). At the age of thirteen Victor read a work of Cornelius Agrippa‘s, a German physician who was persecuted during his life for his mystical philosophies, while vacationing off the French shore of Lake Geneva. After reading Agrippa, Victor’s feelings toward natural philosophy soon changed into enthusiasm, and he continued to read other author’s including Paracelsus and Albertus Magnus. “I read and studied the wild fancies of these writers with delight, they appeared to me
In thesis number five of Monster Theory (Cohen), it describes “the monster policing the borders of the possible”. The creation of Frankenstein was a result of pure curiosity. It was quickly shown that Frankenstein was a warning against the experimentation of life. The industrial revolution also pushed its limits by its creation of new machinery. This is a prime example of curiosity being more punished then embraced. While these creations were not intended to get the outcome that it did, it still led to the anxiety of society. If these types of creations could be made, what else was to come? During the industrial revolution, people feared the loss of their jobs over machinery and they knew that any further advancement could potentially hurt them.
Frankenstein's world parallels that which we live in now. Today, scientists are misunderstood by those who are scientifically illiterate. Society constantly questions the benefit of experimentation, punishes scientists when they do not make revolutionary discoveries, and fails to understand that science is a process of trial and error. Frankenstein faces all these criticisms from readers and is belittled as foolish, emotional, and tunnel visioned. However, assuming these things about Frankenstein ignores the full story and becomes hypocritical, as these views are tunnel visioned and emotional as well.
In the beginning of the book, young Victor Frankenstein is very interested in all kinds of sciences, namely Alchemy and Chemistry. He is also fascinated by the creation of life, and of the power of electricity. Victor is enthralled by the wonder of lightening, and he describes it as “so soon the light vanished, the oak had disappeared, and nothing remained but a blasted stump” (Frankenstein 17). This event causes the young boy to question nature, and
Smith’s article ‘Frankenstein and natural magic’ takes a literary approach to the analysis of ‘Frankenstein’ although this is supported by some background scientific knowledge. Through the article, Smith describes the impacts science has made on Frankenstein’s life . Smith plays close attention to Frankenstein’s childhood, where he discovered the ancient philosophers, and his Ingolstadt years. It is in these periods where Smith argues that Frankenstein is not a natural philosopher but a natural magician due to his affinity for the ancient natural sciences, the romantic genius he posses and by contrasting Frankenstein against traditional, enlightenment stereotypes of the natural philosophers within the text and the greater Socio-historical
Mary Shelley also shows the consequences of the pursuit of knowledge by depicting a mad scientist that did not think of the significance of the penalties he would face. Victor Frankenstein creates a monster that leaves him alone in this world and ultimately leads to his death. He says himself, “‘Learn from me. . . how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow’” (Shelley 64). Curiosity is an important factor in humans even today. One could be curious about every aspect in life like Victor was. Once again, Victor did not know his limits, and this led him to face the consequences. The question now could be, would it be better if we were brainwashed and did not have the ability to pursue knowledge? What if we believe every word the media says? If our pursuit of knowledge cuts off, then one would believe everything the media says. As Albert Einstein says, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but
Curiosity and lack of self control create an incredibly dangerous combination. Many experiments should not be undertaken. Some questions should be left unposed. However, more often than not, humanity ignores the line of prudence, pursuing their interests to treacherous depths, leading to disastrous results. But no matter the depth of the error, those responsible become obligated to ameliorate the situation, just as companies putting out a faulty product become obligated to recall it, to secure the situation by any means necessary.
Curiosity is often defined as a strong desire to know or learn something. Being filled to the brim with curiosity is one of the most amazing feelings. Finding something you are interested in and wanting to know every single thing there is to know about it. Being inquisitive is such a powerful thing, always wanting to see more, to hear more, to do more, to be more. It makes people who they are, if someone is not very curious, they might be very dull because they know what they know and they are content with that. It is the naturally curious people that get more out of life, because they are always searching for something more, something bigger and brighter, and often they find it. But, in certain situations, being overly
Since we were children, we’ve been told that ‘curiosity killed the cat.’ We’ve been warned that being inquisitive and asking questions is a good thing for extending our knowledge, but being too nosey can lead to our downfall. This idea is demonstrated throughout Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Frankenstein is the classic tale of how one man’s thirst for knowledge is so overwhelming that he decides to play God and mess with forces of nature that are not meant to be messed with, leading to his and his loved one’s untimely demise. The novel Frankenstein strongly exhibits how curiosity can destroy man and his morale and how being too inquisitive can make a monster out of anyone.
Having knowledge can be a good thing but it can also be dangerous. Most people have more knowledge than others, we all have knowledge in fields that we have most interest in. In the book Frankenstein the theme show how knowledge gets you places but also in situations that are dangerous. Frankenstein is found exploring the world of science, he goes against his father’s word and keeps moving forward. In this era the knowledge of science was not as advanced as it is today, even though Frankenstein got shot down with his ideas. He still went to discover answers to death and beyond normal human limits. He eventually gets what he was looking for and the answers to life. Frankenstein’s new knowledge and discovers, he becomes obsessed with making a
Sure, we see Victor Frankenstein first attempting to learn the secrets of nature by consulting classic works of the occult in Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein. The truth is, he is curious about a real-world science by observing his professors. Which annex the idea of how magic can be considered as a science since every element can affect a human by our 5 senses. To support the thesis, on pages 34 and 35 “If, instead of this remark, my father had taken the pains to explain to me that the principles of Agrippa had been entirely exploded and that a modern system of science had been introduced which possessed much greater powers than the ancient, because the powers of the latter were chimerical, while those of the former were real and practical, under such circumstances I should certainly have thrown Agrippa aside and have contented my imagination, warmed as it was, by returning with greater ardour to my former studies.This is the moment where science becomes more empirical”(Shelley 34,35). This is the main cause of what made Victor Frankenstein fulfill his curiosity of modern science because the modern science has taken some ideas from medieval science and feels creative of doing this action.
Alchemy is considered the precursor to modern chemistry. When you think of chemistry, usually you think of an exact science; something very meticulous. Truthfully, it is. To be accurate and to obtain precise and desired results, it must be accurate. Alchemy, however, was not an exact science, it was a primitive approach to the elements and usually they looked to a deity to actually initiate chemical reactions. Thus we separated them, but for good reason. In today's time we us instruments to give us exactness and precision that mankind had formerly ignored. Throughout time you will see that mankind has used chemistry to solve its most complex of problems and build a world that 7 billion people have come to know as home.