How the Theme of Knowledge Helps to Explain Frankenstein by Mary Shelly

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Frankenstein, by Mary Shelly, raises important questions as to how the theme of knowledge helps to explain the story. The main focus of Frankenstein is the power of knowledge and how dangerous it can be. This power is portrayed in the main characters of the novel: Victor Frankenstein and the monster. The theme of knowledge helps to answer the question as to why Victor decides to tell Walton his secret. Both of these characters reveal a passion of discovery and intellect, which Victor has made his past and Walton only his future. Their obsessions of knowledge are mirrored in one another through the journeys they take until their paths cross. Finally, the question of the concluding effect of the conversation between Walton and the creature …show more content…

He is so consumed by keeping his secret safe; his loved ones are murdered as a result. For example, Henry Clervel has his life taken as an outcome of Victor’s betrayal to the creature. Victor’s failure to warn Henry creates increasing guilt which continues until the death of Elizabeth. He thinks of himself instead of logically warning his wife of the monster’s dangerous threats, “I shall be with you on your wedding-night.” (176) Right until Victor’s death, science is viewed as the only way of knowledge, as quoted, “the more fully I entered into the science, the more exclusively I pursued it for its own sake.” (77) This knowledge is ultimately used against him; the monster knows what Victor is capable of and uses his ability of creating life as a threat to make a new creature to acquaint the monster. As Victor contemplates this idea, he is also threatened by the possibility of new life being created, “… a race of devils would be propagated upon the earth” (174) which dictate his actions in destroying the wife of the creature. Knowledge ultimately consumes Victor. The power of knowledge is portrayed in the monster because of his ability in absorbing intelligence from the environment and applying it to the applicable situations. Victor built the creature as an overgrown, hideous “baby” with immense physical traits. Victor quotes, “I had been the author of unalterable

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