20 January 2017
The Dangerous Pursuit of Knowledge Many people would argue that knowledge is power, but can too much knowledge be dangerous? How much is too much? Throughout history, the human race has had struggles with “too much knowledge” or going to extreme lengths to gain such knowledge. Is the everlasting quest to know something really worth it? In today’s generation, there is constantly new inventions of technology and theories of science. But maybe knowledge is starting to ruin people’s life and it shouldn’t be sought after. Very similar in the novel Frankenstein, written by Mary Shelley, Victor Frankenstein deals with the deadly pursuit of knowledge. He is constantly intrigued into
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In chapter 2, Victor says, “The raising of ghosts or devils was a promise liberally accorded by my favorite authors, the fulfillment of which I most eagerly sought; and if my incantations were always unsuccessful, I attributed the failure rather to my own inexperience and mistake than to a want of skill or fidelity in my instructors” (Shelley 34). This lets the readers know how Victor thinks about life. Victor blamed his lack of experience whenever he failed, only making the burning desire to learn become even greater. He believed in repetition as a way to advance him in his studies. A trait many yearn for, yet the intense repetition was slowly killing Victor as far as his relationship with people and his family went. As Victor continues his studies, he finally feels like he has acquired everything there is to know about the body. He then dangerously seeks the deep dark and underlying secrets to life. Victor wanting to make a difference in the world says, “I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation” (Ch. 3). Vowing to this statement, Victor envisions creating a race with superior beings. He confines himself in his apartment and begins to passionately work on his creation. “Cloistered in scholarly pursuit, Victor goes into hiding in his study and fully loses touch with the primacy of physicality”
As the novel goes on everyone Victor once cared for are decimated in the path of his creation. "I was possessed by a maddening rage when I thought of him and desired and ardently prayed that I might have him within my grasp to wreak a great and signal revenge on his cursed head" (Shelley 103). Now, due to his unwavering lust for knowledge, all that was once good and innocent has been stripped from him. This has left him as a former shell of himself, to be compared with his own creation, solely driven by vengeance.
Victor, the protagonist, is a Byronic hero who voluntarily isolates himself from society as his obsession of creating a new life-being becomes his main interest. He cuts himself off from all human contact and concentrates on his scientific experiment as he wishes his “thirst for knowledge” (Shelley 38) to be stilled. Additionally, he hides a dark secret inside him, namely the creation of the monster which he irresponsibly abandons and ultimately is forced to accept the consequences of death of his loved ones.
Victor has become obsessed with studying (something no one should ever be interested in) and has locked himself in his room studying for days on end. He "applied so closely, it may be easily conceived that my progress was rapid. My ardour was indeed the astonishment of the students, and my proficiency that of the masters... Two years passed in this manner, during which I paid no visit to Geneva, but was engaged, heart and soul, in the pursuit of some discoveries which I hoped to make". (7) This early application of himself is what drove him to become lonely and reclusive, shying away from all who attempted to come into contact with him. He is also inspired in this chapter to start his reanimation project. He becomes consumed in this one project spending many months alone in the top of his apartment assembling his creature. He raided slaughter houses, grave yards, and dissection rooms to furnish what he needed to create his monster. The lines between life and death became blurred
Victor begins to possess an unnatural drive in his quest for knowledge where he begins intense study and experimentation, “These thoughts supported my spirits, while I pursued my undertaking with unremitting ardour. My cheek had grown pale from study, and my person had become emaciated with confinement” eventually isolating himself from his friends and family. As the seasons passed Victor’s obsession with his studies continued to grow, “And the same feelings which made me neglect the scenes around me caused me also to forget those friends who were so many miles absent, and whom I had not seen for so long a time” highlighting how his ambition is a fatal flaw, neglecting the outside world and his loved ones. Victor’s ambition to research and attempt to create life drains him of health and sensibility, “Every night I was oppressed by a slow fever, and I became nervous to a most painful degree” which is ironic to the goal he wishes to achieve. Shelly’s use of irony illuminates how Victor’s obsessive ambition has become a fatal flaw.
whether it was the outward substance of things or the inner spirit of nature and the mysterious soul of a man that occupied me, still my inquiries were directed to the metaphysical, or in it highest sense, the secrets of the world.” (23) Victor has said, this quote shows Victor’s deep desire to learn about all the secrets the world may have. This is the when Victor realizes what he would like to dedicate his life’s work to. Victor ignores both his social life, and his health. He focuses solely on discovering the secrets nature holds. Victor’s obsession with this consumes all his time thus destroying relationships he had. This shows that Victor no longer holds his friends or family close, but instead he pushes them aside to focus on what he feels is more important. Victor speaks of all the countless nights and days he has spent, and how he is tired. Victor had stopped mailing Elizabeth, and she grows worried all due to his search for knowledge. Later on in the story Victor’s work comes alive. He creates a monster, and from this point on nothing will be the same between him and his
During adolescence, Victor develops a fascination for the mysteries of natural science. He goes to Ingolstadt to enhance his knowledge where he engrosses himself in his studies eventually developing a deep passion for science and human anatomy. After attending the university, Victor’s thirst for more knowledge leads him to take on the project of creating a living creature. He submerges himself in his work and refuses to give up, even sacrificing his health. “After days and nights of incredible labour and fatigue, I succeeded in discovering the cause of generation and life; nay, more, I became myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter” (Shelly 41). Victor’s obsession with learning the secret to life causes him to become isolated and unhealthy. He removed himself from his social life and never did anything else besides work on his creation. Victor’s thirst for knowledge is what urges him to make the creature, eventually leading to him
It is Victor's story that truly exposes the true theme of the story, with him speaking of his days as a child and his first friendship with the girl his parents adopted. He lives a fine life, full of joy and happiness with friend plentiful. When he goes to college he is without friends, but soon befriends one of the professors and engaged in lengthy conversations with him. This isn't the same friendship as before, lacking the real love and companionship of his family, and he soon begins work on his creation. He so overwhelmed by the idea of creating a perfect person he is blinded from the deformity of the creature. When the creature is finished he examines his work and is mortified by it, running and hiding he escapes the creature that soon wanders away. Soon after Victor becomes sick and deathly, he shuns society and people and is almost dead when his friend Clerval arrives at the college. Clerval nurses Victor back to health, but Victor isn't physically sick, he has just
In chapters 9 and 10 Mary Shelley portrays Victor’s mood as dark he feels guilt that he is alive and Justine has been held responsible for his crime and has been executed. Although he is still alive feels dead, like his creation “The blood flowed freely in my veins, but a weight of despair and remorse pressed on my heart…” Victor is saddened that his life as a scientist started with good intentions he was keen to help people but this ambition went astray.
In the novel, Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein shows the cruel karma that joins in the achievement of attaining knowledge. With countless examples to support this statement, the opinion of this reader holds strong with the opinion of Mary Shelly, that the power of knowledge, though incredibly tempting to grasp hold of tightly, can be a dangerous achievement that can lead to more destruction than it can recover.
Throughout Frankenstein it is evident that Victor and Robert express their thirst for knowledge, which often leads to destruction. Through analyzing Frankenstein it is possible to find many examples that illustrate the fact that wanting to have more knowledge can be extremely dangerous. Firstly, as Victor is creating life he is able to create a humanoid monster, unfortunately he is appalled by his creation and becomes very ill. Afterwards, when Victor is completing the female companion for his original creation, Victor realizes that this will only create more destruction. Finally, as Walton is on a journey to the North Pole he encounters difficulties that nearly kill him and his crew. This shows that Victor and Walton are repeatedly
This need of power led Victor to create what he believed would be a beautiful human being. But he failed to see that combining the most beautiful human features does not necessarily create a beautiful human being. He was inspired by scientists who ...acquired new and almost limitless powers... (Shelley, Frankenstein, P. 47). Victor sought this unlimited power to the extent of taking the role of God. He not only penetrated nature, but also he assumed power of reproduction in a maniacal desire to harness these modes of reproduction in order to become acknowledged, respected, and obeyed as a father. While bringing his creation into the world he was himself alienated from society, and isolated himself from the community. Isolation and parental neglect cause viciousness within man. Because of his upbringing, Victor had no sense of empathy, and therefore could not realize the potential harm he was creating towards himself and his creation. The sole purpose of his project was an attempt to gain power, but instead of power Victor realized that a morally irresponsible scientific development could release a monster that can destroy human civilization.
Humanity revolves around the basis of one concept: knowledge. The acquisition of knowledge has driven humanity’s progress and will continue to propel man into new heights. There comes a point where the want for knowledge becomes dangerous. The novelette, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, tells the tale of a man meddling in the affairs of another, who dwells in macabre, in order to gain insight. Man lives for knowledge, but sometimes it is that knowledge that quenches man’s ability to live.
As the book begins, we are introduced to Victor’s personality, which is highly enthusiastic at first. He is immersed into his studies at Ingolstadt, slowly making his place within his university with his interest in the sciences. While studying, he is captivated by the structure of humans and shifts his studies into attempting to create a human being from a dead body (Shelley, 46). Slowly but surely, Victor begins to drift in daydreaming about giving life to a dead body. He says, “Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through..Pursuing these reflections, I thought, that if I could bestow animation upon lifeless matter, I might..renew life where death had
However, Victor is part of the problem throughout the novel, as his defiance of natural process exemplifies the need for humanity to control nature, through modification, identification, and oppression. Victor initially is inspired to create due to his unchecked foray into the sciences, to explore where "the principle of life proceed[ed]" (Shelley 31), and defy the natural courses of life and death. Victor's result, in that his creation subverts both humanity and nature through its actions, serves to illuminate the potential danger in attempting to control or modify nature for
As Victor becomes mad in his work, he empowers his life with a new, longing interest. He explained that he has been “imbued with a fervent longing to penetrate the secrets of nature” (Shelly 35). A