Most people find something in their lifetime that intrigues them. They look into it more and more and it eventually becomes a hobby, which then evolves into a passion. Throughout this process, they put more of their focus on that particular thing. Then they start to forget things like doing chores, homework, or simply hanging out with friends. This lack of responsibility is a huge possibility for anybody that develops a passion. A man named Victor Frankenstein goes through this process not knowing the outcome of it all. Sadness, life, tragedy, and death all play a part in his lack of responsibility. In Mary Shelley’s gothic horror novel Frankenstein, Victor loses touch with reality when he is blinded by his passion for science and creating life. Passion is when people have uncontrollable joy for something they love doing. Children often feel this grand love, just like Victor when he discovers he has a craving for science. Victor’s findings of science and philosophy are childlike. When Victor is around the age of thirteen, he stumbles upon some books that give him joy and excitement. He expresses “A new light seemed to dawn upon my mind, and bounding with joy, I communicated my discovery to my father,” (Shelley 24). Victor has a new light shining in his head and he is full of excitement and joy. So much joy that he feels the need to go and tell his father about what he read. At this point in his life, Victor is still a growing boy that is still learning and developing.
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Frankenstein removes himself from friends, family and society in order to absolve himself from responsibility of morals. Through efforts to maintain control and an acute fascination, Frankenstein alienates himself at an early age in the name of science. Victor is not entirely ignorant of the dangers of his self-satisfying obsession as he first regrettably reflects, “I was, to a great degree, self-taught with regard to my favorite studies. My father was not scientific, and I was left to struggle with a child’s blindness, added to a student’s thirst for knowledge” (Shelley 28). Rather than recognizing that his isolation is self-induced, Victor blames his alienation on his father’s ignorance. By controlling his relationships, he gains greater confidence in his own abilities, instead of relying on others’ companionship. Notably, evidence for Victor’s disregard toward “domestic affection” is reintroduced as he remarks, “I must absent myself from all I loved while thus employed. Once commenced, it would quickly be achieved, and I might be restored to my family in peace and happiness” (Shelley 138). With selfishness at the core, Victor controls his chaos by distancing himself temporarily, so that he might reunite with his family at a later date. He is being inundated by the common belief that glorious scientific achievement comes at the cost of moral and ethical sacrifice. Victor justifies his self-alienation by means of the creature; however readers
In Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein initially sets out on a rational quest “to examine the causes of life,” but his excessive ambition slowly turned into an irrational mission. Victor’s passion sent him into isolation, bordering on obsession, and “… dizzy with the immensity of the prospect …” (I.iii.3) of “…infusing life into an inanimate body” (I.iv.3). Victor’s quest for knowledge about the supernatural caused him to sacrifice, Victor sacrificed his health and family to further his scientific knowledge by experimenting on the dead. When he finally achieved his goal, “the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled [his] heart” (I.iv.3). The rational scientist, achieved his goal, but is immediately horrified by the final result.
The idea of pursuing knowledge clouded Victor’s mind and when his creature is born he is shocked to discover that what he has created is far off his own expectations. Not only did the monster destroy his expectations of developing a creature that went beyond human knowledge, but it also affected his life, dignity, and fears. Victor himself admits to his own mistake when he says, “The different accidents of life are not so changeable as the feelings of human nature...but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless honor and disgust filled my heart ” (36). Victor Frankenstein realizes what his obsession with pursuing an extensive amount of knowledge has brought him. His destiny to achieve the impossible with no regard for anyone or anything but himself shows that he is blinded by knowledge when creating the monster and is incapable to foresee the outcome of his creation. Victor’s goal was meant to improve and help humanity, but instead it leads to
Victor Frankenstein finds himself exploring the world of science where “it was the secret of heaven and earth… the outward substance of things or the inner spirits of nature and the mysterious soul of man” that attracted him (Shelley 18). Victor thirst for knowledge comes from his study of chemistry with a zeal for the antiquated world of alchemy. It was the alchemy books that convinces him to go beyond what the normal human limits can do, that is, the answer to life. Through the books he thrives on learning about natural science and looked upon the alchemists works and “took their word for all that they averred, and became their disciple” (Shelley 25). His readings direct him toward the study of forbidden knowledge which ultimately set him up for failure as he became addicted to create life to the point where he robbed graveyards for limbs and committing many unholy acts to create his monster. His unchecked ambition proves to have devastating consequences as his irresponsibility causes the death of those he loves most and he himself falls under the ascendancy of his own
In Frankenstein, Shelly demonstrates how Ambition prevents people from seeing reality and knowing the consequences of their actions. The book presents the idea that when people become too ambitious, they seem to lose the concept of right and wrong. For instance in a series of letter to his sister, Walton describes his exploration to the north pole in hopes of chasing after the unpossessed knowledge, however his dreams are short lived as his ambition leads him to a life threatening situation. Walton himself agrees with the situation when he states," So strange an accident has happened to us ... we were nearly surrounded by ice, which closed in the ship on all sides, scarcely leaving her the sea-room in which she floated.
“Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, 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 60). In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, she expresses her beliefs regarding the danger of pursuing happiness through the attainment of knowledge, because true happiness is found in the emotional connections established between people. The pursuit of knowledge is not necessarily an evil thing, but it can cause destruction when it is pursued beyond natural limits. Victor Frankenstein becomes a slave to his passion for learning in more than one way; first his life is controlled by
Victor Frankenstein was obsessed with knowledge, and thought knowledge was the key to unlocking nature and become a pioneer in science and challenging God. “I have described myself as always having been imbued with a fervent longing to penetrate the secrets of nature” (Shelley, Frankenstein, 21). Victor always had to push boundaries, and his passion drove him closer to science and immorality and farther from his family and friends. Once Victor sees his abomination animated, his potential come alive, he wishes for nothing more than if it had never happened. He moves on to a new obsession – fleeing his past. It consumes him and his health.
Critic Northrop Frye once commented that "Tragic heroes are so much the highest points in their human landscapes" (Frye 1). Few characters illustrate this characteristic of a tragic hero better than that of Victors Frankenstein, the protagonist of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. His story is one of a brilliant man whose revolutionary ideas brought suffering to himself, his family and friends, and his creation. Victor is an instrument as well as a victim to this suffering throughout his story.
Victor Frankenstein’s fixation on the understanding of life, shows the negative psychological and physical effects of obsession as his mind becomes more centered around this passion. As a child Victor has explicitly said that “The world was to [him] a secret which [Victor] desired to divine. Curiosity, earnest research to learn the hidden laws of nature, gladness akin to rapture, as [the secrets] were unfolded to [him], are among the earliest
Victor Frankenstein, a complex character created by Mary Shelley, experienced a complete change in attitude and perspective on the scientific world as he knew it. Between the deaths of his close family and friends, to the constant fight for survival as his own creation stalked him, Victor was under straining circumstances that allowed for his evolution as a character. Pre monster, Victor had strong morals and close relationships with his family. His family was his priority. Victor’s dedication to science was always a constant nagging in the back of his mind, but it did not mean more to him than his family dead. During the formation of his creation, he began to block off his family, especially his fiancee, Elizabeth. His dedication to science was his only priority, above food and hygiene. He was driven by the creation of his monster. After creation, his family members were killed off, eliminating any type of relationship he had with them, he rejected all science and moral values.
His father then explained it to him - electricity. Victor's interest was again sparked, this time literally. Victor turned seventeen and went to attend the University of Ingolstadt in Germany, studying Natural Philosophy. At Ingolstadt, Victor met with a professor who said, "The ancient teachers of this science promised impossibilities, and performed nothing. The modern masters ... have acquired new and almost unlimited powers; they can command the thunders of heaven, mimic the earthquake, and even mock the invisible world with its own shadows." This quote, which could indeed be interpreted as man "playing god", very much intrigued Victor. He was fascinated - spending every waking moment in the presence of his professors and his science. Victor read and absorbed as much information as he possibly could.The major turning point of the novel then begins; Victor endeavors to create a human being. If he would have been unsuccessful, the novel would have ended, but the question of whether it was moral to even attempt to create life would have still remained. Thus, the single most important and prominent theme in the novel begins - morality versus scientific discovery.
Psychoanalytical criticism analyzes motivations, which are the compelling force behind life’s myriad of decisions. Mary Shelley inventively evaluates the incentives which are responsible for propelling the characters of Frankenstein into their fatal downfall; making Frankenstein a prime source for psychoanalytical study. Shelley’s novel follows the work of a promising chemist, Victor Frankenstein, who makes a remarkable discovery that has the potential to forever alter the scientific study and nature of human life. Ultimately, this science becomes liable for Victor’s tragic fate. Previous to Victor’s revolutionary breakthrough, he had begun a process of detaching himself from the rest of humankind; following the completion of his
Modern science has dramatically evolved over the past years, there is a concern on whether or not people will try to play God with such developments and what damaging consequences could occur. Body modifications, cloning, Genetic engineering, and various fields in biotechnology are prime examples of fields that are attaining great advancements in a swift manner that increase concerns over the consequences. Progress in science induces people to question what it means to be a human and their own human nature, just as it causes people to question the effects that scientific progress may have on their good fortune, happiness or common welfare.The protagonist of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein is incited to advance the field of
Romanticism was a movement that swept over all of Europe; it affected all areas of life and society, not only just literatruture. At its base was a belief in the rights of man and this impetus led to two enormously important resolutions: the American Revolution and the French Resolution. Romanticism does not only mean romantic love, it is a literary term characterized by elements. Some elements of romanticism are growth of industrialization, mingling of races, frontier, experimentation, and optimism. One of the writers that include romanticism in their writings is Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly.
In her novel Frankenstein, Mary Shelley is trying to convey the message that science and technology can be dangerous in the wrong hands. She affirms this idea through the character of Victor, a cautionary tale, but dispels the idea that all pursuit of knowledge is bad through more traditionally romantic characters such as Henry Clerval. Shelley is complicit in her understanding that curiosity and experimentation are unbreakably tied to the human condition, and tries to warn the world of the evil that can come from this. However, the effects of the interpretation of this book can vary: it is an exemplary cautionary tale, and a much needed reminder of ethics in an increasingly technology-dependent world, but one could easily take these warnings too far and use her novel as a means to quell innovation or incite censorship. In a world of technology that would be unbelievable to Shelley, her work still remains relevant, notably in the field of genetic engineering. Frankenstein raises important questions about ethics, responsibility and censorship, and is applicable to modern technological issues such as genetic engineering.