At the beginning of life, humans are exposed to the outside world with an open and blank mind. A newborn has no knowledge, no concerns or worries and it only seeks to fulfill its main necessities. Surrounded by the outside world one lives through many experiences where knowledge is accepted. Encountering other human beings reflects upon one's perception and brings about ones self decisions. Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, written in 1816, demonstrates through characters that an obsessive desire for more knowledge may ruin ones life.
Some say that knowledge can be a blessing and a curse. Others say that intelligence can only be a curse. People argue that knowledge can help mankind, while it can also can make dangerous monsters that can harm others. However, in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Victor’s intelligence is mostly seen only as a curse because it unleashes a murderer, results in his sickness, and makes him want the knowledge to be kept a secret.
Knowledge is often associated with great discovery, but also with terrible consequences and misadventure. Mary Shelley demonstrates this divide in Frankenstein, mainly in the differences between Victor Frankenstein and his beloved companion Henry Clerval. While Henry attempts to fulfill his curiosity rather innocently, Victor’s pursuit to create life is unethical and corrupt. Eventually, the attempts of both men lead to disaster despite their respective intentions. While successful at actualizing his ambitions, Henry is later murdered at the hands of Victor’s creation. Shortly after the death of his closest friend, Victor himself perishes a lonely and bitter man, just as his monster had hoped. Shelley utilizes the juxtaposition between Henry Clerval and Victor Frankenstein in order to prove how pursuing knowledge in an immoral way can be disastrous. This is demonstrated through their vastly different educational interests, the methods they use to achieve their goals, and their eventual deaths.
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,
“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
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
Within the book, Dr. Victor Frankenstein expresses the way in which knowledge has blessed him in the beginning of the story but in turn ends up resulting in his downfall.
The critically acclaimed novel written by Mary Shelley and published in 1818, delves into a multitude of universal themes throughout the text. One value that drives the plot forward, and leads to character development is the theme, human fulfillment of the pursuit of knowledge. It is Dr. Frankenstein 's unquenchable thirst for knowledge that leads to the future predicaments that ensue after the Creature is conceived and future moral dilemma. An example of Dr. Frankenstein 's disposition that lends itself to the validity of the stated theme, is as follows; “It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn; and whether it was the outward substance of things, or the inner spirit of nature and the mysterious soul of man that occupied me, still my inquiries were directed to the metaphysical, or, in its highest sense, the physical secrets of the world” (Shelley 30). The doctor 's preoccupation with his studies, that results in controversy over the suitable nature of such an unobtainable desire, is clearly exemplified in the quote, “If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasures in which no alloy can possibly mix, then that study is certainly unlawful, that is to say, not befitting the human mind” (45).
Knowledge plays an incredibly large part of Mary Shelly’s novel, Frankenstein. I think that Victor’s obsessive and unhealthy search for knowledge is the true cause of his suffering. Not only does he neglect his friends and family while working to create the monster he puts his own health in danger. “I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body. For this I had deprived myself of rest and health.” In this quote we see that Victor stops at nothing to find if he would be successful with his creation. Victor has made this project such a main priority that once it is completed and the creature comes to life he does not know what to do. Since Victor has met his goals and done what he said he wanted to do he does not want to deal with the being he just created so this becomes a problem for him. We see that Victor was very troubled by this whole experience when he says, “You seek for knowledge and wisdom, as I once did; and I ardently hope that the gratification of your wishes may not be a serpent to sting you, as mine has been.”
In the real world, the power of knowledge has a real affect on human nature as it gives them a sense of the world and its surroundings. Knowledge is facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education. They are known to create separation between people, the smartest usually coming atop. While the monster and Victor’s adventures are told, the power of knowledge in Shelley’s Frankenstein are a big influence into the advancements of their actions and plot of the story because it gives a new outlook for them.
Pg. 62). The letters with in the preface tell the story of Walton and his sister, and reveals that both he and his sister both put themselves in harm’s way simply to be the first to gain knowledge. The novel shows that sometimes the actions you take do not necessarily give you the outcomes that you want. This is shown in chapter four when Dr. Frankenstein was first conducing his experiment and becomes extremely obsessed with the lust to create life. Dr. Frankenstein ultimately removes all of his personal relationships and isolates himself from people who care about him. “For this I had deprived myself of rest and health. I had desired it with an ardor that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.”(Chapter 5, pg. 42) It is clear that Dr. Frankenstein dislikes the monster he just created and notices that he does not make something that is beautiful but more on something that’s is monstrous. Increasingly, Shelly makes a point by giving the reader a sort of “warning” on the aspect of wanting knowledge too much She makes the effort by making Dr. Frankenstein a example for the magnitude of gaining dangerous knowledge. “A flash of lightning illuminated the object and
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.
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
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has become a classic in modern literature. Her tale is full of moral lessons that encompass a wide variety of subjects but one of the most prevalent is the theme of knowledge and its pursuit. Frankenstein, Walton, and the Monster all have an appetite for acquiring knowledge and actively pursue their perspective interests, but it soon turns to the obsessive and proves to be dangerous. Each of the character’s desires demonstrates to be detrimental to them when no boundaries are established. Through the use of consequences, Shelley’s Frankenstein shows that the relentless and obsessive pursuit of knowledge can lead to dangerous and disastrous situations.