Transformational Knowledge Of Mary Shelley 's Frankenstein

1267 WordsOct 21, 20156 Pages
Transformational Knowledge in Frankenstein There are no limits to the ways that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein can be interpreted. New scientific insight is constantly shone on the novel as scholarship brings in history of the period and Shelley’s background. While using the lens of an 1814 lecture on the nature of life or Percy Shelley’s engrossment with electricity can show undeniable bearing on the text, these readings do not fully encapsulate Shelley’s critique on science. Critics tend to only use these factors to acknowledge any scientific impact on the writing, and while I agree with them, I believe the issue of knowledge needs to be stressed as much as historical factors. Alan Rauch identifies knowledge as the central theme of Frankenstein in his reading “The Monstrous Body of Knowledge in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.” In Rauch’s reading, Victor Frankenstein is confined to a one-sided use of knowledge due to his lack of social interaction. Victor is unable to make sound decisions because he places no value on participating in society. “I hope to make clear that the moral integrity of the scientist has everything to do with the viability of knowledge. By ignoring the humane qualities that clearly make knowledge effective, particularly nurturing and caring, Frankenstein finds nothing admirable in what should be a remarkable creation” (Rauch 228). Rauch goes on to argue that Frankenstein’s creature is an innocent symbol of knowledge that does not violate
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