Dangerous Knowledge - Frankenstein

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Chakari Monsanto
12.6.12
AP Literature
Frankenstein
Dangerous Knowledge
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, will cause destruction. Prometheus began his journey as a demi-god that “sided with Zeus in the war with the Titans” and helped bring about victory (Edith Hamilton, 71). Forethought, the meaning of Prometheus’ name, gave him the ability to see things before they happened and bestowed more wisdom “than the gods” to him (Hamilton, 71). Due to his brother’s error and without Zeus’ permission, Prometheus took upon the task of creating mankind. That creation angered Zeus because he realized how much love Prometheus had for the people and not for gods. As a warning to Prometheus, Zeus created women “who are an evil to men, with a nature to do evil” which in turn brought suffrage to all men (Hamilton, 74). When Prometheus realized that his people were suffering and because he favored mankind more than anything else he stole fire from the heavens and gifted it to them. He allowed his hubris to drive him further into doing more for the humans and less for the gods. Failing to learn from his first mistake he repeatedly challenged Zeus, ultimately resulting in his downfall. Although the fire brought warmth and comfort to the people, they soon learned of its unseen dangers that they could not control. Fire should have never been given to...
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