April 16, 2013
Male Ambition: Life’s Sweet Poison
In Mary Shelley’s, Frankenstein, male ambition is the central theme, acting as the sole motivation for the main characters. The male ambition has the potential to lead to success, but in excessive use it becomes a catalyst for the demise of the human soul. The misuse of science results in succumbing to male ambition in Frankenstein. Shelley examines the pursuit of knowledge within the early 1800s, highlighting the ethics of scientific advancement. Ethical debates on cloning focused on the horror of the possible creation of a competing species that will overpopulate the world. In the 1800s science was conducted solely by men and driven by their fierce, uninhibited ambition. Shelley labels male ambition as the true monster the novel and conveys its detrimental nature through use of the Creature and Victor. Initially Victors need to explore the world and gain all available knowledge, served as his established career. It was not until he became consumed by his hunger for knowledge that he began his demise. While creating the Creature, Victor became entranced and his health began to fail because he spent days without sleeping. Victor had become a slave to his ambition and could see nothing beyond attaining his goal. He ceased writing letters to his family and refused to connect with the outside world. Only when Victor reflects on his tale to Walton is he able to realize the gravity of his ambitious nature. He warns Walton of how “dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world” (pg 54). Victor expresses grief and regret for succumbing to science and the need to exceed. He advises that man stay ignorant of the outside world and squelch dreams of exploration. According to Victor it is better to live a simple, primitive life than to “aspire to become greater than…nature will allow” (pg...