Frankenstein -Literary Analysis Paper

Topics: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, Human Pages: 6 (2393 words) Published: February 4, 2013

The word “knowledge” was recurring many times throughout Frankenstein novel and attracted or forced the reader to find out the true definition of it. Curiously, I decided to look up the definition of knowledge from the Webster's Dictionary. It defines, “Knowledge: n. Understanding gained by actual experience; range of information; clear perception of truth; something learned and kept in the mind.” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary) I realized this word is very straightforward, but has many useful and different meanings to all of us. It is also powerful tool to determine and control the result of our judgment. “Knowledge consists in recognizing the difference between good and bad decisions”. (Knowledge Intellectual understanding) This statement seems to be one of the simple answers to the question of ‘what is knowledge?’

Knowledge can be powerful if we use it wisely and properly, but its unwisely use may convey a harmless rumor or cause awful consequences. The novel, Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, was an interesting story with many comparisons of the great powers in life. It contains many themes of our society today. It contrasts science and literary, technology and human, life and death, and most importantly knowledge and ignorance. It presents knowledge in both negative and positive ways. In Frankenstein novel, three characters were used to search for one thing in common or important to them, the knowledge. Sadly the results of their search were completely different than they expected or anticipated. Walton, blinded by his ambition, believed that search for knowledge of the route to the North Pole would bring fame to his name, but learned that he has ended up only with the danger to the lives of his crew. Frankenstein, driven by his passion and unable to accept his own limitations, learned that this passion for knowledge harms his judgment, and the excess of his action leads to shocking consequences. The creature, driven by unhappiness, believed that knowledge would be the answer to his pain but only found that it increased his unhappiness and sadness. Through each of these characters examples of successful and unsuccessful pursuit of knowledge, there is a tragic dignity in their sacrifices, suggesting that sometimes taking pride of aspiration would end tragically. Marry Shelly introducing the concept of knowledge to the reader for the first time was in a letter of Captain Walton written to his sister, Margaret Saville. In this letter, Robert Walton described his desire for knowledge of discover native territory: “One man’s life or death was but a small price to pay for the acquirement of the knowledge which I sought for the dominion I should acquire and transmit over the elemental foes of our race.” (Shelly, Letter 4, p.16) This statement showed that in Walton’s mind this achievement of knowledge was a top priority, above life or death. He was willing to die or risk everything in the name of discovery and to be recognized among those who are famous. It also explained that the risks of search for knowledge of Robert were too dangerous to ignore and costly to human life. As the leader of a group, he will be responsible for the lives of other men; if he were make a ruthless decision in his pursuit of glory and knowledge, he would endanger those men. However, he was blinded by his obsession of knowledge to realize or disregard this sacrifice. After listening to Walton’s goal of knowledge, Frankenstein apparently worried that Walton could sacrifice his life if he continues the journey; therefore, he decided to share his own advice. Walton remembered the most valuable piece of advice from Victor to him, "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." (Shelly, Letter 4, p.17) Frankenstein was giving Walton a caution message because he did not want Captain Walton to follow in...
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