Frankenstein: Mary Shelleys Educational Opinion

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Like many other great tragedies of the enlightenment era, the novel Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, deals very much with the desires and ambitions of the human psyche. Throughout Shelley's life she was influenced by ambition and in turn she, herself, had an ambitious nature. In fact, Shelley actually wrote Frankenstein while competing in an extreme storytelling contest against her husband, Percy Shelley, and close friend, Lord Byron. At the same time however, she was conflicted by her crave to become a "Bohemian Romantic" (Poovey) which was the opposite of the European expectation to become a "Proper Lady" (Poovey). Because of this conflict of interest and her want to be more Romantic than Rationalist, the main characters of Frankenstein all express Shelley's bitterness towards ambition and Rationality. Through out the novel, these characters determinedly attempt to gain knowledge and acceptance but, however, they do not succeed and instead become increasingly obsessive and mentally ravaged by their ambitions. Because of Mary Shelley's predominant Romantic views, the combination of ambition and the quest for knowledge plays a large role as the fatal flaw of Victor Frankenstein, the creature, and Robert Walton in her novel Frankenstein.

Victor Frankenstein, the most in depth character of the novel, illustrates the clearest example of the destruction brought on by obsessive ambitions and the education required to achieve them. Victor's curiosity begins early in his childhood after he discovers the studies of Cornelius Agrippa and Albertus Magnus. These studies eventually led to Victor's enrollment in the University of Ingolstadt, the foundation of his ultimate demise. As the influence of Victor's teachers such as M. Waldman increases, his experimentation and education intensifies soon consequently causing him to ignore his emotions and neglect the people close to him. "…The same feelings which made me neglect the scenes around me caused me also to forget those...
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