Frankenstein: the Dangerous Pursuit of Knowledge

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Danielle Bouquio
ENG 210
10/16/12
Frankenstein: The Dangerous Pursuit of Knowledge

Over the past few centuries, the intellectuals of society have made countless advances in science and the development of technology, which, to different degrees, have all benefitted mankind. These scientific discoveries are a result of man’s thirst for and dedication to acquiring knowledge, information, and power. The innate curiosity and desire for understanding in an individual can grow so immense that his or her moral and ethical boundaries erode, which results in disastrous consequences for all who are involved. The novel Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, is both a warning and a plea about the dangers of misusing academic prowess and the consequences that result because of the reckless pursuit of scientific progress. Victor Frankenstein is a scientist that, after becoming obsessed with discovering the secret to life, abandons his moral code and tries to play God by attempting to create life where there is none. The potential rewards of this endeavor cause Victor to forgo all prudence when considering the consequences of his actions, which allows the experiment to progress till completion. The novel can be read as a criticism of the perusal of enlightenment science and philosophy. Victor’s failure of allowing his ambitions to blind him is highlighted by the mistakes of the monster. This novel is set up very interestingly by use of a frame story. Rather than only include the life of Victor, Shelley decided to start first with the story of another character. Sir Walton is the captain of a ship headed for a dangerous expedition of the North Pole, as we learn through letters he writes to his sister Margaret. Walton in many ways seems to pose as a foil for Victor. They are both young men with ambitions to discover the unknown. Walton begins his journey very eagerly, talking about how enticements of being the first to explore the North Pole “are sufficient to conquer all...
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