Playing God

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September 28, 2004
Paper #1
Playing God

"One day, when I was oppressed by cold, I found a fire which had been left by some wandering beggars, and was overcome with delight at the warmth I experienced from it. In my joy I thrust my hand into the live embers, but quickly drew it out again with a cry of pain. How strange, I thought, that the same cause should produce such opposite effects!" (107)

When a person is born, there is a necessity and yearning for that person to be loved and accepted by those around him or her, it is the nature of humanity. It is also necessary that a child has a strong family structure and that he is shown that love and acceptance that he needs. A lack of these necessities can create a negative response from the child. This proves that children are impressionable "tabula rasas", or blank slates, which is John Locke's theory about the mind before it receives the impressions gained from experience. Mary Shelly's Frankenstein not only shows this idea of the "tabula rasa" but also shows how Victor Frankenstein's monstrous creation was a crime against nature not only by focusing on Frankenstein's attempt to play God, grotesquely using human body parts and then abandoning an unknowledgeable inexperienced child-like creature in the world, but also by focusing on the murderous villain this monster turned into due to his experiences lacking love and acceptance and his creators abandonment. . Victor Frankenstein created a human life, which turned out to be a crime against the nature of humanity. Frankenstein attempts to play God for his own amusement, grotesquely using different body parts to create this being. He later abandons his creation, leaving him like an innocent child with a blank slate to learn and fend for himself, and after being shunned by society and labeled a monster, he lives up to his learned title and became a murderous villain released into society leading further into Frankenstein's crime in regard to human life. Those around him affected Victor Frankenstein himself when he was younger, he tells the reader, "My father was not scientific, and I was left to struggle with a child's blindness, added to a student's thirst for knowledge" (Frankenstein 26). A child learns from those experiences around him, Victor Frankenstein did not have a good leader to show him the right path and not one that leads to where Frankenstein ended up, blindly creating chaos.

The aforementioned introductory quote directly relates the nature of the world with the nature of humanity. The monster wonders how the fire that brings him such joy and delight can have the opposite effect and hurt him entirely. The same effect could be paralleled with the birth of a child and the creation of Frankenstein's monster. The birth of a child could be considered to be a miraculous and extremely joyous occasion, but Frankenstein brought a creature into this earth and the reaction to this creation had the completely opposite effect, he was deemed a "miserable monster" and a "wretch" (Frankenstein 59). Although Frankenstein is not literally a child, he was created and brought into the world without having any knowledge of life or human beings. By looking at Frankenstein's attempt to bring this being into the world, we can see his attempt to play God, however, God is viewed as glorious and his powers are considered to be magnificent. There would never be a reason why God would do any harm or ill-doing to his creations. By attempting to play the role of God, a power far beyond the hands of humans, Frankenstein creates a being that does not belong on the earth. This is Frankenstein's first step in committing his crime against nature. Frankenstein is introduced to the reader as a curious young man who was learning science and theory as well as alchemy and imagination. He "aspired to be greater than his nature would allow" (Frankenstein 54), therefore attempting to play God by creating another...
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