Some readers have seen the novel ‘Frankenstein’ as illustration of the fear of the power of science. To what extent do you agree with this view of the novel? [Plan
Para 1 – context; it was written during a period of scientific breakthroughs and advances. Para 2 – is the novel more about the fear of how far man is willing to go for the acquiescence of knowledge? E.g. Walton and Frankenstein, use quote ‘I could see the same madness’ Para 3 – Is the word ‘fear’ accurate? Science is depicted as controlling yet irresistible to man’s nature. Would admiration be more suitable? Para 4 – novel is ultimately a science fiction novel, it is not based on true events… it is important to remember whilst reading that a creature was never reanimated and it is a story conceived from Shelley’s nightmare.]
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is critically acclaimed as one of the pioneering works of science-fiction. First published in 1818, the idea of the act of creation was beyond all perimeters of contemporary knowledge. However, it was written during a period of great scientific breakthroughs and advances in the understanding of the natural world, with Shelley’s research comprising of early 19th century texts from Erasmus Darwin and Humphry Davy. Victor Frankenstein’s use of electricity to re-animate ultimately made him the foremost electro-chemist in the later stages of the 18th century, but interestingly, although successful in his endeavours, he does not make pains to announce this breakthrough. This is for fear of accusation of murder on behalf of Justine and his brother William, contrary to his first beliefs at the edge of creation; ‘Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first breakthrough, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world’. This leads us on to the perhaps more prominent theme of man’s thirst and desire to exceed levels of knowledge and therefore to acquire power. Robert Walton, the first and last narrator of the novel through the medium...
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