The Danger of Knowledge

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Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, The Ghost of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, House of Frankenstein... These films and others like it have focused much more on the monster than its creator. People see the physical hideousness of the monster but do not see the mental hideousness that its creator, Victor Frankenstein, reached in his quest to create life in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Through Frankenstein’s dynamic character, Shelley reveals the theme that a definite boundary exists in man’s pursuit of knowledge, and once crossed, disastrous and horrific consequences can arise. In his youth, Frankenstein is a happy and innocent man whose life is filled with the love of family and friends, but his attitude changes once he begins his pursuit of knowledge. Frankenstein reflects, “No human being could have passed a happier childhood than myself” (Shelley 33). Frankenstein feels privileged to have grown up in an environment that valued close ties between family members. He is also blessed to have friends with whom to interact “in the bonds of the closest friendship” (Shelley 32). While vacationing with his family, Frankenstein stumbles across works by the natural philosophers Paracelsus and Agrippa and reads them “with the greatest avidity” (Shelly 35). This marks the beginning of his intellectual awakening as he views these books as “treasures known to few beside myself” (Shelley 35). He starts to believe that his pursuit of knowledge places him intellectually above others. Frankenstein’s first character change occurs when he embarks on his scientific quest, leaving behind his love for family and friends. As he begins his academic pursuit, Frankenstein becomes withdrawn and is taken over by a feeling of intellectual superiority, but his character changes yet again when he finally achieves his goal of creating life. Looking back at the time when he worked on creating life, Frankenstein says, “The summer months passed...
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