Humanity continues to be confronted by universal dilemmas, and such, texts will explore the human experience despite differing contexts. Mary Shelley’s Gothic epistolary novel, Frankenstein (1818), written at a time of tension between paradigms of Romantic idealism and Enlightenment rationalism ultimately questions the legitimacy of scientific advance at the cost of human connection. It explores the challenge to normalcy and the tensions between nature and civilisation that promulgate humanity's moral constructs. Furthermore, the text gives insight into the essential ideas of the human experience and the universal nature of questioning the value of life.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein explores the challenge to normalcy and humanity’s pursuit of knowledge that over powers human morality. The protagonist, Victor Frankenstein grows up with an idyllic childhood, aligning him towards the Romantic ideals of Shelley's time of writing in the early 19th Century. His eccentric childhood foreshadows the great tragedy that overtakes him and unravels, "I will...unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation." The use of first person highlights the acceleration of scientific knowledge that has driven Victor away from Romantic inclinations. Victor’s retrospection “lost all soul or sensation but for this one pursuit”, uses juxtaposition of “all” and “one” to emphasise his unrestrained pursuit of control over the natural order and insular obsession to conquer death. His time at University prompts his self-corruption in creating artificial life, exemplifying Enlightenment ideals through the use of arrogant tone, "I became myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter". Therefore Mary Shelley offers insights into the human experience by affirming the romantic agendas of her characters through the implications of challenging the natural rhythms of nature.
By offering insights into the human experience, texts can explore the tensions that exist between...
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