Fear of the Power of Science in Frankenstein

Topics: Gothic fiction, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley Pages: 3 (1084 words) Published: December 1, 2012
Some readers have seen the novel as an illustration of the fear of the power of science. To what extent do you agree with this view of the novel?

There are many different readings of ‘Frankenstein’ by Mary Shelley, first published in 1818. The traditional reading sees the novel being about a man getting punished by God for crossing his domain. Many different Gothic themes are used in the novel to create a sense of fear in the audience, not just in the fear of science but the fear of the power of science and the influence this power has on Victor’s character.

‘Frankenstein’ serves as a warning to others of the power of science and creates a sense of fear in the audience. One of the key ways Shelley creates this fear is through the juxtaposing references to nature, helping to serve as a warning. In the midst of Chapter Four, when Victor is engrossed in his work, a paragraph is added describing the beauty and nature around him. Through describing the outside world as ‘beautiful’, Victor is admitting that the world is already beautiful and by ignoring that, he is being ignorant. If Victor had left his house, maybe the beauty of the world could have lifted him out of his depression and stopped the future events. This sense of foreshadowing in the novel creates the sense of fear in the power placed in Victors hands; he knows he is wrapped up in his work ‘neglect the scenes around me’, and through this unhealthy obsession is left with nothing. By adding the beauty of the summer months it further highlights how obsessive Victor had become as time speeds up and months pass within a short section of the novel.

The language used in ‘Frankenstein’ to describe his task is interesting to note. The opposing views throughout the novel, adds the retrospective notion towards the story, as he is telling the story having learnt his lesson. ‘If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections and to destroy your taste… then that study is...
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