Frankenstein Application Essay, Writing Assignment 5
Can science go too far when it equips man with tools to manipulate life? Some of the underlying ethical dilemmas presented in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein are similar to ones we struggle with today, such as selective abortion. Shelley’s doomed creature mirrors the devastating result of bringing an unwanted offspring into the world, then shirking responsibility for it thereafter. The practice of playing God and choosing who does and who does not “earn” life ultimately results in profound negative moral consequences.
Just as Victor Frankenstein creates then abandons his creature after he beholds his faults, our current culture discards lives we have created because we do not deem them acceptable. He laments, “How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, . . . I had endeavoured to form? His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips”. (Shelley)
The creature was repulsive, but would Frankenstein have reacted differently if it were a superior specimen? This unfortunately resembles the practice of some nations today that reward life to a particular sex but exterminate the “undesirables”? This common and barbaric phenomenon, called selective abortion, takes place countries such as China or India. If a girl is not the desired sex, they destroy her life in favor of one deemed more worthy: a male. According to the British Medical Journal, “in China, 2005 males under the age of 20 exceeded females by more than 32 million, and more than 1.1 million excess births of boys occurred....
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