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Look Before You Leap: Similarities between Victor Frankenstein and Albert Einstein

By popirate Jan 12, 2003 452 Words
Look Before You Leap

Frankenstein is not a literary island, isolated and alone. It is connected to a great many literary works by some common themes. One such theme is the idea of experimentation. Mythology in particular and history in general, has shown us that the right to experiment comes with an equal responsibility to stop and think about what we are doing before we do it. Time and time again we have heard the story of Frankenstein. Equally well known is that of Einstein and his search for the secrets of the atom. Both of these show that reckless experimentation without adequate research can prove deadly due to unforeseen results.

Victor Frankenstein provides an excellent example of how not to make decisions. This man ran headstrong into every decision he had to make, without at any point stopping to think about what he was doing. He shows us his lack of regard toward the responsibility he clearly had as the creator of the monster. His greatest mistake is when he doesn't take the time to consider the results of his actions before the initial creation. He then exacerbates his error by abandoning his creation, like the teenage mother who, upon discovering her inability to care for her child, leaves it to fend for itself. Had Victor taken the time to contemplate his actions, he surely would have not created his monster, and he, William, Elizabeth and the rest of his family would have lived in peace.

It is pretty basic knowledge that Albert Einstein worked with the scientists of the Los Alamos National Laboratory to facilitate the splitting of the atom, and consequently the development of the atomic bomb and the modern nuclear weapon. What is lesser known is that Einstein realized the result of his possibly misguided actions and immediately began to attempt to ensure that his research not be used. He campaigned within the scientific community, and begged the President not to misuse everything he had spent his life coming up with. In the end, however, 90,000 people died and 180,000 people were injured when the first two atomic weapons were released on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Had Einstein thought through the possible consequences of his work, he likely would never have been involved with the Manhattan Project. As it was, he lived his life feeling guilty about the loss of life that he felt was his fault.

A common archetype of these tales of woe is that with the ability to experiment comes an innate responsibility to consider the consequences of your actions prior to acting on your ideas. History has shown that those who act impulsively eventually succumb to their lack of foresight and live to regret the results.

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