Politics and the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley have many points in common. In today’s world we see Presidents and Prime Ministers such as George Bush and Tony Blair who resemble Frankenstein and the “creature” themselves. Power is something that many people strive for or simply desire. The novel portrays that having power is of great importance. Without strength, Frankenstein couldn’t have played God and the creature wouldn’t have killed innocent humans just like George Bush wouldn’t have created wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Supporters like Tony Blair don’t help the situation at all either. Politicians and government are meant to keep things under control, but sometimes end up by doing more harm than good. Currently, the opinion of some members of society is that most politicians are power-hungry monsters.
Power is needed to control and organise society. Without a superior control, there would be no economy, no laws and poor safety. In Frankenstein, Victor used his power to help mankind by furthering scientific knowledge. He discovered a much wanted secret - the secret to life. Frankenstein’s issue of parenting became a great obsession with power.[i] The need of power led Victor to create what he thought was going to be one of the greatest human beings.[ii] But Victor clearly failed to see that creating life with human body parts didn’t necessarily mean that his creature was going to be accepted into human society.[iii] He was “roused from his dream of pleasure.”[iv] He was inspired and motivated by scientists who “acquired new and almost unlimited powers”[v]. Victor used this unlimited power to play the role of God.
In today’s society, the American government’s president, George W. Bush, was elected to run the country, to create new laws, to help economy and keep his land protected. George Bush adopted his power when he was sworn into office. Some people throughout the world consider the President of the United States one of the most powerful men in the world. It’s a clear factor that George Bush abused his power by disregarding the United Nations, and proceeding right into Iraq and Afghanistan. Nowadays, Saddam Hussein, the man who used to be the leader of Iraq and the power of his country, is now under the power of the United States. Now President Bush is already too powerful and blinded by this superior power. He gains even more power through his supporters, such as Tony Blair. This can be very well compared to the novel, since Frankenstein was also looking for more power. He wanted to be God by giving life, by having all of the control he could get. George Bush is playing the role of God. He’s abusing this power and is concentrating more on his other projects than his own country’s projects.[vi] Victor could have concentrated on his own life and tried to be the best at who he was, and succeeded, but he chose instead to harvest cadavers and create a monster[vii], and failing to make his dream creature. Just like President Bush could have ignored Iraq and could have been the best leader he could be, remembered for his devotion to his country. Instead, he chose to attack his enemies in Iraq, remembered for his cruelty towards others.
Doctor Frankenstein’s sole purpose of his project was to attempt to gain power, but instead of being provided with the power he desired, he was provided with a monstrous failure.[viii] He possessed the knowledge to create the monster by learning of past successes “so full of genius”.[ix] Victor neglected it, and it became a morally irresponsible scientific development that wanted to destroy human civilization. Victor was “at once so powerful, so virtuous and magnificent, yet so vicious and base.”[x] Even he feared “the monster whom [he] had created should perpetrate some new wickedness.”[xi] George Bush’s unsuccessful attempts to save human civilisation ended up by creating a bigger mess, a war where innocent children, teenagers, parents, friends etc., passed away in other countries, fighting George Bush’s battle. Victor Frankenstein represents President Bush, and his monstrosity represents the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Frankenstein’s creation killed innocent people; George Bush’s creations (the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) are also killing innocent people. Frankenstein and George Bush are one and the same. They both thought in their minds that they were doing something good for the world but caused a great disaster.
Many negative outcomes have arisen from the government. Many impossible promises become lies once the government has achieved a power position. The reasons they were elected in the first place were for their promises and their trust. These elements are essential to government, so without these, the government is worthless. Scandals, however, seem minimal when compared to the loss of lives, due to government failures. The most common mistake of all was the terrorist attacks made on the United-States on September 11th 2001. Thousands of innocent people have died due to conflicts between governments and leaders. Terrorists planned on attacking citizens of George Bush’s country just like how the monster targeted Victor’s loved ones. The terrorists attacked President Bush indirectly because they couldn’t get to him. They went to what was second best to him, American buildings and lives. The monster couldn’t get to Frankenstein so he went with what was second best to him also and killed his family members. The failures due to uncontrollable power are numerous. He wanted to impress others and prove his extreme powers. His hard work didn’t pay off. The outcome of his project did not impress anyone. George Bush wanted to defend his country, by demonstrating his powers. Likewise, not many civilians were impressed by this.
Countries don’t seem to function properly with their government, but they cannot function without it. There are always conflicts, but the government tries its best to repair these. Problems are solved based on the opinions of the majority of the government. Sometimes, it is the minority that is right. For instance, in the novel Frankenstein, Justine is falsely accused of a crime she clearly couldn’t have committed.[xii] The injustices caused by these types of occurrences are numerous. The public’s only chance of avoiding these is during the elections, when a government’s true colors show. The public wishes to vote for the party or the leader that they have the most confidence in. At this time, when the government is powerless, the voters can speak. In Frankenstein, power is also necessary. Someone had to take the initiative to do scientific research. This person was Victor Frankenstein. Dedicated and motivated, he slaved day and night for two years to create something no one else had been able to do.[xiii] Frankenstein wanted to be at a higher level. He used this godly might to create life. After all, “what greater power could there be than the act of creation of life?”[xiv] As a result, he made an amazing discovery, beneficial to the entire human race. Frankenstein believed “it [was] in his power to restore happiness to these deserving people.”[xv] Also, someone needed to take the initiative to aid countries in need. George Bush attempted to resolve this issue, still in the process of fixing. He used his powers to launch a peace-keeping mission in Afghanistan, in which many other countries participated. Today, Iraq is in search of a new leader, to keep the peace and to keep our world safe.[xvi] Saddam Hussein was able to destroy the world with nuclear weapons. George Bush reacted to this threat. This was George Bush’s intention ' to replace a power-stricken leader with a more caring one.[xvii] President Bush believes that “the strength of America lies in the hearts and souls of our citizens; he has supported programs that encourage individuals to help their neighbors in need.”[xviii] He’s known for “[shaping] public policy based on the principles of limited government, personal responsibility, strong families, and local control.”[xix] He used his power to his country’s advantage.
Abuse of power can lead to negative outcomes. The moral of Frankenstein is that abusive power leads to consequences, such as a “miserable spectacle of wrecked humanity, pitiable to others and intolerable to myself.”[xx] As mentioned before, Frankenstein lost all that was valuable to him. In the conclusion of the novel, he lost his own life. George Bush lost American troops, respect and trust. George Bush is putting all Americans at risk by abusing his power. He’s trying to control the world, when he should be letting other independent countries run themselves. Clearly, Frankenstein and George Bush are power-hungry monsters, obsessed with having absolute control.
In conclusion, power should be used carefully and logically. Sometimes, the abuse can lead to loss of personal values, and cause global disputes. It is important to be the best of who you can be. Power can run countries, but it can destroy them just as easily. Voters elect out of trust, trust for their future health and safety. George Bush needs to fix the problems he created, before he ends up paying the ultimate price, such as Victor had. When someone is elected into a position of power, it should not be taken for granted, but used for society’s good. A position of power should come with a simple warning label ' “To be used in moderation”. -----------------------
[i] http://allfreeessays.com/student/Role_of_Identity_in_Mary_Shelleys_Frankenstein.html [ii] Mary Shelley, Frankenstein. USA: Perma-Bound Classics, 1993, p.48 [iii] http://allfreeessays.com/student/Role_of_Identity_in_Mary_Shelleys_Frankenstein.html [iv] Shelley, p.125
[v] Shelley, p.37
[vi] http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/051205fa_fact [vii] Shelley, p.48
[ix] Shelley, p.40
[xi] Shelley, p.87
[xii] Shelley, p.73
[xiii] Shelley, p.41
[xiv]http://184.108.40.206/search?q=cache:hHj14kf2P9UJ:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankenstein+Frankenstein+%2Bpower&hl=en&gl=ca&ct=clnk&cd=5&lr=lang_en|lang_fr [xv] Shelley, p.113
[xvi]http://www.hrc.org/Template.cfm?Section=Press_Room&CONTENTID=24671&TEMPLATE=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm [xvii] http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,69258,00.html [xviii] http://www.whitehouse.gov/president/gwbbio.html
[xx] Shelley, p.165