The Danger of Knowledge
The book Frankenstein is about a man’s life that is ruined by his thirst for knowledge. Mary Shelley portrays the quest for knowledge as dangerous. She believes that it leads to self destruction, whether it is minimal or severe. Shelley shows these types of destruction in three of her characters; Victor Frankenstein, the monster, and Robert Walton. Victor Frankenstein is a scientist whose life is ruined by his thirst for knowledge. It leads to his interest in “the secret to life”. He dreams about the possibilities of creating life using electricity and body parts from dead men. After a long time studying and doing research Victor tell us, “After days and nights of incredible labor and fatigue, I succeeded in discovering the cause of generation and life; nay, more, I became myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter.”(Shelley 34) Victor knows the power his knowledge has, and even shows concern about how to use it. He says, “When I found so astonishing a power placed within my hands, I hesitated a long time concerning the manner in which I should employ it.”(Shelley 35) Despite this hesitation, he takes action anyway. This is important because it shows Victor’s willingness to ignore his conscience and use his knowledge despite the risk. Victor created life because of his own greed, and now the monster haunts him and his family endlessly. Victor Frankenstein used his knowledge to play the part of God by creating life out of the dead. Unlike God, Victor can not care for his creation and therefore pays the price for his mistake. The monster’s learning experiences and knowledge, though not as advanced as Victor’s, are an important part of the book. Through out the novel the monster goes through new experiences and gains knowledge that ultimately leads to failure and anger. The monster wants to learn more and has a great desire for knowledge. He always listens closely to the human’s discussion and teachings. He...
Cited: Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. 1818. ED. and introd. Marilyn Butler.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994. Print.
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