Dangers Of Acquiring Knowledge Illustrated In Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein

1048 words - 4 pages

How Dangerous is the Acquirement of Knowledge?
Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein

Although Mary Shelly did not have a formal education growing up motherless in the early nineteenth century, she wrote one of the greatest novels nonetheless in 1819, Frankenstein. The novel has been the basis for many motion picture movies along with many English class discussions. Within the novel Shelly shares the stories of two men from very different worlds. The reader is introduced to Robert Walton, the main narrator of the story, through letters written to his sister. Walton is on a quest to find the North Pole when his ship and crew members become stuck between sheets of ice. It is here the reader is then introduced to Victor Frankenstein who is lost and frozen in the arctic North. Victor begins to tell his story of how he ended up almost dead in the freezing weather. His story includes one of the main themes within the novel, which is the search of knowledge may lead to a dangerous outcome. The reader may think that this is a theme only for Victor, but one comes to find that both men could be involved in a dangerous adventure.
Knowledge is “the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association” (Merriam-Webster dictionary). Walton’s desire for knowledge is introduced to the reader in the fourth letter written to his sister, “One man’s life or deaths is a small price to pay for the acquirement of knowledge which I sought for the domination I should acquire and transmit over the elemental foes of our race.” (Shelly, 27). The reader can note that Walton believes the journey to the North Pole is the first priority, surpassing the safety of his crew members. “These are my enticements, and they are sufficient to conquer all fear of danger or death, to induce me to commence this laborious voyage with the joy a child feels when he embarks in a little boat,”(Shelly 14). Here Walton is acting like the young child, being selfish to the needs and safety of his crew only caring about himself and the knowledge he can attain within this adventure. After telling Victor Frankenstein this, Victor looks shocked and replies to Walton, “You seek for knowledge and wisdom, as I once did, and I ardently hope for the gratification of your wishes may not be a serpent and sting you, as mine has been.” (Shelly 28). This quote represents the guilt and regret found within Victor’s life that lead from the want and desire of knowledge.
Victor Frankenstein was a young boy, born in Naples, who wanted to explore and figure out what was just beyond his reach through science. “My temper was sometimes violent, and my passions vehement, but by some law in my temperature they were turned, not towards childish pursuits, but to an eager desire to learn… It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn,” (Shelly 37). At the age of thirteen Victor read a work of Cornelius Agrippa‘s, a German physician who was persecuted during his life...

Find Another Essay On Dangers of Acquiring Knowledge Illustrated in Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein

Prejudice and Pride Illustrated in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

1450 words - 6 pages thematic core of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus” (Austen). This tormented narrative explores the destructive powers of these two isolating traits. Pride, an unreasonable and inordinate self-esteem and ego, and prejudice, a lack of empathy and negative bias against an individual, both prevent the human characters in “Frankenstein” from exercising objectivity and openness towards the monster. Pride by the monster’s creator, and

Dangerous Knowledge in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

1386 words - 6 pages ultimately kills you. It becomes evident that knowledge is something that can drive someone into insanity, and in the end Dr. Frankenstein suffered the consequence of having such lust and greed for something many of us think we can’t ever get enough of. Mary Shelley give the reader a prime example for what could happen to people if they are over obsessed over a single topic, in this case knowledge. Works Cited "Frankenstein Quotes

Knowledge and Imagination in Mary Shelly's Frankenstein

1628 words - 7 pages Title “He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors”.(Thomas Jefferson).In Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, the theme of the sublime is featured throughout the text. It is seen in the use of knowledge, imagination, and solitariness which is the protagonist's primary source of power. This perpetuates their quest for glory, revenge, and what results in their own self-destruction and

Myth of the 'Noble Savage' Illustrated in Mary Shelly's Frankenstein and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther

1257 words - 5 pages Political philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau is often attributed to the discussion of the “noble savage,” and the existence of natural man. Throughout numerous works of literature, the theme of the “noble savage” is prevalent and enduring, providing indirect authors’ commentary through the actions and development of various characters. Two such novels are Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther

"Mary Shelley's Frankenstein has been adapted to a film about the dangers inherent in the quest for personal glory at the expense of all else". Discuss

1361 words - 5 pages Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is a movie simply about the deadly ambition of one man, Victor Frankenstein. Throughout the movie he blatantly disregards the dangers such as consequences of his actions which in turn lead to his downfall in Love, Family, and His sense of community also affecting his marriage/love. Victor playing the role of god trying to create a life in turn results in personal and Social Chaos.As the film begins we are introduced

The Destructive Desire for Knowledge: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

1309 words - 5 pages By definition, knowledge is the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association (Merriam-Webster.com). In the novel Frankenstein, Mary Shelley considers knowledge as a “dangerous” factor. The danger of it is proved throughout the actions of the characters Robert Walton, Victor Frankenstein, and the creature. The characters all embody the theme of knowledge in different ways. Shelley supports her

Fear of Pregnancy in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

2103 words - 8 pages Fear of Pregnancy in Frankenstein    Frankenstein can be read as a tale of what happens when a man tries to create a child without a woman. It can, however, also be read as an account of a woman's anxieties and insecurities about her own creative and reproductive capabilities. The story of Frankenstein is the first articulation of a woman's experience of pregnancy and related fears. Mary Shelley, in the development and education of the

The Dangers of Pursuing Knowledge

1579 words - 6 pages his ship around, for life is not worth exploring the unknown. Walton is saved from certain death in the artic waters, by the knowledge of man who came before. Even though Victor’s pursuit of knowledge eventually destroys his entire life, it also gives him the tools to save another – and that might have been worth it all. Works Cited Aeschylus, David Grene, Richmond Lattimore, and Seth Benardete. Aeschylus II. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1991. Print. Shelley, Mary, and Harold Bloom. Frankenstein. New York, NY: Signet Classics, 1983. Print.

Misconceptions of Society in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

1342 words - 5 pages Misconceptions of Society in Frankenstein   Societies have a tendency to classify everything relative to local "norms", and lables are generously applied. Typical lables are: good or bad, rich or poor, normal or aberrant. Although some of these classifications may be accurate, many of them are based upon misconception or misunderstanding. This is precisely the case in the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

In Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein".

1117 words - 4 pages 1"Frankenstein"Through the exploration of value attached to friendship in Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein", it is found that Victor, Walton, and the monster each desire a companion to either fall back on during times of misery, to console with, or to learn from. During various periods throughout the novel, it is found that Victor depends heavily on friendship when tragedy occurs to keep him from going insane. Walton desires the friendship of a man

The Pursuit of Technology in Mary Shelly's "Frankenstein".

2089 words - 8 pages The Industrial Revolution of the late eighteenth, and early nineteenth century created a significant advance in technology. Mary Shelly’s life and literature were influenced by this technological turning point. Thirst of knowledge is a dominant theme in Mary Shelly’s “Frankenstein”, and the driving force behind continuous technological developments. Human Beings are completely dependent on Modern technology and it would be difficult to survive

Similar Essays

Knowledge In Shelly’s Frankenstein Essay

1711 words - 7 pages . This allows us to see that scientific advances in the time of Mary Shelly could be seen as counter-Romantic as they try to define and understand the realm of nature. Moreover, Frankenstein has been distinguished as a ‘modern Prometheus’ due to the similarities of their actions and eventual punishment. This can be seen as a further repetition of Shelly’s warning against the abuse of knowledge. Therefore, it can be seen that Shelly attempted to

Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein Essay

1908 words - 8 pages Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein is designed as a gothic horror novel but deals with serious moral issues. Written in 1818, a time when breakthroughs and discoveries in the scientific world were common and often of great importance, the book shows how desire for knowledge entwined with humanity’s ability to quickly reject what seems ugly or that which they don’t understand, can unfold into a tragic

The Dangers Of Science In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

1034 words - 4 pages The Dangers of Science in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein cannot merely be read as a literary work of the early 19th century. It represents the workings of young Shelley's mind. Further, it represents the vast scientific discoveries of the time, combined with Mary Shelley's intuitive perception of science. She views science as a powerful entity, but also recognizes the dangers if uncontrolled. Shelley

Dangers Of Technology Exposed In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

1736 words - 7 pages Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was a literary piece that touched on many different issues, not only in her time, but also today. The creation of life in Frankenstein was Shelley’s symbolic warning to the new industrialized era. “It also [can] be seen to be warning about the dangers of uncontrolled application of technology and its use without proper morality” (Brachneos). The warning in Frankenstein applies today more than ever