Ethical Uncertainties Of Science In Frankestein By Mary Shelley

884 words - 4 pages

In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley tests the motives and ethical uncertainties of the science in her time period. This is a consideration that has become more and more pertinent to our time, when we see modern scientists are venturing into what were previously unimaginable territories of science and nature, through the use of things like human cloning and genetic engineering. Through careful assessment, we can see how the novel illustrates both the potential dangers of these scientific advancements and the conflict between that and creationism.
Prior to the publishing of Frankenstein, Shelley had become interested in the advancements in science and theories about the future of science. In the ...view middle of the document...

With this, we must examine the central characters to further determine Shelley's intentions. The story focuses mainly on the narrations of two individuals: Victor Frankenstein, the perhaps dangerously curious scientific genius; and Walton, the curious explorer, and the story's opening narrator. The characters' situations are similar, but their outcomes differ; Shelley uses the pair to depict two different outcomes of the same story. As the book's central character, Victor Frankenstein must take both an active role in the plot and provide us with clues to the story's meaning. With an upper-middle class upbringing, Frankenstein is allowed time to pursue his own interests. We learn of his curious and eager personality early in the novel when he states things like “It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn; and whether it was the outward substance of things, or the inner spirit of nature and the mysterious soul of man that occupied me, still my enquiries were directed to the metaphysical, or, in its highest sense, the physical secrets of the world” (Shelley, 37). Frankenstein develops a strong and ultimately obsessive desire to understand the mysteries behind life. Through his education at the University of Ingolstadt, this desire drives him to pursue the unimaginable task of “infusing a spark of life into a lifeless thing” (Shelley, 51).
As Frankenstein recounts his tale, remorseful and ill, he admits to the fallacy of his obsessive pursuit, and warns us that "none but those who have experienced them can conceive of the enticements of science. In other studies you go as far as others have gone before you, and there is nothing more to know; but in a scientific pursuit there is continual food for discover and wonder"...

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