In her novel, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley depicts the scientist, Viktor Frankenstein, as a modern day Prometheus. Viktor Frankenstein is a learned man who wishes to discover the mysteries of life and by doing so he creates what he considers to be a monster, but in reality, he is the real monster. He strives to do the unthinkable by creating a pieced together human being from various parts of deceased bodies, his drive to achieve this goal makes him seem crazy and mentally unstable. Being that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is viewed as the first science fiction novel, she creates the thought that all scientists are mentally unstable. This point of view has been used numerously, throughout the years, since the publication of Frankenstein in hundreds of books, movies, and TV shows. Modern literature, almost always depicts the scientist to be evil and mentally unstable.
Professor Roslynn D. Hayes describes the different stereotypes, archetypes, and forms of scientists that have appeared in literature in her book, From Faust to Strange Love: Representations of the scientist on Western Literature. In this book, she describes six different types of scientists. They are the alchemist, the stupid virtuoso, the romantic, the heroic adventurer, the helpless scientist, and the scientist as an idealist. Out of these six different stereotypes and archetypes, Viktor Frankenstein closely resembles two types specifically. Viktor Frankenstein closely resembles the alchemist and the helpless scientist the most in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
In the beginning of Frankenstein, Viktor is obsessed with creating a living human being. He works vigorously, day in and day out, on finding the perfect equation for creating life. He is so obsessed with making his experiment work that he neglects everything thing else in his life. He loses many of his friends and family, along with his social life, and falls behind on his studies. He becomes increasingly pale from being constantly shut up in his small apartment, lonely from his lack of social life, and grows more and more obsessed with making this experiment work.
The monster that Viktor Frankenstein is trying to create throughout the beginning of the novel is society’s definition of evil. Creating a living being from nonliving parts is purely sadistic. Viktor strives to create a new form of life that does not die, by doing so, he participates in unlawful actions. During the time of the novel, it was unlawful to use body parts of the deceased for experiments. The dead were not to be touched, by law, so Viktor paid the doctors, nurses, and other health professionals off. By doing so, the body parts he desired became accessible without question. His drive to pursue his arcane goal of creating life distracts him from what is important in life and causes him to be a lonely, law breaking...