Frankenstein, By Mary Shelley Essay

1167 words - 5 pages

Knowledge accompanied by wisdom, is a blessing. Knowledge helped scientists. make the most destructive weapon known to mankind, a nuclear bomb. It was lack of wisdom that caused United States of America to use it as a means of mass destruction, as illustrated in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Knowledge not accompanied by wisdom, is a curse. Victor Frankenstein, protagonist in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, is awed by the science of chemistry and natural philosophy. His desire to gain knowledge leads him to research the secret of life, and after years of research, Victor is convinced he has discovered the meaning of life. With knowledge as his most powerful weapon, Victor embarks on a journey to create something extraordinary out of old body parts. One desperate night, Victor brings his creation to life. However, one glance at the creature was enough to make him realize that he had not created something beautiful, he created a monster. Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein demonstrates how knowledge can be dangerous by the damage caused by both the monster and Victor.
The desire to be omniscient is at heart of Frankenstein, as Victor embarks on a journey to unlock the secret of life. Victor challenges human limits by attempting to successfully discover and fully comprehend secret of life. Thirteen year old Victor Frankenstein becomes obsessed with natural philosophy after he comes across a book by Cornelius Agrippa. He vies to seek more knowledge after he gathers works of natural philosophers known to people; he studies the works of the scholars with a growing passion that can only be described as unhealthy. His passion for natural philosophers burns with a greater intensity after he learns of “the philosopher’s stone and the elixir of life.” (Shelley 23) Frankenstein does not concern himself with the wealth aspect of philosophy, he hopes to “banish disease from the human frame, and render man invulnerable to any but a violent death.” (Shelley 23) His intentions that concern “the raising of ghosts or devils” are pure minded. (Shelley 24) His intentions are challenged when he completely consumes himself with natural science and disregards the world surrounding him. His passion for natural philosophy and his desire for knowledge becomes an unnatural obsession. Situations worsen when his mother passes away, Frankenstein becomes obsessed with the idea of creating life due to his painful loss. Frankenstein says, "From this day natural philosophy, and particularly chemistry, in the most comprehensive sense of the term, became nearly my sole occupation." ( Shelley 32) His quest to gain knowledge has become dangerous. His physical state deteriorates as he works night and day to create his beautiful creature. "My cheek had grown pale with study and my person had become emaciated with confinement...." (Shelley 36). Along with his physical state his mental state soon begins to deteriorate. There is a fine line between genius and insanity, and Victor...

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