Frankenstein Reflecting Mary Sheley's Values Essay

1830 words - 7 pages

Throughout the novel ?Frankenstein? the composer Mary Shelley unambiguously reflects her values as well as that of her society. The context in which it was composed exemplifies profound statements of Mary Shelley?s time. Initially, conceptions of man and the human race are characterized, distinguishing man as dominant over women, merely perceiving them as objects of man thus creating gender roles of the early eighteenth century. On the other hand we see perceptions of greed and obsessive behavior through the central characters Frankenstein and Walton who become driven by selfish desires. The influence of the development of science evidently caused a foremost impact upon Mary Shelley?s society therefore it became a primary theme during Frankenstein, particularly the ascendancy of science over nature. Nature becomes symbolism of the sublime while Mary Shelley?s conception of the negative consequences of science over nature becomes apparent. In addition we may distinguish science as a representation of man and nature as women, which was most likely a view determined by Shelley?s view of her mother and father since her mother was a feminist and father was a scientist. Thus, Mary Shelly includes these ideas in Frankenstein making imperative statements as well as reflecting values due to the context it was written.Through the focal characters of Frankenstein we gain an insight into the way in which Shelley perceived men through the influences of male role models in her life. Due to the death of Mary Shelley?s mother when Shelley was born, she would have had few female role models growing up, consequently we see the dominance of male characters in the novel with women characters contained in passive roles. Shelley was frequently surrounded by scientific philosophers, such as, Humphry Davy and Erasmus Darwin, both having insightful theories regarding creation. Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein are both similar to these philosophers as they begin their search for knowledge. ?What may not be expected in a country of eternal light?? states Walton as he turns to knowledge not considering consequences. Frankenstein later warns him ?Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge.? Therefore Mary Shelley is trying to demonstrate that men aspire for knowledge but often befall inadequate outcomes. However, these results in them learning from their mistakes although often it is too late. Moreover Frankenstein and Walton have obsessive behaviors; they are driven by power and lust. It becomes apparent that it is in their nature to be destructive as anarchy extends around them. This is the way in which Mary Shelly perceived men while society in the eighteenth century stereotyped males in positive aspects such as powerful and intelligent which is also seen in Walton and Victor. The males are the ones that go on the expeditions and search for knowledge as that?s what they were stereotyped to do while...

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