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In The Novel Frankenstein, Mary Shelley Attempts To Shape The Values Of Her Society More Than She Attempts To Reflect Them.

1444 words - 6 pages

In the novel Frankenstein, Mary Shelley attempts to shape the values of her society more than she attempts to reflect them.In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Shelley exhibits what she considers many flaws in the workings of the human mind. Victor Frankenstein is an anti-hero, his temperament is opposite in many ways to the ideals of romanticism. He is a complete megalomaniac, incapable of thinking about anything but himself. He is a scientist, a follower of logic. Frankenstein tries to become greater than god and tries to "penetrate the secrets of nature". These characteristics are all contrary to the ideas of romanticism. If indeed Shelley intends to shape the values of her society, she first reflects many.Near the beginning of the novel we are introduced to the creature through they eyes and with the thoughts of its creator, Dr. Frankenstein. His past desires and dreams of creation are drastically overthrown when he comes face to face with the breathing creature, and we are able to enter Frankenstein's psychological state. Shelley communicates to us through atmosphere, conversational tone, disparaging language and word choice to reflect the values carried within the thoughts of Victor.The responder understands that Victor wishes to take science to a new level, but fails to explain why. Shelley here is questioning logical reasoning; the scientific public wants to go higher and better, but for what purpose? Shelley expresses that some things must be left to the higher powers, we are only human. With this idea I think Shelley is trying to reflect the immoral practices by science rather than shape new values altogether. However, at the same time Shelley urges the necessity for 'acceptable' science that is ensuring moral boundaries are not crossed such as in the genetic engineering seen in the novel.Shelley informs the responder of the flaws in logic. Even if science can create life, such as in the case of Victor, essential questions remain unanswered, those existential questions: Why am I here? Where have I come from? Where am I going? Frankenstein can be seen as a cautionary tale, Shelley trying to inform those around her of the perils of pure faith in the sciences. What are the dangerous implications of trying to penetrate the secrets of nature?Dr. Frankenstein overreaches in his desire to become like god. Adults collide with humanity-sharing however Frankenstein is different, he pushes risks, the unknown, and due to this the creature becomes morally abandoned. Shelley shows the obligation for growth in emotional knowledge rather than scientific knowledge implying the catastrophic consequences if people are not emotionally satisfied, a breed of social failures will eventuate.Because the structure of the text is, in parts, a recounting letter format, there is an intimacy between the responder and the composer. This is felt especially when Walton or Dr. Frankenstein reflect to us. In these passages we can gain an insight into what Mary Shelley's main...

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