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Mary Shelly's Frankenstein Essay

1445 words - 6 pages

Ever since the inception of humanity, individuals have had the overwhelming desire to explore the unknown and to overstep the boundaries of their intellectual capacity. With the establishment of civilization, the acquisition of knowledge became an even more powerful driving force as periods of history such as the Age of Exploration and the Scientific Revolution reflected the realization that knowledge has the power to not only benefit the individual but also to society. Today, this same old adage resonates ever so deeply within modern society. Despite widespread advancements in science and technology that are occurring day by day, the comfort of existing knowledge is not enough for many individuals who sacrifice much of their time to experience the glory of having discovered something more profound and revolutionary for the benefit of society. But does the extent to which man can acquire knowledge have no bounds? Does there come a point when the search for knowledge actually becomes detrimental to both the individual and society? Despite the fact that knowledge has improved the condition of humans by allowing them to be more acquainted with themselves and the world around them, the sad truth is that there exists a double-edged sword. Though advancements in field such as science and medicine have certainly proved that knowledge may be beneficial to society, perhaps, this may just be an illusion. With the advent of nuclear weapons and biotechnology, one may just as easily come to the realization that knowledge may have a harmful impact on society and its constituents. With regards to nuclear weapons, the world-renowned scientist, Albert Einstein who was partly responsible for their creation, expressed his concern that "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So is a lot." With knowledge comes responsibility and in essence, Einstein makes the point that carelessly utilized knowledge will bring society to its demise. Similarly, Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, written during the height of the Romantic Era and the Industrial Revolution, explores the consequences of pursuing scientific knowledge carelessly through the character of Victor Frankenstein, a scientist who toils hard to find the hidden meaning of life by creating another human being, only to have himself consumed by his creation in the end. Through the experiences of Victor and his ultimate demise, Shelly argues agaisnt the pursuit of knowledge, especially scientific, as it may result in the destruction of both the individual and his society.
Shelly argues through the actions of Victor Frankenstein that the pursuit of scientific knowledge is dangerous in that it allows for one to be idealistic and without a sense of personal responsibility. While Professor Walden lectures about the powers of science to unlock the mysteries of the world, Frankenstein's fervent interest for science is brought to the surface as he remarks, "So much has been done, exclaimed the soul of Frankenstein-more,...

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