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Power In Mary Shelly's Frankenstein Essay

1672 words - 7 pages

Power is a defining feature of oneself for it provides meaning or substance to one’s internal being. Power allows a person to have control of his/her destiny; but without this spark of control one becomes lost in the sublime and unknown realities of life. In the novel Frankenstein, Victor defies the confinements of his restricted power and uses sublime nature as an extension of himself to regain control. With a "spark of electricity" he creates life from raw, uninhibited nature. Ironically, his desperate attempt to regain control through his creation ultimately creates chaos. Both "the creature" and Victor’s power become characterized by a tension between nature and nurture; therefore identifying each of their chaotic existence. The types of power which are represented by metaphors of fire in the novel, shed light on the nurturing power of familial bonds (hearth) and the uninhibited power of nature (wild chaotic fire). Therefore the presence of power as the existence of fire and the "domestic circle" represents the creation of an identity as the conflict between uncontrollable power and bounded/constrained power.
In the beginning Victor creates the creature to decipher his identity and gain a sense of power within the family circle. He struggles for a flame of power that is masked by the enclosed "domestic circle" that he has been accustomed to. This is demonstrated by the passage "Such was our domestic circle, from which care and pain seemed for ever banished" (24); the circle bounded Victor in a safe and secure domain. His carefully structured and secure reality was enclosed in a reciprocal nature prohibiting Victor from exploring the sublime qualities of life. His personal identity became hidden and could not be separated from the circular motion of the domestic circle. His life in the family circle was filled with affection, warmth, and equality, which constrained his power making Victor yearning for more. His drive to gain power within the democratic circle of familial bonds propelled him to construct the creature. As Victor assimilates his newly found sense of power he is liberated, and "for an instant [he] dared to shake off [his] chains, and look around [himself] with a free and lofty spirit" (111). Clearly Victor views his circular familial bonds as constraints chaining him down, keeping him from experiencing the unbridled passion and adventures of life. He views his life as a destined pathway filled with certainty. Therefore by using the unbounded laws of science in conjunction with his knowledge and desperation he is able to cut through the thick, bound, iron clad chains, which canvassed his lost hidden identity.
Victor creates the creature through raw, uninhibited science and nature, a symbolic vision of how he internally yearns for a life with uncontrolled power. "A spark of being" (34) destroys the circular boundaries of Victor’s power, resulting in a wild and uninhibited fire of authority destroying his every known comfort. The...

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