The Destructive Desire For Knowledge: Frankenstein By Mary Shelley

1309 words - 5 pages

By definition, knowledge is the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association (Merriam-Webster.com). In the novel Frankenstein, Mary Shelley considers knowledge as a “dangerous” factor. The danger of it is proved throughout the actions of the characters Robert Walton, Victor Frankenstein, and the creature. The characters all embody the theme of knowledge in different ways. Shelley supports her opinion about knowledge by using references from the Bible and Paradise Lost. She uses these references to show the relationship between God’s Adam and Frankenstein’s creature, and how nothing turns out as great as God’s creation. Mary Shelley’s goal is to teach a lesson on how destructive the desire for knowledge really is.
Robert Walton, an Artic explorer, demonstrates the idea of knowledge as “dangerous” through his letters to his sister. He shows determination while on his quest, but it is glory that he seeks the most. Walton states, “I shall satiate my ardent curiosity with the sight of a part of the world never before visited, and may tread a land never before imprinted by the foot of man”(8). The statement implies that Walton seeks “dangerous” knowledge; the type of knowledge that only God possesses. Although he wants glory, he refuses to do whatever it takes to get it. Walton expresses that by saying, “I am going to unexplored regions, to “the land of mist and snow”; but I shall kill no albatross, therefore do not be alarmed for my safety” (15). Although Walton seeks glory or forbidden knowledge, he is aware that it comes with consequences that he is not willing to face. He has no interest in betraying people or upsetting nature to get to the level of greatness that he wants. Upon hearing Frankenstein’s story, Walton’s search for glory and knowledge becomes irrelevant because he suddenly realizes the effects of knowing too much.
It is obvious to assume that a man who experiences an excellent childhood is destined for greatness. Victor Frankenstein starts off as a curious child with interest in science. He becomes extremely intelligent, but too much knowledge given to the wrong person can result in disaster. Frankenstein mentions, “My dreams were therefore disturbed by reality; and I entered with the greatest diligence into the search of the philosopher’s stone and the elixir of life” (34). His interest in the subject shows that even with all the knowledge on earth he still thirsts for more. Frankenstein’s interest in science consumes him as he drifts from curiosity to obsession. He goes on to say, “…if I could banish disease from the human frame, and render man invulnerable to any but a violent death!” (34). The statement implies that with his knowledge he desires to create things in a way that man wouldn’t dream of ordinarily. Frankenstein is going after the level of knowledge which God holds. As the novel continues, his level of knowledge changes once he realizes the effects of creating the...

Find Another Essay On The Destructive Desire for Knowledge: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley Essay

1224 words - 5 pages Is Frankenstein a man, whose ambition led to a disaster; or a monster, which created a life with disregard for the human race? Frankenstein, in my opinion, was the monster not the life that he had created. Frankenstein never admitted to his family what he had done, never admitted responsibility for his actions. He might as well have killed Elizabeth, William, Justine, and Clerval with his own hand. The so called “Monster” only wanted...

Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley Essay

1305 words - 5 pages “Isolation is the sum total of wretchedness to a man,” said 19th century author and philosopher, Thomas Carlyle. Humans are naturally empathetic; without any external human stimulus, the human psyche has no outlet of which to vent this empathetic ability, and the subtle laws that govern our most basic morals and natural tendencies begin to fall apart. In Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, author Mary Shelley incorporates the theme of...

"Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley

2463 words - 10 pages Consider the View that Frankenstein is a Story of Enduring Moral RelevanceI am going to investigate the view that Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is a book of enduring moral relevance. I will cover the topics of acceptance in society, revenge, ambition and the consequences of scientific discovery.The major theme in Frankenstein is the great emphasis placed on appearance and acceptance in society. In modern society as well as in the society of...

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

882 words - 4 pages When Mary Shelley started writing the story of Dr. Frankenstein, she did not realize the true potential of her work. She was simply writing a short story to pass the time. Shelley had no idea her story would evolve and grow as the years pass. She had no idea it would launch a whole genre of horror stories and an array of movies that have captivated the imagination of every generation including our own. The story of Dr. Frankenstein taps into the...

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

1468 words - 6 pages Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, is a writer who was greatly influenced by the Romantic era in which she lived. In fact, she moved among the greatest talents of the English Romantic writers including her poet/husband Percy Shelley and their poet/friend Lord Byron. Her writing was also influenced by the other great Romantic poets Wordsworth and Coleridge, whose ideas she either directly quotes or...

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

1483 words - 6 pages How does Mary Shelley present the character of the monster so as to gain sympathy for him? When Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, in 1818 at the tender age of 18, it was often wondered how such a young girl could imagine such a horrific story. In fact, one could find that the idea of ‘playing God’ and manipulating the ideas behind life and death were very much real at the time, and even today. Many scientists ...

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - 4782 words

4782 words - 19 pages Frankenstein by Mary Shelley FRANKENSTEIN ‘Frankenstein is full of ideas and warnings which are relevant to a modern audience.’ -Discuss the enduring appeal of the novel. Introduction: Despite being over a century old, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein has continued to hold public interest for nearly two hundred years. The novel was published 1818 and is one of the most acclaimed gothic stories...

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

1689 words - 7 pages Obsession is a state of troubling preoccupation, and is a mental state prominent in both Frankenstein and Rebecca; one which has extreme causes and effects. In Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein becomes obsessed with creating life, which later turns to obsession with destroying his creation. While in Rebecca, the main antagonist Mrs De Winter is obsessed with the deceased Rebecca. This unhealthy obsession later consumes the second Mrs De Winter. ...

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - 2113 words

2113 words - 8 pages We as humans want to be with each other. We actively pursue this goal be finding friends and significant others. While a moderate amount of solitude can be good we crave togetherness with others. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein isolation is a key theme in the novel. The creature created by Victor Frankenstein is driven into isolation from society based on people’s fear of him. Both the creature and Victor experience first hand the effects that...

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - 1461 words

1461 words - 6 pages Shelley in Frankenstein and Goethe in The Sorrows of Young Werther wrap their stories around two characters whose mental torment and physical actions are similar to one another. Both the stories deal with characters who are struggling to find happiness in their lives in the world they live in, but they could not because of rejection. Werther was seeking to be loved and have a family with the girl she loved whereas, the creature was seeking for a...

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - 1585 words

1585 words - 6 pages Throughout our history, science and technology continues to expand and thrive. A time period that shows a really good representation of this is during the Industrial Revolution that took place in the 18th and 19th century. The Industrial Revolution was a time of huge economic growth and change. There were some major changes regarding agriculture, manufacturing, transport and technology. The spread of the Industrial Revolution first started in...

Similar Essays

Dangerous Knowledge In Frankenstein By Mary Shelley

1386 words - 6 pages Frankenstein is a book written by Mary Shelley in 1818, that is revolved around a under privileged scientist named Victor Frankenstein who manages to create a unnatural human-like being. The story was written when Shelley was in her late teen age years, and was published when she was just twenty years old. Frankenstein is filled with several different elements of the Gothic and Romantic Movement of British literature, and is considered to be one...

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...

Frankenstein By Mary Shelley Essay 1292 Words

1292 words - 5 pages Archetypal Characters inside Frankenstein The novel “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley involves the complex issues with the creation of life through an inanimate life. Shelley uses these character archetypes to develop a deeper meaning of the characters intentions. Shelley does an excellent job at allowing the reader to have a peak at the characters inner thoughts and feelings. The archetypes presented in Frankenstein allow readers to...

Frankenstein, By Mary Shelley Essay 1344 Words

1344 words - 5 pages The world consists of people that have the ability to overcome evil or become consumed in it. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a creature believed to be monstrous and destructive is created and as a consequence despised by the society he is brought into. Through the perspectives of Walton, Frankenstein, and the creature, Mary Shelley counters Frankenstein’s belief that the creature is a ‘demon’. The creature exemplifies more heartfelt...