The Motif Of Nature Vs. Technology In Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein"

827 words - 3 pages

In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein nature is purity and innocence in a vile, corrupt world. It is freedom and serenity and holds the power to overwhelm human emotion and make dismay small and insignificant in comparison to the essence of nature. Nature even has tremendous effect on Victor; it becomes his personal physician and personal therapy when he undergoes torment and stress. Technology, however, causes Victor to experience a much more negative effect. By causing sorrow and pain, Shelley communicates with the reader that humanity is advancing in technology too rapidly and at an immoral rate, and is even challenging nature's role in the world. Through the use of contrasting technology and nature, Shelley effectively determines the essential message of technology possessing no role in nature's domain.Since the Industrial Revolution had pervaded all part of European and British society by the time of her writing, Shelley questions how far the current wave of advances should push the individual in terms of personal and spiritual growth. She conveys the impression that perhaps the technological advances made to date rob the soul of growth when man becomes too dependent on technology. Personal freedom is lost when man is made a slave to machines, instead of machines being dominated by man. Thus, Victor becomes a lost soul when he tries his ghastly experiments on the dead and loses his moral compass when he becomes obsessed with animating the dead. Victor's overindulgence in technology takes away his humanity, and he is left with the consequences of these actions without having reasoned out the reality that his experiments may not have the desired effects. His obsession with technology caused the deaths of everyone close to him, including his wife, and left Victor with nothing but an insane thirst for revenge. This downfall is solely caused by his ambitious attempt to improve technology, and Shelley communicates this notion clearly.Shelley uses nature as a restorative agent for Victor. While he seems to be overcome with grief by the murders of his friends and family, he repeatedly shuns humanity and seeks nature for health, relaxation and to strengthen his spirits. By chapter five of the first volume, Shelley creates a connection between Victor and nature. Instead of describing his moods with metaphor, as in earlier images, she describes his recovery from grave illness through his affinity with nature. Although nursed by his closest friends, it is the breathing of...

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