Frankenstein: Science and Victor Frankenstein Essay

Submitted By John-Danyalzadeh
Words: 1381
Pages: 6

11/28/09

Essay #1 (Revision): Frankenstein

An inspiring voice in early 19th century European literature, authoring the timely piece, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley inquires into an array of thought-provoking affairs that, with acknowledgment to the time being, remain largely unaddressed. Victor Frankenstein, on whom the novel is primarily focused, sets forth making sense of nature’s unexplained mysteries--life and death--by dabbling with and eventually manipulating their structural core. This curiosity which helps shape Victor‘s research, however, comes not as a mere coincident. Throughout mankind’s history, individuals have embarked upon journeys into vast unknowns, while being fueled by a dynamic interest. Take, for instance, the 1500 B.C. Varanasi physician, Sushruta, at times anointed as the “father of Surgery”, whose medical contributions have lead to a focal point in modern day surgery, saving and improving the quality of countless lives. Ordinary humans who achieve extraordinary undertakings, the likes of which partly resemble God’s own work--as one vaguely understands that to be--can be witnessed by Victor’s push to uncharted lengths. The need for Victor to transcend beyond those in the scientific world, whose ideas and inventions have come before his, perhaps seeking to reach a God-like ranking of which no mortal has ever dreamt, seems all too farfetched, but not entirely unheard of. Without ambition, egocentrism, and an unyielding desire to tear down past barriers, history leads one to understand, human nature itself rarely finds the satisfaction necessary to stand idly by. Victor, in turn, symbolizes this never-ending cycle of human conquest. However, there comes a point where, in attempting to understand life’s many enigmas through science, the researcher may begin to lose sight of his pursuits, possibly stemming from unforeseeable circumstances that occur with testing. Such is the case with Victor Frankenstein. In pursuance of understanding or uniquely solving life’s puzzles which God has kept secret, the scientist, who utilizes experimentation as the tool with which to achieve his ends, must never cease to remain accountable for the consequences of his undertakings. Although the scientist holds views that may benefit mankind, subsequently thereafter funneling a pathway on which to test his ideas, he must fully oversee what comes as a result. Victor Frankenstein’s aspiration--synthetic conception of life--of achieving what was once considered unachievable by scientists, whether it is to heighten human understanding or to elevate his own status, is met with regret and contempt, following his lack of obligation to the aftermath of his experiment. As scientific restraint demands, Victor, and scientists alike, must constantly reexamine their professed hypotheses so as to see if further experimentation would not rid them of their imperative duty to follow through. “So much has been done, exclaimed the soul of Frankenstein--more, far more, will I achieve; treading in the steps already marked, I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation”(Shelley, 33). By examining early signs of fanaticism resonating from his time spent at college, Victor exhibits an intense tendency to be absolute in his endeavors and uneasily takes criticism, implying a sense of superiority unparalleled to human limitation. “My tears flow; my mind is overshadowed by a cloud of disappointment. But I journey towards England, and I may there find consolation”(Shelley, 208). Once an overly-ambitious explorer who sought great acclaim, Robert Walton candidly demonstrates an altered attitude, stemming from second thoughts developed by his newly found humility. What the scientist concocts, even following careful examination and augmentation, more often than not makes way for a situation unprecedented in complexity, requiring great…