Science in the Enlightenment: Benjamin Franklin Essay

Words: 1844
Pages: 8

Christian Perez
M. Darling
English 1302
Frankenology Science is any branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws gained through observation and experimentation; generally the name of which ends in the suffix -ology ("Science"). Many major scientific breakthroughs occurred during Mary Shelley’s lifetime and several found their way into her work. It has been noted that, "[i]n many of her stories there are thinly veiled parallels between people, places, and events in Shelley's life and her characters, settings, and plots" (Greenfield 288). Erasmus Darwin, Humphry Davy, and Luigi Galvani and their various, famous experiments held great
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Shelley presents the troublesome uncertainty of going too far in scientific exploration in the name of ambition rather than the common good. Before pushing the scientific experimentation boundaries, Victor not only learns directly from chemist Humphry Davy's work but also from evolutionary biologist Erasmus Darwin's. Erasmus Darwin, another scientist of the time, was on the opposite end of the spectrum intentions-wise from Davy. Darwin observed nature strictly for observation, not with the intent to use the insight gained to wield power over nature, making him an exemplary model to emulate. Darwin provided Victor with an archetype to follow, one with the proven method of meticulous observation and calculated operations that did not attempt to alter nature by taking any extreme measures, the only purpose being to learn from what was studied. Darwin's supposed case of preserving a piece of vermicelli in a glass case until it moved with voluntary motion was a significant experiment that influenced Shelley's purpose of Frankenstein (Engar 137). Shelley cast Victor as an antipode of Darwin and his teachings, Victor not only created his own baby but he did so without a partner. Anne K. Mellor notes that evolutionists such as Darwin believe: "Sexual production is at a higher evolutionary level than hermaphroditic or solitary paternal propagation...[and Victor actually] substitutes solitary paternal