The Enlightenment In Mary Shelly's Frankenstein

Improved Essays
The Enlightenment period, which stretched from the mid 17th to early 19th centuries, brought about a new and more advanced society through the radical change in common perceptions. Europeans began to question the reliability of the morals and ideas they have always accepted, and decided to make great attempts in diminishing ignorance and, instead, rationalize the problems present in society. Mary Shelly had written Frankenstein during the end of the Enlightenment era, and was inspired to incorporate the personalities and trends of society into her characters and plotline. It’s clear her novel glorifies the Enlightenment, as she designed the interests of her characters to reflect the interests and lifestyle of the middle class. She …show more content…
Of course, Victor is strongly encouraged by his father to study outside Geneva at a university in Ingolstadt, as it would be necessary for him to be “acquainted with other customs than those of his native country”. Victor desires to travel throughout Europe for two years, and brings along Cheval who is delighted as he expands his mind meeting many intellects who allowed him to have a greater capacity for knowledge. Shelly depicts many adventures and insightful moments of thought in locations outside the character's’ comfort zone, as when he ventured from the sight where he was brought to life into a foreign location is where Frankenstein’s creature learned about the hierarchy of society and the virtues of others. As travel literature was published in the era, it depicted the same lessons learned about morality, property, and government that Shelly incorporated into the second volume of her novel. The novel further pushed the notion of the time that education is greatly derived from traveling away from home in order to banish misconceptions and ignorance about life. Through Frankenstein, Mary Shelly glorifies the Enlightenment through her emphasis on scientific advancement, philosophical thought, and travel, as they aided society in developing a greater sense of knowledge and self-pride. Though, the dominance of these values supported the internal pressure of society to live up to its expectations of greatness and innovation, and Frankenstein depicts those same pressures the characters faced in order for them to live up to expectations set by society, and by

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Individuals such as John Locke and Jean- Jacques Rousseau, did not necessarily want to rebel against authority, but they believed in developing ways to better humanity through new ideas for government, economy, and religion purposes. During the Enlightenment, John Locke was an important figure due to his political beliefs of Sensationalism and Contract Theory of Government. Locke 's theory of Sensationalism, proclaims that people are equal in birth and should be equal in rights because everyone is born as a "blank slate" to be further shaped by society. This theory continues to spark questions in the mind of Locke, leading to his development of Contract Theory of Government, which proclaims that if one 's own government becomes oppressive and takes away the rights of the people, then rebellion should occur within the establishment. Traditional views in society usually stated that the government and the people should be separated by distinction, and the people should not question the actions of those in leading positions, yet the theories of Locke were ones that challenged these traditional views.…

    • 873 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    A number of social, political ideas, playwrights, and some spectacular theatrical innovations helped to bring Realism to the theatre. Such as, the revolutions and wars in Europe which represented the need for social, economic, and political reform. Also, technological advances in industry and trade led to a belief that science is a solution of human problems. Yet, the working classes still had to fight for their rights, and the common men needed to be recognized through actions. In other words, there was a sudden rejection of Romantic idealism in favor of pragmatism.…

    • 805 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    The events in the books Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley have come to life in society today. Censorship and oppression of society foretold by these books have come true. By using this theme of censorship and oppression from the government, they expressed their vision of what will happen to society. In many ways their writing have came true, from how today’s society innovate lives through technology and constrain society with blanket of false advertising. Ray Bradbury’s and Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novels were not only meant to entice the mind with a well written plot but to open the peoples eyes by seeing through the book at the warning it tells.…

    • 1874 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    From “The Politics of Transhumanism and the Techno-Millennial Imagination, 1626-2030” and “The Human Condition Hurts: We’d Be Fools Not to Better It” by James Hughes, the readers are able to gain an educational and factual perspective on a very theoretical topic. The difference in the implementation of the “hook”, the jargon used, and the context in time the supporting research is based on allows for each reader to gain the knowledge required to look at human bio-technology in a more accepting manner. From the stark contrasting methods in which Hughes expressed a similar argument in both works, the malleability of academic arguments is a significant aspect authors exploit to get their point to as many readers as possible. Both works begin…

    • 1413 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Progressive Era Reformers

    • 1225 Words
    • 5 Pages

    The two groups acted as facilitators, raising awareness for the nation and forcing the government to take action. What reformers were unable to accomplish was picked up in later years and eventually developed into current conditions. Today America is commonly referred to as the “melting pot of the world”. The reason America can accommodate and attract so many diverse cultures is because it went through a vast amount of effective reform. The equality in the race, occupation, and opportunity all originated with muckrackers and reformers desire to bring about change in the…

    • 1225 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Wood argues that changes in the American Revolution did experience a genuine social transformation. That what it bought, as he asserts, were the creating of a sense of equality for all Americans. In his book, The Radicalism of the American Revolution published in 1992, he interpreted that the Revolution was a genuine radical event. An event which led to the breakdown of such long-standing patterns of society as deference, patriarchy, and traditional gender relation. Also that even if class conflict and radical goals may not have caused the Revolution; the Revolution had a profound, even radical, ideological impact on society nevertheless.…

    • 778 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    While scientific advancements are capable of bringing misery, it is determined by the bearer of the knowledge how it will affect humanity. Irving Wladawsky-Berger, of the Wall Street Journal, claims that “technology helps bridge the world’s knowledge divide”, citing “governments... improving access to public and social services including education and health care; and mobile money accounts and digital payments... increasing financial inclusion” as benefits technology brings in our modem age, particularly towards the poor (Berger. 1) A notion so diverse as knowledge cannot be used solely for one purpose. Like a double-edged sword, its negative consequences are followed closely by its…

    • 1425 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Insects may the bane of some people’s existence, but the creatures are truly strong globes of energy, flitting to and fro. Thoreau and Woolf captured this essential spirit in their writing. In battle of the ants and death of moth, both writers observe other lifeforms, but the way in which they perceive the struggles vastly differs. According to an online biography, Thoreau’s exposure to Transcendentalism as well as his friend and mentor Ralf Waldo Emerson both shaped his writing to emphasize “the importance of empirical thinking and of spiritual matters over the physical world,” whereas Virginia Woolf’s parents raised her to be free-thinking, which resulted in her stream of consciousness writing style (Henry David Thoreau Biography). TOPIC…

    • 786 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Jacquelyn Theriault Mrs. Schroder English IV Honors 13 February 2018 Culture of Pride and Prejudice Pride and Prejudice properly painted the Regency Era and how themes of Jane Austen’s society had molded the characters in the novel. The pressing pressures of society when it came to characteristics helped to lead the plot, and further pushed individuals through the importance of societal expectations. Not only did individuals set themselves apart by wealth and class, but also gender and interpersonal relations. Image became everything in this time period and further caused barriers between the main characters of the novel. Themes of the Regency Era had dramatically affected the characters of Pride and Prejudice through material wealth,…

    • 853 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    “... Beatty attributed the new climate of intellectual and cultural sterility, as a kind of sourceless despair that causes people to turn their back on reading, on thinking, on being individuals” (Bloom 32). Bradbury recognized the upbringing of technology in his society, and realized the impact it might have on society’s future. This recognition helps Bradbury to positively forecast the rise of technology, in hopes that today’s society never actually reaches the same extent as the book. There is also a warning, that if humanity does continue on the path of technology, it may eventually become our family. Mildred Montag, Guy’s wife, refers to the parlor as her family because they make her laugh and she makes them laugh (Bradbury 69).…

    • 936 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays