The Importance Of Science In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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Mary Shelley 's Frankenstein tells a story of an obsessive man who allows his pursuit of science to take over his ability to think about the consequences of his actions. By playing god to satisfy his intellectual curiosity, Victor Frankenstein gives life to a monster that he cannot properly deal with and that leads to his ultimate demise. By illustrating this tragic affair, Mary Shelley shows that just as an unfettered flame can both illuminate a room and burn it down; science can be a positive influence on the world but the boundaries of science must be approached cautiously and thoughtfully. Victor Frankenstein’s obsession with natural philosophy and chemistry began in his childhood and only grew fiercer as he became a young adult. It is not until after the death of his mother that his desire to have control over the limits of life and death completely takes over his life. As he notes, “I seemed …show more content…
When he does return home he celebrates that the monster is gone: “I could hardly believe that so great a good fortune could have befallen me, but when I became assured that my enemy had indeed fled, I clapped my hands for joy and ran down to Clerval” (Shelley, Chapter 5). This shocking level of jubilation highlights just how unprepared Victor is for the responsibilities of the work he is engaging in. He has unleashed something into the world that has never been seen before and he is happy that it is no longer his problem and someone else will deal with it. It also serves as a reminder that any scientific pursuit should be judged by the outcome, not the virtues of the pursuit itself. Just because something can be done, does not mean that it should be done. In this case, Victor Frankenstein is extremely successful in his scientific pursuits, but he is incredibly unsuccessful in the outcomes which follow those pursuits. For which he pays a greater price than he could have ever

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