The Intellectual Pursuit and Its Social Counterpart in Frankenstein
Victor Frankenstein, as a scientist, has a burning passion and an infinite curiosity for the science of reanimation. After spending years studying what is known of the subject, Victor makes a discovery that would have been considered an enormous scientific breakthrough. However, once Frankenstein applies this new science, the science becomes a detriment to society, never to be attempted again. Frankenstein ignored the social implications of the science of reanimation, assuming that society would carry on normally with the added discovery. As a result of his ignorance, the monster he creates, seeking vengeance, murders those closest to Frankenstein. Society was not ready to handle such an …show more content…
Frankenstein, during his pursuit of knowledge, is comparable to another pursuer of knowledge who later regretted his curiosity: Robert Oppenheimer. Frankenstein fathered The Creation, while Oppenheimer fathered the atomic bomb. Both of these scientists, driven by passion and curiosity, "produced something they do not know how to control" (Isaacs), which are both capable of so much death. Both Frankenstein and Oppenheimer, before seeing what the application of their respective new found science could do, "pursued science in its original sense of 'natural philosophy'"(Isaacs). However, Oppenheimer speaks for both of them when he exclaims "I am become death, the shatterer of worlds" upon seeing the aftermath of his pursuit set ablaze the New Mexican desert.
The similarities between Frankenstein and Oppenheimer are not coincidental, but slightly expected. Frankenstein serves as a warning to society, illuminating the issue that all knowledge has implications on society, some of which are so detrimental to the society as a whole that the knowledge itself must be hidden. It is for this reason that Frankenstein refuses to tell Walton of the knowledge he acquired in his pursuit. Oppenheimer, however, shared his pursuit with many others, and is