Science And Technology In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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One’s conception of science and technology has rapidly changed over the past three centuries. From a basic understanding of how electrons move to understanding and utilizing stem cells to cheat death, humans have advanced into a new realm of scientific breakthroughs unparalleled to any other time period. Genes within the human body have been bio-hacked and reprogrammed (Sophia Chen, Wired Magazine); immunities to diseases have been engineered (Antonio Regalado, MIT Technology Review); artificial intelligence has enabled machines to operate beyond one’s control (Anjana Ahuja, Financial Times Magazine); and the future for the field of science looks larger and brighter with all of the ingredients necessary for a promising recipe for success. However, …show more content…
The novel begins when an old Frankenstein comes across an aspiring adventurer on a journey to the North Pole. Frankenstein warns the man saying, “You seek for knowledge and wisdom, as I once did; and I ardently hope that the gratification of your wishes may not be a serpent to sting you, as mine has been (Shelley 22).” The warning Dr. Frankenstein gives the adventurer serves also as a warning from Shelley to the reader, indicating that the pursuit for knowledge is a double edged sword; while the results from the progression of science usually benefit society as a whole, some discoveries impose a Pandora’s box situation where the resultant is mere chaos. These discoveries are realized during Frankenstein’s transformation into a mad scientist. Working alone and divorced from family and society, Frankenstein’s only contact seemed to be with other scientists. As such, “natural philosophy became nearly my sole occupation” (pg 51). His progress and single minded dedication were reinforced by the admiration from the only people he knew. Frankenstein truly believed that his discoveries “procured [him] great esteem and admiration at the university (pg 52).” This is the point in which the author draws criticism to the scientific community. Since the story is told in the first person, the reader truly sees the internal moral decay that Frankenstein experiences. For instance, Frankenstein is convinced that “the professors’ words enounced to destroy soul was gripped by a palpable enemy (p 49).” Indeed, his ambitions blinds him from the morality that should be considered before undertaking scientific research. This replicates the general criticism that Shelley places on scientists. Shelley pronounces that scientists labor for self-gratification rather than the advancement of societal

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