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Science In Shelley's Frankenstein Essay

1964 words - 8 pages

Science in Shelley's Frankenstein


In Shelley's Frankenstein, it's interesting to use the text to ask the question, whose interest's lie at the heart of science?  Why is Victor Frankenstein motivated to plunge the questions that bringing life to inanimate matter can bring?  Victor Frankenstein's life was destroyed because of an obsession with the power to create life where none had been before.  The monster he created could be seen as a representation of all those who are wronged in the selfish name of science.  We can use Shelley's book to draw parallels in our modern society, and show that there is a danger in the impersonal relationship that ...view middle of the document...

  He knows that the creature he is making is ugly, but he never wonders what will happen to the creature after he is brought to life as a result of that ugliness.  The monster is made oversized so it's easier for Victor to work on him, yet no thought is taken about how the creature might feel about such a form.  Victor doesn't even heed the advice of his father, and remains consumed with his science.  In the words of the popular film Jurassic Park, he got so busy wondering if he could do something that he forgot to think about whether he should do something.  This is a main theme of Shelley's novel.  Frankenstein never stopped to consider the consequences of his action on his fellow human beings, or the creature he was creating.


      We can see what Shelley was talking about in our day.  We create Nuclear power and weapons in the name of science, ignoring the costs of radiation poisonings and places like Hiroshima.  We genetically alter animals without regards to the effect on the rest of the food chain.  We create ways to bring water to southern California, ignoring the fact that we're destroying another habitat in Colorado.  We continue to produce vehicles powered by combustion engines when we know they destroy the environment.  The examples go on and on, and they show no signs of slowing down.  Shelley had an insight on the future when she wrote Frankenstein because she saw that we couldn't trust science alone to solve our problems.  It is up to us to make educated decisions about the way science should be used.


      What we can take from Shelley's novel and from it's modern day parallels is that humanity needs to develop a sense of scientific patience.  In our world everyone seems to be concerned with the quick fix.  We want all the good results right away, without any of the consequences.  Victor Frankenstein behaved exactly the same way.  He wanted all the glory of bringing life to the dead without facing the ugly reality that the act might bring with it.  We cannot and should not restrict the areas of learning that science can open for us, but we should adopt a careful, patient approach to answers.  We have to judge whether we are doing something in the interest of greed, or power, or prestige, or if we are doing it instead to better the world we live in and help those around us.  Scientists seem to get caught up in the ways to do things, but they need to start examine the reasons why they do things.


      Let me give you a modern day example that hits too close to Shelley's pattern of Victor Frankenstein.  In a recent article from there is an article about an Italian scientist named Dr. Severino Antinori.  This doctor recently held a press conference announcing that the first...

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