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Frankenstein Essay

988 words - 4 pages

Examine the values expressed in Frankenstein in relation to its context
The early 19th century, in the midst of the industrial revolution, was a time of great technological and scientific change when society was beginning to lose faith in religion. Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, written in 1817 demonstrated her recognition of science as a powerful force with the potential to challenge man kind’s attitudes to god and to existence itself. The introduction of science into this era encouraged man to obsessively push the boundaries of nature, creating moral dilemmas. Mary Shelley wrote that she wished her novel to “speak of the mysterious fears of our nature” fears that had led to the ...view middle of the document...

His time spent in isolation obsessively trying to “bestow animation” into lifeless matter led to his hamartia and the complete destruction of everyone around him. This strengthens Shelley’s concerns and criticisms of the passions which drive men on to chaos and destruction that emerged during the revolution. “learn from me if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge”.
Frankenstein has been denoted as a Gothic Romance. The antagonist, victor, is seen in many lights as a romantic. Primarily as he turns to nature for serenity, “the sight of the awful and majestic in nature had indeed always the effect of solemnising my mind and causing me to forget the passing cares of life”.. Romanticism gained strength during the industrial revolution as it was primarily a reaction against the scientific rationalizing of nature. Romanticism, was in part, an escape from modern realities, which at the time was the terror in the English society from the emergence of science as a ‘new religion’. It gave way to idealism over realism which is demonstrated when Frankenstein assumes a godlike role in the narcissistic endeavour to “create a being equal to myself”, he is enticed by the idea that “excellent natures would owe their being” to him. However the lamentation, “the beauty of the dream vanished and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart” manifests Victor’s failure to fabricate a being equal to the sublimity of God’s. He is also induced by the potential ability to “renew life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption”. This desire ultimately conveys his disruption of nature as he interrupts the natural process of death. Clearly there is a warning in her novel about the lack of reverence which men display for the powerful forces with which they are tempted to tamper in their search for glory and their own deification.
Society’s prejudice
The Chinese box set structure of the narrative allows us...

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