What can stop the determined heart and resolved will of man" (Shelley p.22) says Captain Walton in Mary Shelley's Gothic novel, Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus, echoing the driving force of Victor Frankenstein's life and his own. The overwhelming ambition of the protagonist, Victor Frankenstein, and his horror and aversion when he fulfills his life's work is the theme of the book…
The book was a precursor to innumerable books and movies about scientific intervention in nature. Using the model of the gothic novel in which the irresponsible intervention in nature's working to gratify his ambition led to unimaginable, catastrophe for the protagonist, Victor Frankenstein, and for Robert Walton, the captain of the ship, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein inquires into the conflict between personal ambition and social responsibility. .
Mary Shelley, the author of the book, was only eighteen when she wrote it in the second decade of the nineteenth century .It was a time when great scientific discoveries were made, and dangerous expeditions to the corners of the world were undertaken. It was also the time of Romanticism .Wife of the well known Romantic poet Percy Shelley, she was already a mother when she conceived the book. Coming from an intellectual family - her father Godwin was a novelist, and her mother, the famous Mary Wollstonecraft, was a feminist- Mary was well read and intelligent, besides being blessed with an analytical mind. and a fertile imagination. The story was conceived in the summer of 1886 in Geneva As Shelley herself says in the preface. "the season was cold and rainy, and in the evenings we crowded around a blazing wood fire and occasionally amused ourselves with some German stories of ghosts"
That Frankenstein was driven by his ambition is quite clear from the beginning. At the age of thirteen, he comes across a book by the alchemist Cornelius Agrippa, and reads all his works and the works of other alchemists, although his father and later, his teachers condemn them as trash. "I enter with the greatest diligence into the search of the philosopher's stone and the elixir of lifeWhat glory would attend the discovery!" (p.28).This hunger for glory leads him to study natural philosophy at school, but he is disappointed by the modern science, which only dealt with mundane matters. Instead of immortality and power, which were the goals of the old masters, the student of modern science was expected to focus on worthless facts." I was required to exchange chimeras of boundless grandeur for realities of little worth."(p.37) While studying at the university , he discovers the secret of infusing life Driven by his ambition and desire for glory, he works hard day and night for two years, never taking a break, and manages to put together a human body into which he infuses life. But when the creature he made comes alive, Frankenstein is totally disgusted by it, and forgets his social responsibility. In stead of studying it, and ascertaining its needs, he abandons the creature he himself has created and hurries away, "Like one who, on a lonely road, Doth walk in fear and dread, And, having once turned round, walks on, And turns no more his head; Because he knows a frightful fiend Doth close behind him tread." (Coleridge's Ancient Mariner)
Much later, when the Creature, hurt by its rejection by society, demands a female companion, Frankenstein does nothing to assuage its feelings. It is only when the Creature starts avenging itself by murdering the people nearest to Frankenstein's heart, that he becomes aware of his responsibilities. Now his ambition is to ...
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(“Mary Shellys Frankenstein Book Report/Review Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1000 words”, n.d.)
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(Mary Shellys Frankenstein Book Report/Review Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1000 Words)
“Mary Shellys Frankenstein Book Report/Review Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1000 Words”, n.d. https://studentshare.net/miscellaneous/294122-mary-shellys-frankenstein.
The Creator and the Creature: Frankenstein Mary Shelley and her novel, Frankenstein (Shelley), occupy a position in literary history that is unique due to a variety of reasons. Mary Shelley's position within a literary circle that comprised the great poets of her age, P.B.
This paper will analyse the characters namely, Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein in comparison to their quest for glory which turns disastrous and thus stressing the fact that wrong developments in the modern world could lead to dangerous consequences.
Shelley's character, Victor, is a doctor that is seemingly not destined to failure from his initial desire to overstep the natural bounds of human knowledge; rather, it is his poor parenting towards his creature that leads to his creation's thirst for revenge as a result of his unjust life.
His person was short, but remarkably erect; and his voice the sweetest I had ever heard. He began his lecture by a recapitulation of the history of chemistry, and the various improvements made by different men of learning, pronouncing with fervour the names of the most distinguished discoverers.
Later, in her first introduction to "Frankenstein," Mary Shelley explained the rationale behind the novel: "I busied myself to think of a storyone which would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature, and awaken thrilling horrorcurdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart" (Shelley, 169).
In this epistolary novel, Mary Shelley deals with epistemology which is divided into three volumes and each takes place at a distinct time. In the preface of the novel itself, the effect of the narrative structure of this epistolary novel becomes clear and the correspondence in letters between Robert Walton, an Arctic seafarer, and his sister, Margaret Saville forms the great part of the introductory section.
The essay also explores the possibilities of how subversion might have changed the story.
Ralph Walton is the ship captain that saves Victor at sea. He describes in a letter to his sister how Victor had suffered so much that it seems he cannot recover even in the company of loving friends.
Victor started his story when he had this intense idea to create something that no one can imagine. An ambition that no scientist can ever think of (Liggins 129), and worst, will challenge the capability of God and his greatest creation in all time, the humans.
In Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein, for example, the element of human nature comes into question. What we think we might know about the human condition is called into question. The ending of the novel also makes one think about the nature of man and the consequences of actions.