Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is a Gothic novel with science fiction elements that tells the story of a researcher Victor Frankenstein, who made a creature out of corpse parts and brought them to life. Authors in fiction decide which stories to tell and their implications based on their knowledge and assumptions of the listeners (Thomas 49). The monster, however, causes him misery and demise in the future. Victor recounts his story to a captain, Robert Walton, who he meets in St. Petersburg, Russia, towards the end of the 18th century. Frankenstein is a frame story since it is built on a series of other stories recited through the first-person accounts of Victor Frankenstein, the monster, and Captain Walton. The novel reflects the beauty of nature and how excessive knowledge and other factors influence people to compromise character, leading to failure.
The book Frankenstein is nineteenth-century literature published in 1818. The author Mary Shelley was 19 years old when she published the book that later became the most recognizable and enduring literature novel. Her story is about an obsessed scientist who creates and abandons a terrible monster inciting it to vengeance. Shelley includes the stories of Frankenstein, Walton, and the monster that indicate their emotional responses. Victor Frankenstein dreams of developing the elixir of life and has a passion for alchemy.
First, the theme of birth and creation is echoed in Frankenstein. The main character Victor creates a mysterious being, and he is happy to be a creator and a source (Cambra-Badii 4). By doing that, Victor plays the role of women and God by succeeding in creating human life. He is much contented by modeling the monster, demonstrating the pride, entitlement, and exhilaration creators of life enjoy. The inventor of the artificial being takes three sessions of nine months, representing the normal duration it takes for a child to be formed in a mother’s womb. Frankenstein strips women and God of their role by creating supernatural beings. However, unlike responsible women and God, Victor abandons the creature after it comes to life, leading it to extreme behaviors. Additionally, Frankenstein’s experiment lacked the anticipated qualities hence facing abuse and rejection. Shelly attached the distinction between natural scientific birth and artificial creation and the importance of parenting.
Frankenstein explores the theme of emotions, empathy, and loss. The most common emotion echoed in Frankenstein concentrate on loneliness affecting almost all characters in the novel. Through emotions, Shelly can portray the characters’ individual personalities by contrasting them against each other (Thomas 13). She starts by highlighting the childhood emotions of the characters. She later delves into how emotions can shake the characters’ personality foundation, hence determining their fate. Interpretation of body language can be used to decode inner feelings to understand their intent and fate. Lack of empathy turns individuals into criminals, illustrated by both Frankenstein and his creature. Emotions and empathy determine personality and could fuel human brutality if not controlled.
Shelly advocates for the monster to be fairly treated. She seems to side with the monster for fair treatment. In her argument, the treatment and caring of the monster determined its behavior. From a philosophical perspective, no humans are born evil, but rather, the experiences and interactions they endure make them evil. Frankenstein denies compassion to the creature, and, as a result, the monster runs away for a vengeance mission. Moreover, Chapter 18 in Frankenstein focuses on the isolation of Victor from his family, coercing him to move to England. He started modeling a partner for his creature rather than finding a wife but destroyed it before completion. Frankenstein suggests that social alienation is both the basic cause of evil and its repercussions.
The novel pivot on the interactive relationship of humans in bloodline settings. The importance of good family relations through love is highlighted in the book. Frankenstein is brought up together with his older brother, adopted sister, and father. The family is depicted to provide guidance and extra support to prevent Frankenstein from crumbling. When the scientist and the monster lack the support, they collapse due to psychological neglect (Nagy et al. 10). The creature has discounted the relationship when it says, “You, my creator, abhor me” (Shelly 84). Since the made being did not get family love, it became emotionally unstable, depressed, and violent. The creature goes without purpose in its life since it assumes everyone devalues it. In another instance, the author focuses on the paradox of love and the relationship between De Lacey, Felix, and Saffie.
Shelly portrays human beings as deeply ambitious to transform society and bring glory to themselves through Frankenstein and Walton. However, the ambitions are prone to flaws and failure to meet the expectations. Frankenstein is so confident in his intelligence that he believes he can create life resembling that of man. His ambition to create an artificial being resulted from proving performance rather than love and relationships. Frankenstein does not succeed in his project, as evident when he says, “the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled [his] heart” (Shelly 55). He miscalculated the responsibilities associated with his ambition causing failure that led to the murder of his brother and sister. When the creature is arraigned in court for murder charges, his silence by Frankenstein is indicative of abandoning responsibility for the challenges of his own creation. Walton, like Frankenstein, is an enthusiast for discovery and willing to push the boundaries of their desire for knowledge. Frankenstein illustrates that ambitions can surpass abilities, and failure is imminent.
The novel presents the theme of dangerous knowledge and manipulation of nature. Victor decides to open his secret to Walton upon realizing he also has a passion for discovery and intellect. Frankenstein said, “Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge” (Shelley 101). Shelly supports knowledge access and gain, which is important with various references in the bible. In his letters to his sisters, Walton expressed fear of the danger of knowledge, although he seeks a lot from his intelligence. Excess literacy is dangerous since it sidelines one from the rest of the society, as in Frankenstein, Walton, and the monster. Additionally, the novel used the theme of science appreciation by showing the consequences of manipulating nature. When Frankenstein is compelled, his dream of forging a friendship with someone pushes him to maneuver nature to create someone he desires. Dangerous knowledge can magnify one’s ambition leading to out-of-ordinary behaviors such as manipulation of nature.
The subject of vengeance is apparent throughout the novel. Vengeance is associated with anger, hatred, and grief aimed at harming another person to settle previous conflicts. The creature sought vengeance on his brother through the pursuit of his close relatives. The creature strangles Frankenstein in the act of vengeance and proceeds to frame his favorite maid for the murder. Revenge seemingly targets the things Frankenstein values most and has attachments for to cause a lot of psychological pain. The creature seeking revenge does not feel guilt for the activities but rather satisfaction after vengeance since they are driven by anger and violence. Furthermore, revenge is a never-ending cycle of hatred since Frankenstein is committed to some acts of retribution. Even when he is on his death bed, he promises Walton that he will continue with his vengeance machines.
In conclusion, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is a novel with a collection of horror stories. Frankenstein develops a tale in which humans attempt to create life out of death rather than develop their mortal enemy. The major themes in the novel include birth and creation, alienation, dangerous knowledge, family, ambition, revenge, and nature. It is a fictional book written in 1818 using the Gothic genre. The story of Frankenstein is a tale of a man who pursues knowledge beyond the human limit. He used the knowledge to make a controversial artificial man, who he isolates for failing to meet his expectations. The created being is distinct from the natural-born man since he is very faulty, lacks emotions, and is unfair to the other pursuit.
Cambra-Badii, Irene, Elena Guardiola, and Josep-E. Baños. “Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus: a Classic Novel to Stimulate the Analysis of Complex Contemporary Issues in Biomedical Sciences.” BMC Medical Ethics 22.1, 2021: 1-8.
The publication is a quantitative analysis of articles in the scientific literature analyzing the application and practice of biomedical sciences. Using science, the study is critical to reflect on the personal and social limits of the students. Drawing from Frankenstein, scientists have an ethical responsibility to take care of their creations. Cambra-Badii et al. delve into the interconnectedness of science, ethics, and compassion.
Nagy, Peter, et al. “Facing the Pariah of Science: The Frankenstein Myth as a Social and Ethical Reference for Scientists.” Science and engineering ethics 26.2, 2020: 737-759.
The study evaluates how Frankenstein fiction may engage scientists to increase their understanding of better ethical and social attributes regarding their profession. The major themes of Frankenstein are highlighted for conceptualized societal and ethical perceptions to be referenced. Radical scientific invention and intervention are more likely to influence errors. Scientists should be prospective on the future impacts of emerging technologies on humanity.
Pou, KB Veio. “Constructing the Idea of Monstrosity and Social Rejection in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.” An International Refereed Journal of English Language and Literature, 2020.
The article investigates the aspect of social rejection and monstrosity evident in Frankenstein. The research focuses on key political and social issues in the eighteenth century that led to the marginalization of the few who were distinct from the majority. Natural bonds of obligation towards friends and family could be contaminated, distorted, masked, or disfigured by political or social challenges. Isolation in Frankenstein is due to social issues such as knowledge and intellectual capacity in society.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein: The 1818 Text. Penguin, 2018. Thomas, C. Schelling. Arms and Influence. Yale University Press, 2020. Web.