Frankenstein:Victor`s Motives and Attitudes Towards science and Humanity
MaryShelley’s Frankenstein presents a warning against science andtechnology which she conceives as having dangerous consequences (Dunn134 Mellor 100).In this piece, Victor is presented as undermining the scientificenterprise. Victor pursues fame rather than the cognitive elements ofscience portraying an irresponsible attitude towards science throughhis experiments. He does not seek to improve or revive human worthwhich was considered as a noble and important aspect of scienceduring the 19thcentury: the time which the novel was written (Nocks 137).
MaryShelley, via Victor, seeks to pass a warning against science byshowing that Victor’s experiments which sought to create humanswithout the natural means of procreation, thus creating a monster, isa defiance of the divine will. Victor claimed to have discovered thecause of life and generation by his ability to animate lifelessmatter (Shelley 37). This paper seeks to analyze Victor’s attitudeand motive toward science by looking at his initial motives as wellas his reaction after the success of his experiments.
Victoris motivations in science are tantamount to seeking after fame,recognition and glory at the expense of his own safety and that ofothers (Othello 33). For Victor, glory is equivalent to danger. He isconvinced that if something is not dangerous, then it is not worthpursuing. As Nocks notes, Victor does not give a consideration of howthe public would react to his creation of a monster. All heanticipates for is to praise his own genius. Moreover, he anticipatesgiving life to the monster yet does not take time to consider whatthe creation’s emotional and physical needs would be (147).
Forvictor, science is a mystery that needs to be probed. There is needto discover the secrets of science and once they have beendiscovered, they must be guarded jealously (SparkNotes n.d.). In thisregard, Victor develops an obsession for creating life in absolutesecrecy (Baldick195). He secretly spends several months studying the anatomy andphysiology of human body by using human corpses. He intends toassemble raw materials collected from the graveyards. He endures thedisgust of the corpses just to seek to achieve his goals. Victorintends to go beyond the current achievements of science by seeking anew procedure of exploring unknown powers with a view of unveilingthe mysteries of creation to the world (Shelley 33).Later when hedecides to destroy the monster, he does it in secrecy until whenWalton hears of it. In fact, it is Victor who tells his tale toWalton when the secrecy of having the creature becomes a burden forhim. He realizes that his experiments were madness and intends to usehis tale to caution Walton who is also conducting similar studies.Victor hoped that Walton could learn a moral lesson from the story.
Inaddition, Victor seeks to use science as a tool of affecting thewhole of mankind. He airs his aspirations and ambitions of becoming ahero in the face of the society: becoming more than a man. In thisregard, Victor is presented as desiring to control nature throughscientific intervention. However, this seems to be an ironic delusionjudging from Victor’s egocentric nature. It is this egocentricnature that leads Victor into a paradox. At first, his motives are tocontrol nature by creating a human without the intervention of thenatural conceptive process and to realize glory and fame.
However,on creating the monster, Victor is filled with fear and uncertaintysuch that he denounces his own creation. The euphoric situation inwhich Victor animates life into the creature becomes regrettable, forthe first time, he sees the creature in motion. The creature did notretain the beauty of the original parts he had selected (Shelley 42).He terms the creature as a catastrophe for it had extra-long legs,black lips, pale skin and several scars. Having worked for almost twoyears depriving himself of rest and good health, he was not proud ofhis accomplishment (Shelly 42). He feels that he could not unveil tothe world this mystery of creation. As a matter of fact, he does notview his accomplishment as success due to the distress he sufferedand even, happily, wished that the monster had died (46).
Further,he denies the responsibility of his own creation. When he firstencounters the creation, Victor claims that the creature requiresmore than just severe torture owing to the crime that it committed(Shelley 83). After the creature reminds him that it is the result ofhis hard work (84), Victor accepts his responsibility. At thisjuncture, he realizes that he had a duty to make the creature happybefore he started complaining of its evil nature. However, he stilldoes not take full responsibility of meeting the needs of thecreature.
Inconclusion, Shelley presents victor as one of the villains in thestory so as to warn of the dangers of science when it is utilized toplay God. Victor detaches himself from the human aspects of hisexperiments towards the search after glory. He ends up in a situationwhere he fully regrets the results of his scientific research. In themodern society, scientific research is guaranteed freedom by manystates. However, the states also give guidelines on how the findingsof the research are to be utilized for the benefit of humanity.However, modern warfare is a typical case of how scientific findingscan be used to harm humanity. Nations have engaged in wars involvinglethal weapons. Terrorist groups have also used chemical weapons suchas the 2014 attack on civilians in Syria. Hence, science must be putin check to prevent harm on humanity.
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