Frankenstein Mary Shelley Conceived of Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

If you reanimate dead flesh then how do you kill it?

Victor, on his death bed, intones to his new friend the Captain of the discovery vessel that ambition in science should be kept in check, even if that means death in anonymity. He first intones that he regrets that he is dying while the beast still lives and then warns the captain to keep his ambition in check.

That he should live to be an instrument of mischief disturbs me; in other respects, this hour, when I momentarily expect my release, is the only happy one which I have enjoyed for several years. The forms of the beloved dead flit before me and I hasten to their arms. Farewell, Walton! Seek happiness in tranquillity and avoid ambition, even if it be only the apparently innocent one of distinguishing yourself in science and discoveries. Yet why do I say this? I have myself been blasted in these hopes, yet another may succeed."

Shelley 185)

Fear of ambition was not new but natural sciences were eking away at discoveries that were fearful to many and many were being sacrificed in the process, such as the men who died of exposure on the fictitious trip to the north conceived of by Shelley in the form of the captain's exhibition.

In my opinion, the two interlinking stories are significant as one warns the other more novice scientist of the deathbed regrets he would have if he continued to live by scientific ambition. The Captain is seeking to discover the undiscovered and that place is inhospitable to man and therefore should remain a mystery to him.

I had determined, if you were going southward, still to trust myself to the mercy of the seas rather than abandon my purpose. I hoped to induce you to grant me a boat with which I could pursue my enemy. But your direction was northward....I should soon have sunk under my multiplied hardships into a death which I still dread -- for my task is unfulfilled.

Shelley 177)

Neither man fulfilled his destiny and this is as it should be, but the beast still lived, as a metaphor for continuation of the dangerous science that Shelley based her entire work upon.

Shelley 14) Victor, set aside the superstitions of man, and the kinder sciences of natural history and the like to foreshadow the disaster that would become his despicable legacy.

All that had so long engaged my attention suddenly grew despicable. By one of those caprices of the mind, which we are perhaps most subject to in early youth, I at once gave up my former occupations; set down natural history and all its progeny as a deformed and abortive creation; and entertained the greatest disdain for a would-be science, which could never even step within the threshold of real knowledge. In this mood of mind I betook myself to the mathematics, and the branches of study appertaining to that science, as being built upon secure foundations, and so worthy of my consideration.

Shelley 53-36)

In doing so he set aside any hope that he would have to hold his life in check and to build a career that would not hurt but would help humanity. He was convoluted in his thoughts, seeking to take from humanity the disaster of grief, upon the death of loved ones, and in so doing he gave the most extreme example of Shelley's dire predictions of science out of control. In my opinion dangerous science on the part of man to discover knowledge that is best left to the creator is the only thematic exploit of the work. Though she plays on fear and superstition that existed long before natural science her message is clear that fears of superstitious regeneration could and would become a reality if science was not called upon its excesses.

Works Cited

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein or, the Modern Prometheus.…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein or, the Modern Prometheus. New York: Collier Books, 1961.

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