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For a long time now, science and theology have been at odds. The legal quandaries we face today are analogous to the fundamental elements in Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein. Such philosophical quandaries include the invention of the ultrasound system and selective abortion, the latter of which is a product of the former. Despite the fact that it was first intended to detect birth defects, the system has been linked to many selective abortions, resulting in the loss of many lives. The profoundly pessimistic normative outcomes for the story and for real society are the end consequences of deciding who does and does not deserve life; which is the practice of playing God.
Victor Frankenstein beholds his faults then abandons his creature. In the same way, lives are discarded in our current culture as they are deemed unacceptable. Coulter observes that Mary Shelley's doomed creature is a reflection of the staggering repercussion of bringing an undesirable child into the world, and neglecting it from there on (42). Throughout the novel, the theme of the decline of the creature into all mankind’s hate shows up frequently. In fact, no name is given to the monster. Instead, it is called all sorts of names from wretch to ogre to the demon. Victor Frankenstein gives birth to his monster. As usual, this is the time we expect him to scream in triumph but instead, he not only runs but also hides (Coulter, 46).
According to Zimmerman, the center of Mary Shelley’s novel is on the cultural and social societal aspects during her lifetime (135). Throughout the novel, the characters struggle with societal control as seen in the case of the monster- an outcast from society. The novel continues to be shaped by the themes of the opposing forces of spirituality (nature) and science. The question remains, ‘Can science go too far when it equips man with tools to manipulate life?’ The huge difference made in man’s quality of life is as a result of discoveries such as vaccines and electricity but the effects outweigh the benefits (Zimmerman, 137).
The driving factor, therefore, is science and the humankind nature to control nature. Right from the beginning, there is hate of mankind. From the word go, the monster’s identity is of no worth before his creator Frankenstein. We can agree with Shelley that the monster has no identity and is deemed unacceptable. As such, he was never given an opportunity to transform itself; the monster continually struggles to fit in which opportunity he does not get. “I believed myself totally unfitted for the company of strangers” (Shelley, 26). The monster becomes even lonelier than Frankenstein (Shelley, 68). Frankenstein rejects the monsters mainly because of its outward appearance. The rejection of man, and notably by his creator, only increases the loneliness and the emotional abandonment of the monster. As a result, the monster resorts to violence, killing William, Victor’s younger brother (Shelley, 97).
In the novel, Frankenstein tries to understand triumph of science, nature and the mocking of God, which, in a short period of time, can all backfire. Frankenstein, being controlled by science and technology, could not distinguish the good and the bad. Bann argues that creation was greatly affected by the changes in science and technology (90). The emerged changes have both negative and positive consequences. For instance, he constructed a creature that never impressed him (Bann, 92). The dissatisfaction in the creature was evident long before the creature killed his family and friends. Zimmermann carefully observed that Frankenstein only focused on the negative aspects of his creation and was unable to grasp its positive aspect (135). For this reason, he would not understand his creature’s feelings about the world. He could not understand the creature but instead was more worried about his idea and point of view (Bann, 96).
In conclusion, when a new creature emerges, there is a possibility that it will be great. On the contrary, Frankenstein’s scientifically-inclined mind could not allow him to conceive this fact. His personality was not religious-minded. He could not find the answer to the perfect creation concept. The novel shows the negative aspect of science in the novel’s society thereby solving science’s unethical dilemmas. The novel unearths many question answers thereby helping people to fully understand Frankenstein’s intentions. It is always prudent to allow others to know how we feel about certain things in addition to the fact that everyone possesses emotion and feelings. Mary Shelley has a message that everyone should have understanding and compassion to each other since no one knows what the other has experienced. Every other person has battles that they fight within themselves. Amazingly, the catastrophic events in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein could have been avoided had the monster been given a chance to know himself. Many characters in the novel struggle with loneliness. Victor brought loneliness to himself and caused the same to the monster. As such, the profound negative moral eventualities for the story and for the modern society are ultimate results of choosing who does and who doesn’t earn life; which is the practice of playing God.
Bann, Stephen. Frankenstein, Creation, and Monstrosity. London: Reaktion Books, 1994. Print.
Coulter, Susan. “Frankenstein – A Cautionary Tale of Bad Parenting. ” Mary Shelley and
Frankenstein. June 2001. Kim W. Britton. 27 March 2007
Shelley, Mary. Classics Illustrated: Frankenstein & Notes. New York: Acclaim Books, 1997.
Shelley, Mary W, and Malvina G. Vogel. Frankenstein. New York: Baronet Books, 2008. Print.
Zimmerman, Lee. "Frankenstein, Invisibility, and Nameless Dread." American Imago. 60.2
(2003): 135-158. Print.
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