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Category: 04. 9/26 Frankenstein (Page 1 of 2)

Frankenstein

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley was written right around the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. The world had a strong appetite for scientific progress and overall quality of life was beginning to improve dramatically. It was a time period where technology greatly accelerated and penetrated practically every field of science and revolutionized economies.

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Frankenstein and Scientific Regulation

Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein is an outstanding novel in the science fiction field. Not only for its thrilling content, but for its underlying messages about the dangers of technology. While curiosity is often considered a good thing in science, Victor Frankenstein took his natural curiosity too far when he decided to create life.

This novel shows the need for regulation and moral codes in scientific and technological fields. In the medical field, doctors take an oath to first do no harm. This is an important code that doctors must adhere to. It is a guiding principle that helps them make decisions in their day to day life. Since lives are at stake, it is important that they have rules and guidelines to help them make important decisions. When Frankenstein was making his monster, lives were also at stake because he was creating a new life in an unnatural way. Since he did not have any sort of rules, he left the monster to suffer. He was disgusted by his creation so he ignored him. Due to his treatment, the monster felt scorned and miserable. This forced him to go on a rampage where other people got killed. Obviously, Frankenstein’s actions had consequences on human life, like a doctors actions do. Therefore, when it comes to science’s involvement of human life, scientist should have to take a similar oath to that of doctors.

This has relevance today too. Science is responsible for keeping thousands of humans healthy. Scientists are responsible for important research about new ways to treat and prevent diseases. Scientists can also use their knowledge for not morally sound actions too. For example, they have the ability to make new chemicals and diseases that are able to hurt people. This is evident with the invention of chemical weapons. Since these scientific creations have to ability to hurt and kill people, scientists should be held to the same standards as doctors today.

 

Consequences of Science

I believe Mary Shelley sheds a positive light on science and technology. However, in her novel, she heeds many warnings about the dangers that come with creations in these fields. Victor goes through many lengths to create his monster, many of which are extremely unethical. In the purist form Victor wants to be able to create life and has many good intentions. He has been put through many difficult and traumatizing situations in in his life and wants to be able to control his destiny. In efforts to control his life he creates the monster. To Shelley, the monster represents the consequences, in an extreme case, when you do not ethically think through your actions. Victor does not stop to think if what he is doing is ethical or if  there would be any consequences. This is where Shelley conveys her message of being able to see the “bigger picture”. Victor eventually realizes his mistake when the monster asks him to create a companion. When Victor is midway through creating another monster, he stops, and thinks of the atrocities that both of the monsters can commit. At this point he destroys any progress he has made towards this new project.

Shelley’s message of being able to think through your decisions and think of the consequences are still extremely prevalent to this day. I believe that  Shelley is correct in her views about broadening ones perspective and not only thinking of how actions will affect you, but those around you. In today’s society many scientists are working in various futuristic fields. As intersecting as many of these fields can be, we as a society, must think through the consequences. I think before we introduce any new technology, we must go through the proper precautions to understand exactly what negative effects can arise from our progress. Regardless of how “cool” or “revolutionary” and idea may be, I believe we must take a good portion of time to analyze the consequences that these groundbreaking ideas could create. Every action has a reaction and it is our job to figure out these reactions before we blindly jump into the next scientific phenomena.

Shelley’s warnings in Frankenstein

Novelist Mary Shelley wrote her Frankenstein, which soon came to be one of the most well known 19th century Gothic stories of all time. She conveys various messages through her writing, including ones that can be relevant to contemporary society. One would think that the reader would have to look through a new historicist lens, that is, attempt to understand the book intellectually through its cultural context, as well as a timely one. We can try to interpret this novel through the perspective of life in the early 19th century, however perhaps she had a premonition for the future in regards to the development of science, technology, and human conditions. I believe that we should treat Shelley’s novel as a cautionary tale. It should prompt us to ask ourselves if our science and technology today is or is on track to cross lines to the point of human anguish and demise.

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Frankenstein

In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Victor wanted to do something that had never been done in science or technology during that time. He abuses his pursuit of knowledge when he pushes the limits to unknown territory, all in a quest to create a creature from old body parts. As Victor accomplished his creation, he soon came to realize what a horrible mistake he had made by creating such a monster.  Continue reading

Frankenscience

In Mary Shelley’s book Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein uses his knowledge of technology and science to attempt the unthinkable by creating life. By attempting to create life he is not only attempting the impossible, but is also creating danger. In successfully creating his monster, Victor Frankenstein realized that not all science and technology is beneficial.  Continue reading

Frankenstein’s Statement on STS

While Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is known for being a perfect representation of gothic literature, it also presents a technological crisis that still applies today. Victor Frankenstein represents the forward-thinking nature of humans, and while his scientific discovery was incredibly remarkable, the project was a too large of a scale for society to handle, therefore displaying a scenario where the progression of science can be dangerous if it is too rapid. The monster was also created out of an unnatural phenomenon, which isolates him from society. But this raises a question that we must consider today: should we accept someone created in a lab the same way we treat naturally-born humans? This is a concept that we, as a society, have not yet faced, but it seems as if we are approaching this ethical dilemma.

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Fire and Frankenstein

Frankenstein is at its core a representation of the duality of scientific progress. Mary Shelley’s warning that the pursuit of knowledge loses it’s honor and becomes dangerous when pushed to the extreme manifests itself through the symbolism of fire. The ability of fire to provide warmth from a distance and the converse effect of burning when one gets too close appears multiple times in the book, and even relates to the alternative title of the book, The Modern Prometheus. Continue reading

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