Science and Nature

Throughout the novel, Victor constantly seeks domination of human nature. In creating a being like himself he proves to the world that the natural state of life and death is broken. Victor’s immense fascination with the vast opportunities that science offers turns him obsessed with the idea of manipulating life. He closes himself to the world and devotes the next 2 years of his life to his new project.

Bringing the dead back to life is something that goes clearly against the natural flow of nature. Because of this, nature goes against Victor and punishes him greatly through his own creation. The monster kills many people close to Victor. He went against the natural flow of nature and now he is to pay the price. By creating the dead he broke the link between science and nature and his comfort in life was the cost.

Victor at first loves the look of nature, the mountains, the lakes and the beauty that it offers him. He feels refreshed and respects its beauty. But  Nature had no more to give to Victor because of what he had done and soon he became ill and frightened by the monsters threats. Victor could no longer go anywhere without the feeling of being watched and possibly getting killed. Thus, Victor does not see nature as a place of peace and relaxation and by the end of the novel, he becomes so consumed by hatred for his creation that his only purpose is to hunt down the monster, no longer depending on nature nor seeking any peace from it.

The book demonstrates the dangers of science and what it can achieve if we are not careful. Though the book does more than just show us the dangers of science, it shows us the consequences that we might encounter when we are not careful in the advancement of our technology. It makes us reflect on our decisions and what can come from it.

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The love between Victor and Elizabeth

Victor has always said that he is in love with Elizabeth. Since his childhood he has known her. However, when he leaves to the University of Ingolstadt and makes the monster, he cuts out his whole family including Elizabeth. What to make of this? He loses contact with Elizabeth for so long that she writes to him asking if he has found another love.

Frankenstein proves on many occasions of his self-absorbed way of thinking and how obsessed he is with his ideas of creating a being. He proves this when he finally marries Elizabeth and knows the monster has told him that he will show up and kill him. Thoughtlessly, he leaves Elizabeth alone while he checks out the downstairs of their honeymoon lodge. This shows that he is not a very clever lover and that he did not completely take Elizabeth’s well being into consideration. In the end, it was her who suffered and Victor still was alive. Victor lacked of commitment in Elizabeth and she died because of him.

Implications of Human Nature on Shelley’s Frankenstein

Mary Shelley lived during a period of political transformation and at a time when she also witnessed some of the most powerful monarchies of Europe. Those monarchies fought each other and sent soldiers to war. While the war was happening on the streets of Paris, philosophers Thomas Hobbes and John Locke described the nature of humankind. All the atrocities of war inspired them to define our nature. According to their ideologies, humans are born selfish and have an intuitive ability and capacity of being evil. They also believed, alongside Mary Shelley’s mother, that the evil side of mankind was the result of socialization.

Does Mary Shelley agree to this? Not exactly.

Through her novel, Shelley offers a chance to develop and explore these controversial claims about human nature. Even though her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, believed in those claims, Mary Shelley argues that the evils of humankind are not innate traits. In fact, as Victor Frankenstein’s creature was raised by society in the novel, the evil and the desire of revenge are explained and described by Shelley as being learned, and not innate and intuitive habits.

“I am malicious because I am miserable. Am I not shunned and hated by all mankind?” (Page 104) – The Creature.

Late in the novel, the creature explains to his creator that all the kind and good gestures of his were returned with beatings, gunshots, and rejection of the people he tried to be kind with. He also explains that nobody likes him, that they reject and hate him. The creature then states that all the physical and mental wounds that covers his body and mind are important factors that led to his malice and rage.

With that, Mary Shelley seems to argue that the humans do not have innate traits of revenge and evil. She also argues for a society in which all humans, and even Frankenstein’s creation, have basic rights and are treated equally. That is a society that she would have wanted in her time, a society that was not even close to reach that point and she used Frankenstein to explain it.

 

Source:

https://my.vanderbilt.edu/robot/2015/09/the-implications-of-shellys-frankenstein-on-human-nature-and-government-2/

Picture credit: ww.iaacblog.com

Is De Lacey Nice To the Creature Just Because He’s Blind?

De Lacey originated from France, he lives in a cottage with his son and daughter. He’s a kind aged being. P.144 “descended from a good family in France” , he’s the only person we read who treats the monster kindly. But is this only because he’s blind?

His vision isn’t clouded by prejudice of the creature’s ugliness. He doesn’t see the outside of the creature only, his true self. Compared to every other character, he encounters with. Even animals are seen keeping their distance from him. As an example, when he saves the girl from drowning he is “rewarded” with a bullet shot at him.

p.175 “But that cannot be; the human senses are insurmountable barriers to our union.” This is saying that the Creature can never be accepted for the sole reason of his looks. Are people so shallow as to instantly reject and judge him straight away without even considering his story? The creature never asked to be created.

 

 

Part 1: Evolution of Science-Fiction

Science-Fiction has a lot of history. The first antecedents from this genre were found out by Historians from the 2nd century. In this era, they were using speculation and storytelling to understand the world and creating a dividing line between the mythological and historical tends. Thus, they were trying to make the difference between actual situations that happened and others that were only based on beliefs and had not enough possible facts to happen.
After a while, Science-Fiction continued to evolve after the 2nd century, but its bigger development occurred in the 19th century with the arrival of the first science fictions novels. This development occurred mostly because of the arrival of some significant technological advances such as electricity, telegraph and so on, in modern societies, which ultimately change science. An excellent example of the use of these new technologies was in Frankenstein. Moreover, the genre continued to evolve and became what we are used to seeing nowadays, which is mostly works that demonstrate potential innovation and new technologies.
Furthermore, the genre nowadays mostly consists of speculative fiction, which is a narrative based on supernatural and futuristic elements. It also deals with original concepts such as futuristic science, technology and extra-terrestrial existence that are most of them based on science and theory, instead of only creative thoughts.
Finally, the genre became so popular and so diversify that Sci-Fi needed to include sub-genre. Thus, it was divided into two significant sub-genres: Hard Science Fiction and Soft Fiction. Their primary differences are that hard science fiction usually includes attention to detail in the natural sciences like physics, astrophysics, and chemistry. On the other hand, soft science fiction is based on social sciences such as psychology and economics.

Here’s the link for PART 2:
Credits: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_fiction

http://www.sfcenter.ku.edu/SF-Defined.htm

The first true work of Sci-Fi

The outstanding piece of work that Mary Shelley created with her novel Frankenstein is still a significant influence on several writings and movies that we can see in the industry. It is particularly the case in the genre of Sci-fi where we can see some great similitudes with Shelley’s work. However, even though the genre called Science-Fiction became immensely popularized throughout the last years and had become an important part of the novel and film industry, we often forget where its origin came from and who are the pioneer that influenced this genre. Thus, I would like to dedicate an article divided into two parts that will first start by explaining the characteristics and origins of Sci-Fi and in the second part talked about how Frankenstein was the first true work of this genre.

 Part 1: Evolution of Science-Fiction

Part 2: A Trend Setter for Science-Fiction

Frankenstein Automata: How Shelley’s Monster serves as a warning for Artificial Intelligence.

As technology develops far beyond our wildest dreams, one must take into consideration the ethics of certain advancements. Artificial intelligence has been on the minds of every software and computer engineer for the better part of 40 years, and has been pondered by philosophers, scientists, and science-fiction authors for well over 200 years.

Assuming humanity is indeed capable of “playing God” and creating the spark of life, the ethics of the situation must be closely analysed and taken with extreme caution. The Frankenstein Monster serves as Artificial Intelligence in the flesh, as it surpasses humanity in nearly every aspect, and given the opportunity, would annihilate the human race due to our fearful nature.

According the article “Rage against the AI machine”, humanity must automatically integrate AI robots into society to ensure their cooperation as well as our survival. This however only functions under the assumption that artificial intelligence functions as well as harbors the same emotions as humans, much like the Frankenstein Monster.

Source & Further Reading:

http://www.paconsulting.com/insights/rage-against-the-ai-machine/

SparkNotes’ Summary Video

Hello guys! Today I give you the best summary video on Mary Shelley’s novel that I have been able to find on the Internet.

The SparkNotes team has done an impressing work producing this summary video. The video covers the important parts of the novel while offering a quick synopsis, analysis, and discussions about the major themes and characters of the novel.

I hope you guys enjoy the video and may it help you understand the novel even more!

Credit: SparkNotes, channel: VideoSparkNotes

Who is at fault?

Who is more at fault: Victor Frankenstein or the Monster?

This is a question that the story leaves the reader with. On one side, we can say that Victor Frankenstein is irresponsible for what he did. Also, he had no real reason to create a monster, except out of scientific curiosity. Also, Victor is careless with his family, which they basically all die throughout the story.

On the other hand, we can say that the monster clearly overreacts throughout the story. Of course, some bad happen to him, but it is certainly not a reason to kill. The monster is therefore more at fault on this point.

How Norse Mythology Influenced the Frankenstein Novel

While writing Frankenstein, Shelley drew inspiration (intentionally or not) from the vast repertoire of Norse Mythology. There are many parallels between the characters found within the novel, notably Frankenstein and his Monster. It could be argued that Frankenstein’s Monster is an adaptation of Loki, the Norse Jötunn god of Mischief, and Frankenstein is an adaptation of Thor, the Norse god of Thunder. Through extensive analysis, it is apparent that the climax of the story is very similar to the events leading to the Ragnarok, the Norse Apocalypse, all the way down to symbolic representations.

Firstly, it is important to understand the general context of the Ragnarok. In this case, a specific part of it is observed: when Thor ventures into Niflheim, an icebound wasteland, home to all the evil creatures conspiring towards the end of the world. Symbolically, Frankenstein resembles Thor as he is associated with lightning, adventurousness (through scientific exploits and breaking boundaries). The Monster, represents Loki, as he is quite similar to a Jötunn (Ice Giants) in terms of physique. His actions also resemble Loki as they are meant to cause chaos and lead to the demise of the Hero (Frankenstein).

Upon reaching the arctic wasteland in pursuit of the Monster, Frankenstein’s means of transportation (Sled-Dogs) fails him. This could be interpreted as a representation of Fenrir, Loki’s wolf son, being the first obstacle in his quest. Frankenstein then finds shelter on an expedition ship, thus conquering the sea, which could be interpreted as Jörmungandr (the Sea-Serpent). Unfortunately, as Jörmungandr’s poison kills Thor after the battle, the frostbite and illness claim Frankenstein.

The Monster, now in his solitude, is punished for his crimes in a similar fashion as Loki. The Norse Trickster God was bound by chains for eternity, where poison is dripped onto his head. His wife is there to collect the poison in a bowl before it damages Loki, but when she leaves to empty said bowl, Loki is left to writhe in pain as the poison drips onto him. Similarly, the Monster is left to writhe in agony as the absence of his wife renders him unable to mitigate the emotional pain caused by eternal loneliness.
Sources:

https://ojs.unbc.ca/index.php/joe/article/download/234/307

http://norse-mythology.org/gods-and-creatures/the-aesir-gods-and-goddesses/loki/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fenrir

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%B6rmungandr

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loki