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

Part 2: A Trend Setter for Science-Fiction

“Frankenstein is considered as one of the most subversive attacks on modern science.”

During the 19th century, Shelley published one of the most important works science fiction ever created. To do so, she spent a considerable amount of time on researches for her novel. She based her book on scientific theories, travels and places from several authors. Thus, she had an impressive reading list that included important works at this period as the work of extreme accounts of polar exploration in George Anson’s 1748 Voyage Round the World; the distinction between alchemy and chemistry in Davy’s 1812 Elements of Chemical Philosophy; the new concepts of brain development explored in Lawrence’s physiological lectures; and she encountered the psychology of guilt and abandonment; in John Milton’s 1667 Paradise Lost. All these works were the predecessors that help Shelley to push this genre to a new level. Moreover, she based the places of her book on several actual loci. For example, she inspired the location for the central confrontation between Victor Frankenstein and The Creature with the Mont Blanc, which is an important scene in the novel.
Another important reason Frankenstein is considered as one of the first real work of Sci-Fi is that she was one of the first to be able to create a story that was futuristic at the time compared with the scientific resources that she had. However, she was still able to include several human characteristics that everyone could relate to them. Thus, she had an incredible sense of creativity and created a story that included future issues that can happen in the future even though she did not have actual knowledge about these probable situations. It is quite impressive because Shelley started to write Frankenstein when she was only a teenager, which demonstrates that she had an outstanding mind.
Finally, Shelley’s work has influence society throughout different decades, which makes her one of the most influential Sci-Fi authors of all time. Even nowadays we can see similar patterns of Frankenstein in several novels and movies that has astonishing sales on the chart. We can say that Shelley has set the rules and standards for not only her generation but also for future generations that still nowadays view her work as a pioneer in this genre.

Credits: http://www.bachelorandmaster.com/britishandamericanfiction/frankenstein-as-a-science-fiction.html#.WQuj1dLyuUk
http://knarf.english.upenn.edu/Articles/stable.htm
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v535/n7613/full/535490a.html

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

Letter to Victor Frankenstein

Dear Victor Frankenstein,

We say that with intelligence does not come maturity.

 

You made me,

But you also destroyed me

 

You are my creator,

But who is, between us two, the real monster?

 

You are a great scientist, no doubt,

But I had to make my own route

 

When you put something to life,

You don’t abandon it,

Maybe that is why you lost your wife,

As a father, you must commit

 

At my creation, you left me. You should have think twice,

And maybe I would have been nice

 

 

 

 

The Conception of the Igor character.


Many are familiar with the hunchbacked assistant of Doctor Victor Frankenstein known as Igor, however most people fail to realize that he was not part of the original novel. Indeed, Igor was not even present in the widely successful 1931 film Frankenstein. The original hunchback assistant of the infamous doctor was named Fritz, who unfortunately met his demise at the hands of the Monster after tormenting it with a flaming torch. Sequels of the film, notably Son of Frankenstein, featured a character named Igor, though he was neither hunchbacked nor a lab assistant but rather a blacksmith.

The confusion behind Igor’s role as a hunchbacked assistant may come from the 1953 adaptation of the classic horror film House of Wax. In this movie, the museum curator’s assistant was named Igor, though he was not hunchbacked, but rather deaf and mute.

The similarities between Gothic horror films at the time all took inspiration from the classic Frankenstein movie, and over decades morphed an idea of the original source material which was separate from the novel.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.scifiscripts.com/cartoon/nightmare.txt

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2517033/Daniel-Radcliffe-set-Igor-new-Frankenstein-movie.html

http://screencrush.com/daniel-radcliffe-frankenstein-igor/

https://web.archive.org/web/20090206230249/http://hyel.thedanamark.net/trumpets/dwinfo/dictionary/igors.htm

Victor Frankenstein as a Prometheus Figure

In the Note section in the beginning of Mary Shelly’s book, it mentions that the novel has the subtitle: ‘The Modern Prometheus’. After reading the book, I can definitely agree with the relevance of this subtitle.

Just like Prometheus in Greek mythology, Victor Frankenstein does something no one else dared to do. For Prometheus it was giving the human race the secrets of fire. For Frankenstein it was creating life out of death. They both thought to achieve their purposes for the sake of the development and betterment of humanity and both their creations brought them suffering. This suffering comes from Zeus for Prometheus in the form of being chained to a rock and having his liver eaten by an eagle every day. For Frankenstein, it could be said to be worse as it is his whole project, his own creation, that makes him suffer. His creature destroys him by ruining his family and murdering his friends and family members but the creature also ends up being the death of him.