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Dangers of Acquiring Knowledge Illustrated in Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein

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How Dangerous is the Acquirement of Knowledge?
Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein

Although Mary Shelly did not have a formal education growing up motherless in the early nineteenth century, she wrote one of the greatest novels nonetheless in 1819, Frankenstein. The novel has been the basis for many motion picture movies along with many English class discussions. Within the novel Shelly shares the stories of two men from very different worlds. The reader is introduced to Robert Walton, the main narrator of the story, through letters written to his sister. Walton is on a quest to find the North Pole when his ship and crew members become stuck between sheets of ice. It is here the reader is then introduced to Victor Frankenstein who is lost and frozen in the arctic North. Victor begins to tell his story of how he ended up almost dead in the freezing weather. His story includes one of the main themes within the novel, which is the search of knowledge may lead to a dangerous outcome. The reader may think that this is a theme only for Victor, but one comes to find that both men could be involved in a dangerous adventure.
Knowledge is “the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association” (Merriam-Webster dictionary). Walton’s desire for knowledge is introduced to the reader in the fourth letter written to his sister, “One man’s life or deaths is a small price to pay for the acquirement of knowledge which I sought for the domination I should acquire and transmit over the elemental foes of our race.” (Shelly, 27). The reader can note that Walton believes the journey to the North Pole is the first priority, surpassing the safety of his crew members. “These are my enticements, and they are s...


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...es that knowledge can be dangerous or even deadly, “Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge, and how much happier that man is who believes his town to be the world.” (Shelly 51).























Works Cited

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Maurice Hindle. Frankenstein: or the Modern Prometheus. New York: Penguin, 1992. Print


"knowledge." Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2010.
Merriam-Webster Online. 21 March 2010

"The Concepts Of Knowledge And Happiness In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein - Essays - Ghiphci548." Free Term Papers, Research Papers, Custom Essays, and Book Reports OPPapers.com. Web. 26 Mar. 2010. .



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