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Victor Frankenstein Thirst for Knowledge Essay

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At the beginning of life, humans are exposed to the outside world with an open and blank mind. A newborn has no knowledge, no concerns or worries and it only seeks to fulfill its main necessities. Surrounded by the outside world one lives through many experiences where knowledge is accepted. Encountering other human beings reflects upon one's perception and brings about ones self decisions. Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, written in 1816, demonstrates through characters that an obsessive desire for more knowledge may ruin ones life.
The desire of extensive knowledge is first seen through Victor Frankenstein. At the beginning of the novel, a young boy named Victor grows up in Geneva “deeply smitten with the thirst for knowledge” (20). The way Victor sees it, the world is a secret which he yearns to discover. His fascination in the secrets of the world drive him to study natural philosophy and chemistry at the University of Ingolstadt. Victor begins to further study discoveries of ancient scientists and is not satisfied with their knowledge. He says, “..I at once gave up my former occupations, set down natural history and all its progeny as a deformed and abortive creation, and entertained the greatest disdain for a would-be science which could never even step within the threshold of real knowledge” (24). Victor seeks to build upon previous discoveries and form new ones that go beyond the perimeter of mankind. Shelley shows how Victor’s obsession with knowledge of the unknown takes over his life and does not let anything or anyone stop him. Victor’s quest to overlook the natural limits of human knowledge brings about the creation of a monster that destroys his life and kills him. The monster he constructs does not reflect his o...


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...sion with trying to discover the impossible ruined his life and does not want to experience the troubles Victor had.
Mary Shelley brings about both the positive and negative aspects of knowledge through her characters in Frankenstein. The use of knowledge usually has many benefits, but here Shelley illustrates how seeking knowledge beyond its limits takes away from the natural pleasures of known knowledge. She suggests that knowledge without mortality and uncontrolled passions will lead to destruction. Victor and his monster experience this destruction following their desires and losing self control. Walton, on the other hand, becomes of aware of the consequences and is able to turn back before it’s too late. Shelley also suggests that without enjoying the natural pleasures of life, pursuing knowledge is limited, but how can knowledge be limited if it is infinite?



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