Within William Shakespeare’s colloquially named “Scottish Play,” the titular character arranges for the murder of Banquo, his fellow-soldier and best friend and in a work of Oscar Wilde’s. Dorian Gray stabs his friend for possessing too much knowledge. In neither case does the main character directly suffer; rather, a character close to the main character dies. Why does such a thing occur? According to Thomas Foster, “The plot needs something to happen in order for it to move forward, so someone must be sacrificed.” He then explains that that sacrificed character is often not the main character (84). Mary Shelley relied on that principle while writing Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus. Victor Frankenstein’s recklessness and desire for veneration while conducting his experiments wrought the destruction of his family, friends, and dearest love, thus illustrating the harm in rapid, uncontrolled experimentation and growth.
Throughout media, idealistic young scientists undertake unprecedented experiments which serve to ruin the lives of myriad people, including the hapless undertaker. One such scientist by the name of Victor Frankenstein stitches together and animates a corpse. After the birth of his son, Frankenstein runs away in horror, internally remarking that “the beauty of the dream vanished” and “breathless horror and disgust” overcame him (Shelley 35). His dream was to create something wonderful; to imbue a living creature with beauty and kindness and love; rather, his abandonment of the creature reflects a careless attitude towards any consequences (35). The Creature later ventures to Geneva wherein he encounters William, Frankenstein’s younger brother. Upon learning the child’s identity, the s...
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...ssue of his own accord. Following his discovery of her corpse, Frankenstein proclaims that the Creature had stolen from him “every hope of future happiness” (146). His splendid cousin and dearest love was gone; why, then, should he continue living? Had he educated and cared for the Creature at the onset, invocation of his relations’ spirits and a subsequent chase would be unnecessary.
While vying for renown, Victor Frankenstein destroyed his own life by causing the deaths of those closest to him and subsequently serves as a cautionary tale against uncontrolled scientific endeavours. Each death was easily preventable; he needed only to take possession and control over his creature for the bloodshed to cease. Considerations of the human propensity for rapid expansion are relevant especially in environmental concerns, wherein growth threatens to exceed natural bounds.
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