Abandoning Morals and Ethics: Oryx and Crake, Elizabeth Bathory

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“A maid accidentally pulled the countess’ hair while combing it; Countess Elizabeth Bathory instinctively slapped the girl on the ear, but so hard she drew blood. The servant girl’s blood spurted onto Elizabeth’s hands...the countess noticed that as the blood dried, her own skin seemed to take the whiteness and the youthful quality of the young girl’s skin.” (Rodrigues 15).

Elizabeth Bathory is known by many different names; ‘The Bloody Lady of Čachtice’, ‘The Blood Countess’, ‘Countess Dracula’, and not without reason. In the 16th century this murderess became obsessed with achieving mastery over nature; the countess had forsaken her humanity by drinking the blood of virgins for vitality and bleeding them dry to bathe in it for her skin to be clear of imperfections and signs of aging. Often the vain become delusioned that beauty and youth preserves the body forever, when in fact, life can just as easily be ripped away young than it is when old. With torture and a side of cannibalism, Countess Bathory was not the poster-woman for mental health, but her fear of death was what drove her to go to such extremes. Humans will go to endless lengths to maintain the illusion of mastery over nature and control over life and death. Throughout Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood explores human nature and puts forth that humans are driven by knowledge and fear of their own mortality. She argues that humans seek to play a divine role to control their own fate and in the process, sacrificing morals and ethics to quell that fear.

Bathory abandoned her morals and humanity in search of her own human advancement; five centuries later much has changed, but a lack of ethics is still prominent— notably in the field of science. In Oryx and Crak...

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...vels, "my principal design was to inform you, and not to amuse you,". The book is designed for the reader to understand that the negative consequences in the search for ultimate power and control which far outweigh the gains. Immortality and divine control may comfort the instinctual and primal fear of death, but it will do far greater harm than good. By trying to defy nature, nature will inevitably regain control; everything is temporary and nothing was meant to outlast time and space itself.

Works Cited

Atwood, Margaret. Oryx and Crake: A Novel. New York: Nan A. Talese, 2003. Print.

Das Neves Rodrigues, Aldo César. The Worst People In History. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Google Books. Google, 2012. Web. 15 Feb. 2014.

Smith, Wesley J. "The Trouble with Transhumanism." The Center for Bioethics and Culture RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.

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