The Nature Vs. Nurture In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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The nature vs. nurture argument is the scientific, cultural, and philosophical debate concerning whether human behaviors are caused predominantly by nature or nurture. Nature is described in this debate as genetic or innate behaviors, while nurture is often defined as environment and experiences. Although it is the consensus that an individual is a heterogeneous product of both his genetics and environment, one of the two occasionally plays a larger role in shaping the behaviors and actions of the individual, making it the complicated argument it is. Additionally, depending on how innately ‘good or bad’ the behavioral determinant is, it can either lead to their success or demise. Mary Shelly exemplifies the complicated interactions between…show more content…
nurture debate in her novel, Frankenstein. While Victor Frankenstein and the creature he creates have differences in their natural personalities, the nurture they received was wholly opposite. Victor’s nurture is described as very loving, affectionate and supportive. Victor states that his father “had devoted himself to the education of his children” from a young age (Shelley 19). Victor also adds that “no creature could have more tender parents than [his]” (Shelley 19). He describes his father’s careful attitude when stating, “[He] had taken the greatest precautions that [his] mind should be impressed with supernatural horrors,” such as sciences (Shelley 33). If nurture were the predominating factor, it would seem obvious that he would grow to be a loving, careful man. Victor’s nature, however, seems to contradict the nurture he had received. Victor’s nature drove him to desire an esteemed place in society; leading to a greediness for power, like the power that came before him. Victor describes his family as “one of the most distinguished of that republic” and uses words such as “honour” and “integrity” to describe his bloodline (Shelley 18). Powerful words are used to describe Victor’s overwhelming need for power and control. Moreover, Victor has a natural curiosity about sciences; “I had worked…for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body… I had desired it with ardor that far exceeded moderation,”…show more content…
nurture debate is complicated by a multitude of elements. It is nearly impossible to come to a definitive conclusion when looking at several instances; such as, Victor Frankenstein and Creature in Frankenstein, Equiano in The interesting narrative of Olaudah Equiano, and Babo in Benito Cereno. Each individual is a product of both their nature and nurture; with some being greater influenced by one and it being unclear for others. Understandably, scientists and philosophers are extremely interesting in trying to explain why people are the way they are; scientists sequence whole genomes to find a “bad gene”, psychologists spend decades following individuals to investigate their upbringing and future behaviors and philosophers endlessly try to make sense of the incomprehensible. Frustratingly, with every step forward, we take five steps back from finding the answer to the questions: Is our behaviors driven by our genetic composition or the environment we are surrounded

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