The Pursuit Of Knowledge In Frankenstein, Daedalus And Icarus And Prometheus

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“Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world," (Shelley 169). In Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, a lonesome scientist named Victor Frankenstein spends years of his life committed to creating life from death. Desiring to make a relevant discovery, his dedication to his studies alienates him from those he cares about the most – neglecting his relationships for his obsessive pursuit of knowledge. This insatiable quest ends up destroying his creation, those he cares for the most, and eventually himself. The edited Daedalus and Icarus by Geraldine McCaughrean, The Reading Monster by Patrick Brantlinger in the back of the novel, and Prometheus…show more content…
The Monster enters the world unaware of what he is or what his purpose is, curious about humans and his interaction with them. His initial encounters with humans are not positive, so he flees into the woods and eventually comes across a cabin inhabited by a small family. As he observes them, his wish to be accepted by humans and have a connection with someone becomes stronger, as he “[yearns] to be known and loved by these amiable creatures” (Shelley 92). To prepare himself before he attempts to meet them, he learns their language through reading and manic observation of the family. Shelley is examining a different pursuit of knowledge: one that is still innocent in intent but obsessive in nature. This is also examined in The Reading Monster, which draws a parallel between the Monster and Frankenstein. Just like Frankenstein let his ambitions “run amok through the overreaching ambition and obsession of the mad scientist,” the Monster did the same, but with humans (Brantlinger 471). The Monster seeks to be accepted by a society of beings that are nothing like him, and will never welcome him, but still strives to do so. Upon mastering his rhetoric, he confronts the family, but is chased away due to his hideous appearance. Unfortunately, it is human nature to judge those initially based on appearance, so the Monster never gets an opportunity to prove his good intentions. In discovering his monstrous appearance, he sees the monstrosity that exists amongst humans as well: that of rejection, cruelty and fear of the unknown. In response, he claims his vengeance and hatred toward mankind (Brantlinger 471). This sparks his violence toward Frankenstein and all of the people in his life that he cares about. Once he starts his purge of revenge, he turns into exactly what he has hated all along: a hateful and evil being. Shelley is showing that trying to step into a foreign area of knowledge,
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