Essay about Ethical Uncertainties of Science in Frankestein by Mary Shelley

Essay about Ethical Uncertainties of Science in Frankestein by Mary Shelley

Length: 776 words (2.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley tests the motives and ethical uncertainties of the science in her time period. This is a consideration that has become more and more pertinent to our time, when we see modern scientists are venturing into what were previously unimaginable territories of science and nature, through the use of things like human cloning and genetic engineering. Through careful assessment, we can see how the novel illustrates both the potential dangers of these scientific advancements and the conflict between that and creationism.
Prior to the publishing of Frankenstein, Shelley had become interested in the advancements in science and theories about the future of science. In the introduction to the novel M.K. Joseph states that "Shelley wrote in the infancy of modern science, when its enormous possibilities were just beginning to be seen" (Shelley, xii). Considering Shelley was a Romantic, developments of the post-Enlightenment, such as experiments with electricity (galvanism), and other up and coming concepts of evolution were of great concern to her. The latest of scientific studies of their time offered Shelley, her husband and those they associated with, plenty of topics for discussion: "Many and long were the conversations between Byron and Shelley . . . various philosophical doctrines were discussed, and among others the principle of life, and whether there was any probability of its ever being discovered and communicated," wrote Shelley in her 1831 introduction.
It is apparent that in her story Mary Shelley chose to convey a symbolic meaning concerning the scientific pursuits of her era, but the question remains: what was her intended message? In her 1818 preface, Shelley writes, "I have thus endeavored to p...


... middle of paper ...


...py and excellent natures would owe their being to me" (Shelley, 54). This verifies both his lust for greatness and the power of his ego. In a document of literary critism, scholar Lunsford argues that it was surely Frankenstein’s “quest for social standing that leads to his downfall” (Lunsford).
Lastly, Shelley suggests a powerful and dangerous objective of science: the quest for immortality. "I thought," he explains, "that if I could bestow animation upon lifeless matter, I might in process of time . . . renew life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption." While Shelley's ideas are conveyed through Frankenstein's words and actions, Kass' observation is more blatant: "Indeed, prolongation of healthy and vigorous life-and, ultimately, a victory over mortality-is perhaps the central goal and meaning of the modern scientific project" (Kass, 300).



Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Frankestein by Mary Shelley Essay

- During the romanticism era several novels where published but Mary Shelley published her most famous novel Frankenstein. Her novel was very mysterious due to the fact that it related a lot with her personal life and her struggles with in that time she was writing Frankenstein. Before she began to write her story she was inspired by Lord Byron. Which one night her and a several group of friends who got together one night decided to tell scary stories and see who had the most scary story and would win....   [tags: victor, romanticism era]

Better Essays
849 words (2.4 pages)

Power Invested in all: Frankestein by Mary Shelley Essay

- God is often thought of as the only creator but that is proven to not always be the case. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Ozymandias, and John Donne’s Death Be Not Proud are three pieces of literature in which capability of formation and the strength to overcome is invested not only in God, but in the hands of characters. The power is invested into them by what they find they are able to do. Having control over people, science, or even faith enables characters to “play God”. This is specifically seen is Percy Shelley’s writing Ozymandias....   [tags: god, Ozymandia, victor]

Better Essays
609 words (1.7 pages)

Comparing and Contrasting Chapters 5 and 11-16 in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

- Mary Shelley wrote Frankestein when she was 18, in 1816 but it was published in 1818. Frankenstein is about a man, Victor Frankenstein, who is obsessed with science and who learns how to create life and creates a being in the likeness of man. The being is referred to as ‘the creation’ or just Frankenstein. Mary Shelley was married to Percy Bysshe Shelley who was a Romantic Poet and a great philosopher. In this essay I’ll be comparing and contrasting chapters 5 and 11 – 16 and exploring the language and structure and I will comment on Mary Shelley’s themes....   [tags: Frankenstein Essays]

Better Essays
1520 words (4.3 pages)

Frankenstein, By Mary Shelley Essay

- Frankenstein Often times an author’s background shapes their writing thus instilling a sense of curiosity in the audience. In her work, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley exposes the grotesque aspects of life as it resonates with her past. Considered a Gothic novel, and one of the first Science Fictions, Frankenstein also contains several components of the Romantic Movement. The Romantic Movement was a period in British history when people felt a deep connection to nature, science, and their emotions....   [tags: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, Science fiction]

Better Essays
1717 words (4.9 pages)

Isolation Of Frankenstein By Mary Shelley Essay

- ... Frankenstein’s health was severely affected by his isolation, and he became depressed because he had no one there to support him or supervise him throughout the entire experiment. However, once Henry Clerval arrived, Frankenstein’s health began to improve once again. Frankenstein even admitted that his, “...gloom disappeared...became as cheerful as before...” (Shelley 23). By allowing Clerval to be a part of his life again, Frankenstein went to begin himself again. By following Frankenstein to Ingolstadt, Clerval was able to uplift Frankenstein’s spirits and make him forget about his depression....   [tags: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley]

Better Essays
1191 words (3.4 pages)

Mary Shelley 's ' Frankenstein ' Essay

- Sarah Barkan Essay One English 1B In the book “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelly, people are judged by their appearances on a daily basis. There is always an assumption of a person’s character or integrity based off of how they look. Unfortunately, these preconceived notions are more often wrong than they are right. It is no wonder that the very popular saying, “never judge a book by its cover” holds a strong truth because there is always much more to a person that what the outward appearance leads us to believe....   [tags: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley]

Better Essays
1105 words (3.2 pages)

Frankenstein, By Mary Shelley Essay

- ... He viewed the creature as an abomination and he was horrified of his own creation. The creature was abandoned by his own creator and thus he had to learn to survive on his own. Upon leaving Frankenstein’s apartment, the creature became overwhelmed with feelings of sadness and pain. As the sun rose, the creature began to scavenge for food and shelter in a nearby village. Because the creature did not resemble a human, in any shape or form, others quickly judged him based solely on his appearance....   [tags: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley]

Better Essays
1026 words (2.9 pages)

The Tree of Knowledge in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Essays

- The Tree of Knowledge in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley warns that with the advent of science, natural philosophical questioning is not only futile, but dangerous. In attempting to discover the mysteries of life, Frankenstein assumes that he can act as God. He disrupts the natural order, and chaos ensues. Mary Shelley goes to great lengths to emphasize the beauty and order of life when man engages in ìnaturalî pursuits. She idealizes Frankenstein's home life: ìI feel exquisite pleasure in dwelling on the recollections of childhood, before misfortune had tainted my mindî (38)....   [tags: Frankenstein Mary Shelley Religion Science Essays]

Better Essays
1397 words (4 pages)

Essay on Sympathy in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

- Sympathy in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Mary Shelley was born in 1797. She had a difficult life with many family upsets’, miscarriages and suffered personal depression; she died aged 53. Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein firstly as a short ghost story but it was published as a novel in 1816. Frankenstein is a Gothic novel and it deals with two genres, Gothicism and science fiction. Gothicism is part of the Romantic Movement that started in the late eighteenth century. The Romantic Movement is based on freedom of thought and expression and the belief of living in an age of new beginnings and high possibilities....   [tags: Mary Shelley Frankenstein Essays]

Better Essays
3360 words (9.6 pages)

Essay on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

- Mary Shelley's Frankenstein After reading the book Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and then seeing several adaptations done for the silver screen, there are changes that the films make to the book. The most evident change that jumps out at me is the portrayal of Dr. Victor Frankenstein. The common missing element in all of the film versions of the classic novel is the way they treat the character of Victor. The films all tend to downplay what a “monster” Victor is and instead stress how much of a monster the Creature is....   [tags: Mary Shelley Frankenstein Essays]

Better Essays
1244 words (3.6 pages)