Mary Shelley 's Frankenstein And The Creature 's Pursuit Of Dangerous Knowledge

Mary Shelley 's Frankenstein And The Creature 's Pursuit Of Dangerous Knowledge

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Albert Einstein once said, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So is a lot.” Einstein believes that there is a point where the acquisition of knowledge becomes dangerous for humans. Mary Shelley extensively explores the effect dangerous knowledge has on the characters in her book Frankenstein. Throughout the book, Frankenstein and the creature are corrupted by knowledge that changes their outlooks on life. In both cases, the information that corrupts the characters was not meant for them to be discovered. When Frankenstein is discovered in the Arctic by a sailor named Walton, he is taken on board of Walton’s boat. Frankenstein then tells Walton about his quest for information, and it changes Walton’s perspective on the pursuit of knowledge. It makes Walton question how much knowledge humans need, and what risks are worth taking to obtain the knowledge. Mary Shelley uses Victor Frankenstein’s and the creature’s pursuit of dangerous knowledge in Frankenstein to question the boundaries of human enlightenment.
During Mary Shelley’s life in the early 1800s, galvanism was a popular area of study among some prominent scientists. Galvanism is when a muscle is contracted by the application of electricity (Rauch 1). However, during Mary Shelley’s lifetime galvanism was seen as a possible method to restore life to recently deceased humans (Rauch 1). Mary Shelley was inspired to write Frankenstein after a night of storytelling with Lord Byron and Mary Godwin. Although Frankenstein may seem like an innocent horror story, it is actually an embodiment of Mary Shelley’s thoughts and beliefs. Mary Shelley has gone on record as not being opposed to a slow emancipation of slaves. The Foreign Minister of Britain compared Mary Shelley’s...


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...ers lives were negatively affected in multiple ways. Frankenstein’s life is forever changed when he discovers he has the ability to restore animation to formerly lifeless objects. His discoveries cause nothing but grief and turmoil for everybody associated with his project. The creature begins life as an innocent being that is completely ignorant of the evil nature of humans. Unfortunately, his opinion of the humans he inhabits Earth with is corrupted by the acquisition of knowledge about mankind’s wrongdoings. The havoc that is inflicted because of this is a lesson from Shelley on the boundaries of human intelligence. Frankenstein is an example of how one man’s pursuit of dangerous knowledge can cause more harm than good. Ultimately, Mary Shelly uses Frankenstein and the creature’s pursuit of knowledge to show the boundaries of what mortals should be able to know.

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