Essay on Playing God in Shelley's Frankenstein

Essay on Playing God in Shelley's Frankenstein

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For as long as science has existed to satisfy man's appetite for knowledge and exploration, there have been people with the belief that science is none other than man's attempt to play God. The 19th century was a time of enlightenment where philosophical thought began and man's concern to better himself in a psychological form developed.

During this time of enlightenment and exploration however, the standards of Christianity and ethical thought challenged science and its moral reasoning. Despite the large progress in society, the church's vast power led the people to fear science. However the church's fear was not just for the salvation of their church, but that science would disprove the proof of God and take God's place in society. For this to happen would bring chaos to society and give little hope to people. The thought of a life without God is daunting to most, and would create an uneasiness to life and an immense fear of death. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein through Victor Frankenstein's perilous journey shows the destruction behind man's thirst for scientific knowledge and the ethical reasons as to why man should not play God.

The pursuit of knowledge is at the heart of Frankenstein, as Victor attempts to go beyond the acceptable human limits and access the secret of life. Victor's experiment created in the name of science holds the key to which Victor believes is his future success. "The accomplishment of his toils" is a monstrous male figure created from parts of other corpses which he brings to life through his work (Frankenstein, 34). Victor's motivation for success and scientific exploration drive him to play God. "It was the secrets of heaven and earth that [he] desired to learn; and whether it was the ...


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...y through her tale of Frankenstein gives reasoning as to why man should not play God. Through the creation and neglect of the monster, Victor has created a deadly force. This ruthless pursuit of knowledge proves dangerous, as Victor's act of creation eventually results in the destruction of everyone dear to him, and his obsessive hatred of the monster drives him to his death. He sought the knowledge of life scientifically, and although he achieved it, he totally missed the true meaning of life and happiness. Instead of simply living his life, he probed too deeply into its inner workings. Unlike his monster, he had the chance to live a happy life. He was well off, he had food, shelter, and most importantly people who loved him. Instead, he through that all away. If it were not for his scientific pursuit, Victor would have been poised to live a happy, fulfilling life.

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