Comparing Frankenstein, Origin of the Species and Decent of Man Essay

Comparing Frankenstein, Origin of the Species and Decent of Man Essay

Length: 1402 words (4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Comparing Frankenstein, Origin of the Species and Decent of Man  


I will demonstrate in this paper how Mary Shelley's Frankenstein confirms, and at the same time contradicts Darwin's ideas presented in "The Origin of the Species" and "The Decent of Man."

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is at once, confirming, and contradictory of Charles Darwin's scientific discoveries and views on science, nature and the relation of the individual to society. Mary Shelley confirms Darwin's ideas through Frankenstein, when Dr. Frankenstein and Darwin both reject God as the creator of human life. Although this is a major theme in both works, it is the only similar idea shared between both Darwin and Frankenstein. Darwin's understanding of nature is comparable to that of Mary Shelley; although how the individual relates to society is gravely different between the two works. One of Darwin's admiring disciples, Andrew Carnegie, the author of "The Gospel of Wealth," shows us how contradictory these ideas are in relation to each other. His ideas of inheritance and the conduct of man are in disagreement with the actions of Shelley's Dr. Frankenstein.

Throughout Darwin's works the idea of the rejection of God as creator of man prevails. He alludes to prehistoric marine Ascidian larvae, as the predecessors to the later evolved human beings we are today. This would give credit for the creation of man to the process of evolution, not to the handiwork of a Supreme Being. "Species had not been independently created, but had descended, like varieties, from other species"(Appleman, 36). Darwin is showing here what conclusions he came upon about the "Origin of the Species", in which he used science to prove his theories. He is replacing God with ideas...


... middle of paper ...


...heir works, giving the power of creation to evolution and mankind. They also both present similar views on nature, seeing it as a tool for scientific exploration and not as a wonder of beauty as it is often seen today. Using the work of Andrew Carnegie to show Darwinian ideas about the individual in society, we can see that these ideas strongly contradict those which Shelley presents in Frankenstein. Overall I believe that Mary Shelley's Frankenstein exemplifies many ideas expressed in the works of Darwin, enough that they can be considered enriching of each other in terms of comparison.

Works Cited:

Darwin, Charles. The Origin of Species. New York: Gramercy Books, 1979.

Darwin, Charles. The Descent Of Man. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1998.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Ed. D.L. Macdonald and Kathleen Scherf. Orchard Park, NY: Broadview Press, 1999.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Comparing Obsession in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Aldous Huxley’s After Many A Summer Dies the

- Comparing Obsession in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Aldous Huxley’s After Many A Summer Dies the Swan Authors leave fingerprints on the works they write. Underneath the story, hidden amidst the words, lies a worldview, a concept of humanity, a message. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is an entertaining story meant to give the reader goose bumps late at night, but the telling of the story also reveals Shelley’s concept about the basic fabric of human nature. In the same way Aldous Huxley in After Many A Summer Dies the Swan weaves a tale that is part story and part commentary on how humans interact and think and self- destruct....   [tags: Comparison Compare Contrast Essays]

Strong Essays
1641 words (4.7 pages)

Essay about The Origin of The Species by Charles Darwin

- Darwinism is a theory developed by Charles Darwin with the help of many others. It states that natural selection is the most common cause of evolution. All species of organisms arise and grow through the natural selection of inherited variations that help increase the individual's ability to survive and reproduce in its environment. 1735 Carolus Linnaeus: He believed that God had created the world in a divine order from the simplest creatures up to human beings. He said God created struggle and competition to maintain the balance of nature....   [tags: evolution, species, organisms, environment]

Strong Essays
984 words (2.8 pages)

On the Origin of Species Essay examples

- In his On the Origin of Species, written in 1859, Charles Darwin clearly explained the gradual progression toward the speciation of organisms with his five main principles: variation, inheritance, competition, selection, and propagation. Darwin hesitated to publish his findings because he understood that his findings were based on the animal kingdom and on an evolutionary process that had to have spanned millennia. He specifically did not think that his discoveries were applicable to the evolution of human society....   [tags: social darwinism, evolution]

Strong Essays
1861 words (5.3 pages)

Essay The Origin of Species

- In 1859, a time when literal interpretation of the Bible was common practice, a book that could potentially debase society’s understanding of what was fact was published and it summarized a theory that humans have slowly evolved from a primitive form, commonly called the Theory of Evolution.(Kennedy Pg.572) The book titled On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life was written by an English naturalist and geologist, Charles Darwin, and it overcame the scientific rejection that earlier similar theories had faced....   [tags: Theory of Evolution, Charles Darwin]

Strong Essays
1238 words (3.5 pages)

Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species Essay

- Charles Darwin in his book, On the Origin of Species, presents us with a theory of natural selection. This theory is his attempt at an explanation on how the world and its' species came to be the way that we know them now. Darwin writes on how through a process of millions of years, through the effects of man and the effects of nature, species have had an ongoing trial and error experiment. It is through these trials that the natural world has developed beneficial anomalies that at times seem too great to be the work of chance....   [tags: Evolution Charles Darwin Species Essays]

Strong Essays
2156 words (6.2 pages)

On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin Essay

- On November 24th, 1859, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life by Charles Darwin (renamed On the Origin of Species 13 years later) was published in London, England. In it, Charles Darwin specified his observations and gave his insight on what he thought caused evolution. He called it "natural selection." Before this, nearly everyone believed that a single God created every living organism that none of them had changed a bit since then....   [tags: natural selection, preservation]

Strong Essays
1158 words (3.3 pages)

The Origin Of Species By Natural Selection Essay

- In this excerpt from On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Darwin uses general observations about the current and historical distribution of animals in conjunction with his theory of common ancestry and descent with modification to explain, broadly, the patterns of geographical distribution. He also presents evidence that life radiated from a single point of origin. There are several main observations that Darwin depends on in his analysis. First, that the distribution of life on earth can’t be predicted based on abiotic factors....   [tags: Charles Darwin, Evolution]

Strong Essays
1017 words (2.9 pages)

The Evidence of Evolution: On the Origin of Species Essay

- Evolution is defined as the process by which different kinds of living organisms are thought to have developed and diversified from earlier formed during the history of the Earth. Evolution is the reason we have so many different species. The basis of evolution comes from survival of the fittest. Those who do survive create an offspring even more fit for survival. The process of natural selection supports the idea of survival of the fittest and plays a key role in evolution. For species to evolve, there must be diversity present....   [tags: natural selection, on the tree of life, survival]

Strong Essays
866 words (2.5 pages)

Origin Of Species Essay example

- Considered one of the most significant, influential, and controversial publications in history, this book, I felt would be interesting to read and learn from. Although his content in this particular book is the subject of much controversy, Darwin's proffesional contributions and accomplishments will remain well known and respected. Therefore, I selected The Origin of Species believing that it would prove to be a stimulating and challenging reading experience. This famous book discusses in-depth many important aspects of the study of life....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
391 words (1.1 pages)

Frankestein Essay

- Once landing on shore, evening has fallen. Light is transitory, and the wind is rising violently. The narrator becomes exceedingly anxious, and resolves that either the creature or he will die tonight. Elizabeth observes his agitation and questions him; Victor gives her a vague answer, saying that the night is dreadful. Believing that he can spare Elizabeth a grisly combat scene, he bids her to retire before him, that he might gain knowledge of the creature's whereabouts. He walks up and down, waiting....   [tags: Elizabeth Frankestein]

Free Essays
400 words (1.1 pages)