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Frankenstein declares that in a "scientific pursuit there is continual food for discovery and wonder." Is this the impression with which Shelley's varied presentation of "scientific pursuit" in the novel leaves you?

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Introduction

Frankenstein declares that in a "scientific pursuit there is continual food for discovery and wonder." Is this the impression with which Shelley's varied presentation of "scientific pursuit" in the novel leaves you? Helen Williams Mary Shelley does indeed give a varied manifestation of "scientific pursuit." It is presented to us in the form of narrative technique, and the relation of the tales of Victor Frankenstein - the scientist, Robert Walton the explorer and the Daemon - a product of "scientific pursuit." Of course each character has his own opinion on the subject and thus the reader is left to draw from the novel his or her own judgment. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is written in several different narrative frames, the first being Captain Robert Walton's letters to his sister in England, whilst he is on a voyage of discovery to the North Pole. He relates the sightings of the creature and the discovery of Victor Frankenstein in his letters. At the end of the final letter, Walton introduces Victor's tale, and we are then assured that the main narrator throughout the novel will be Walton, and that the tale of Victor (and later the tale of the Daemon) will be related through him. This theme of lecturing happens to be ongoing throughout the novel. ...read more.

Middle

Once again the selfishness of the pursuit of glory is paramount, succeeding the search for knowledge. Because Walton has overcome a minor problem on his expedition (the leakage) he becomes overconfident and believes that he can overcome any obstacles of nature: ""Why not still proceed over the untamed yet obedient element?" Victor Frankenstein has too much ambition for his own good: "Wealth was an inferior object, but what glory would attend the discovery..." The isolation that he experiences is very much self-inflicted. Frankenstein was self-taught in subjects that only he had interest in: the principles of life. The major path that he followed was influenced by this solitary learning of an unconventional topic. Fastidiously studying a topic left untouched by all before him, his ignorant ambition conquers all morals as he persists searching for recognition and immortality - as a result of man's quest for knowledge, the ultimate isolation of a being is created. It is extremely irresponsible, and proves that man may not be strong enough to deal with the "continual food for discovery and wonder." "Now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart. ...read more.

Conclusion

I believe that it is in the account of the Daemon's solitude that Shelley portrays the true meaning of Frankenstein's statement: that in a "scientific pursuit there is continual food for discovery and wonder." The Creature is innocent, and does not wish to discover anything more than is to be expected of a 'normal' being. He wishes to pursue the knowledge of emotional communication that will provide him with friends to love and who will love him. He does not long for science that will improve his situation in society or make him glorious and famous, unlike Walton and Frankenstein. It is ironic that both Walton and Frankenstein fail in their final ambitions. Walton does not make it to the North Pole, and Frankenstein does not destroy the Daemon. As a whole, the novel left me with the impression that 'with great knowledge comes great responsibility,' and that it is doubtful that there is anyone who can succeed who has ideal morals and is selfless. It is a frightening prospect that "scientific pursuit" could get into the wrong hands. It is also remarkable that the Daemon is the last character in the novel to speak - his is the view that we are left with - the lasting impression. 1 ...read more.

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