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Marry Shelly's novel, "Frankenstein" and Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "The Birthmark" both relate to recent cloning efforts.

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Introduction

Oswald Chambers once said that, "We are in danger of forgetting that we cannot do what God does, and that God will not do what we can do" (http://home.att.net/~quotesabout/god.html). In a society which is constantly making progress, human beings do not understand the repercussions of new scientific discoveries and often cross the delicate line of being human and playing God. Science gives us security as it is considered to be the cure to all evil. What eludes us is that in the act of eradicating this 'evil', we inadvertently bring into being a newer, more powerful evil. Victor Frankenstein, the focal character in Mary Shelly's novel "Frankenstein" and Aylmer, the antagonistic character in Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "The Birthmark" both become so devoted in their pursuits of creation, that they forget their human limitations ending up with chaos and destruction. In the story, "The Birthmark", Aylmer tells his newly wed wife that he is 'shocked' by the birthmark on her face, as it is the "visible mark of earthly imperfection" (Hawthorne 1131). His thoughts and words hurt his wife greatly, which drives her to a point where she would rather die than live on another day with the hideous birthmark on her face. ...read more.

Middle

He saw the birthmark as a symbol of imperfection, sorrow, decay and death; all things ugly. He is eager to remove the birthmark and tells Georgiana, his humble wife that he is "convinced of the perfect practicability of it's removal" (Hawthorne 1132). Aylmer with his previous experiences at taming nature sees no reason why he should not further beautify his nearly perfect wife upon whom nature has placed its ugly stamp. Frankenstein's creation 'The monster' has also been judged at a superficial level from the very beginning. Following the birth of his creation, he instantly gives the monster a feeling of being on the outside of society. Victor responds to his creation by saying, "I beheld the wretch--the miserable monster whom I had created" (Shelley 61). It is his initial rejection which leads the monster to plead with Frankenstein: "You, my creator, abhor me; what hope can I gather from your fellow-creatures, who owe me nothing? they spurn and hate me" (Shelley 94). The creature struggles with the thought of being unwanted because of his grotesque looks. The 'monster' was a benevolent creature, but as he was shunned by people for his external appearance, he turned miserable and vengeful. ...read more.

Conclusion

If only Frankenstein could bestow affection on the monster, then maybe the creature would no longer be a fiend. Throughout history, moral voices have always interjected science's great mistakes. Cloning is one such mistake and has received a lot of flak from religious groups, governments, political parties and Congress. When Richard Seed, a prominent Chicago scientist announced his plans to clone a human baby, he received a lot of criticism from all sections of society. Bishop Elio Sgreccia, vice president of the Pontifical Academy for Life and director of the Bioethics Institute at Rome's Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, said human cloning "represents a dominion by man over man and includes a kind of desire to replace God's plans in an aritrary and complete way, creating man in man's image and likeness" (Sgreccia 8). Marry Shelly's novel, "Frankenstein" and Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "The Birthmark" both relate to recent cloning efforts. Shelly's main character, Victor Frankenstein and Hawthorne's central character, Aylmer, are both scientists par excellence and they wish to conquer nature with their superior knowledge. Similarly, cloning efforts have proved to be successful and could eventually take over nature's creative role. However, even as Aylmer, Frankenstein and the renegade scientist succeed at going against nature, they ultimately have no control over their creations as nature will take back what is rightfully hers. ...read more.

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