How far do you think Mary Shelly.doc

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How far do you think Mary Shelly’s ‘Frankenstein’ can be regarded as a work of science fiction?

Science Fiction is defined as a ‘genre of fiction set in some imaginary time or place.’ In a 1960 survey of the field, New Maps of Hell, British novelist  wrote that ‘science fiction deals with events that could not happen in the world we know but are presented on the basis of some innovation in science or technology’.  

        The Romantic period in which ‘Frankenstein’ was composed was a time of tremendous paradigm shifts in science. What used to be referred to as ‘natural science’ became ‘biology’. ‘Natural science’ was the order in which plants and animals were classified in what was known as the ‘Linnaean’ system according to genus and species. On the other hand, biology is the bios- study of life, and attempts to discover the logos-idea of life. The fundamental question then became ‘what is the essence of life’. These developments in science was all of crucial significance to Shelley in composing ‘Frankenstein’.

        The notion that a corpse might be re-animated using galvanic electricity was a theory that had recently been developed as a result of the recent developments in science, the experiment which Victor had succeeded, had in fact been attempted in reality. This complies with the conditions stipulated by Kingsley Amis, as the experiment carried out inspired ‘Frankenstein’. The strategies carried out by an Italian scientist Aldini, are synonymous to the strategic thinking of Victor Frankenstein, however where as Aldini failed in making the ultimate breakthrough, Frankenstein succeeds.

        The intention behind both experiments are the same, however whilst Aldini, however consumed by his devotion to the experiment is aware of the morality aspect, Victor is not. Driven by his compulsive obsession to be successful in the experiment, ‘so deeply was I engrossed in my occupation’ for ‘victory’, ‘wealth was an inferior object; but what glory would attend the discovery’, leads to his development of the ‘God complex’, ‘a new species would owe their being to me’ .

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        ‘Natural Philosophy is the genius that regulated my fate’, it was by ‘chance’ that Victor Frankenstein is first intrigued by the realms of science ‘and the hidden laws of nature’. It was both fact and the mythical regarded by Victors father to be ‘sad trash’ nevertheless it was these ‘wonderful factors which soon changed this feeling into enthusiasm’. What endeavoured to ‘throw’ Victor in to the longing to penetrate the secrets of nature’ was the storm he witnessed when he was of fifteen years of age, it was then that he learned of the existence of electricity and replicated Franklins ...

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