Themes in Frankenstein

Authors Avatar by cherrycharms (student)

From our reading so far I can identify many themes within the novel which I will now explore and analyse in this essay. Possibly the most powerful theme shown in Volume One is the dangerous pursuit of knowledge and the possible moral consequences of ambition. From the day we first meet Victor we learn that he is an obvious over-reacher and will attempt to surge beyond any regular human limits to access the secret of life. Through Victor and his ruthless ambition Shelley makes it clear that she believes knowledge such as the type of which Victor is enthralled in can lead to no good and that it soon becomes destructive when uncontrolled. Although, not only Victor is affected by this theme, Walton too succumbs to his uncontrollable passion, saying this though; it is Victor whose obsession is bizarrely intense.

“I collected bones from charnel-houses and disturbed, with profane fingers, the tremendous secrets of the human frame. In a solitary chamber, or rather cell, at the top of the house, and separated from all the other apartments by a gallery and staircase, I kept my workshop of filthy creation: my eyeballs were starting from their sockets in attending to the details of my employment,” it is during these lines where his obsession grows immensely. In fact Victor is so deeply engrossed in the process of making his creation that he fails to consider what his responsibilities will be once it is given life, the reason for the monsters suffering of isolation later in the book.

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Victor’s “eager desire” to find the “secrets of nature” and Walton’s “ardent” passion to explore “a part of the world never before visited” snatch them away from their loved ones and into isolation. Mary Shelley does not hold the position that all scientific discoveries are bad in fact she encourages the quest for knowledge however she does highlight to us that sometimes having and wishing for too much knowledge can lead to deadly consequences. She causes the reader to ask themselves, what price is too high for fulfilling the thirst for knowledge and are there indeed something’s that should be ...

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