Mary Shelleys Frankenstein and the Scientific Revolution essay

mary shelley / frankenstein / Enlightenment / Scientific Revolution

Essay Topic:

A unique view on Mary Shelleys Frankenstein as the product of the Scientific Revolution.

Essay Questions:

What influence did the Scientific Revolution have on Mary Shelleys book Frankenstein? How does the character of Viktor Frankenstein resemble the values of Enlightenment? What is the main message Frankenstein brings to the reader?

Thesis Statement:

One of the brightest examples is the period of Enlightenment or the Scientific Revolution. Mary Shelleys Frankenstein is a product of this revolution. It is a result of the revolution that changed the standard perception of the world and the possibilities of a human being.


Mary Shelleys Frankenstein and the Scientific Revolution essay


Introduction. Science has always played an outstandingly important role in every aspect of human life. Literature is not an exception. This regularity especially concerns the periods of revolution in the scientific world. This blasts truly had the strongest influence on literature trends of corresponding time frames. One of the brightest examples is the period of Enlightenment or the Scientific Revolution. Mary Shelleys Frankenstein is a product of this revolution. It is a result of the revolution that changed the standard perception of the world and the possibilities of a human being.

The seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries brought a lot of changes into the baggage of knowledge of European people. It was the time when the world started to be considered to function like a machine and science finally found a shape in different separate scientific trends. It was an epistemological transformation that changed everything around people. These global changes influenced the literature heritage greatly. Worshiping machines destroyed the remainder of the value of people and their feelings in literature. This process caused a lot of protests and rejection with the authors respecting humanism and each person as an individual. Mary Shelley is one of those authors and her work Frankenstein is a loud scream against putting science on top of the human values. She warns people of becoming obsessed with science and of forgetting about the beauty, love and moral values, which were ignored back then. Frankenstein is a book not about a struggle against a creature but a tragedy of a scientist, personifying science itself, who reached the goal of his work and life and realized that breathless horror and disgust filled his heart. Victor Frankenstein creates a human being and cannot take the responsibility for what he has done. Being so much intelligent in science and ambitions made him forget about his responsibility for the creature. The values of the Enlightenment welcome the scientific experiments and their results, not caring whether the creation will find a place in the world around it. The ethical aspect of the creation of a human being is forgotten. The life a human being becomes nothing in comparison to the possible scientific discovery leading from a scientific progress to a complete moral regress.

What the novel criticizes the most is the discrepancy between the value of human life and the value of a scientific discovery. Everything that science cares for is the metaphysical, or, in its highest sense, the physical secrets of the world. The secrets of the human soul disappear behind the sounds of the machines. It becomes the time of the kingdom of empirical investigation. Shelly criticizes the thought that science makes the God out of a man. Viktor Frankenstein brings a life to the world just to satisfy his ambitions, just to prove that he can do it. His words reveal the nonentity that Mary Shelley sees in him: new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me.The question that Mary Shelley worries the most about is how far a scientist should pursue his thirst for knowledge, how far should he lead his experiments and whether they are worth of the possible outcome and damage they can bring. The Scientific Revolution did not care about this issues, it just went on and on like an avalanche that no one can stop and prevent. The collision of science and human values in the book emphasizes the meaning of ethics and morality in the life of each scientist. The novel highly criticizes the possible outcomes of the uncontrolled scientific progress and is a call of duty of each scientist to think carefully before creating something and to analyze if the world and he himself truly need this creation.

Conclusion. The literature work Frankenstein can be considered to be on of the best reflections of the world perception back in the period of the Scientific Revolution. Thought the novel was written in 1817-its conflict is still vital in the contemporary world. Being irresponsible for what one creates may cause a lot of sufferings and such criterions, as the ethical side of the invention should never be neglected. No one could express Mary Shelleys attitude to the scientific issue better than her thoughts revealed through the words of Viktor Frankenstein: Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge, and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow.


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