October 3, 2011
Frankenstein Critical Essay
The 19th century was a time of enlightenment where science and discovery were at the forefront of man’s being. During this time of enlightenment and exploration however, the ideas of Christianity clashed with man’s newfound affinity for science. Men like Darwin began to question the long held beliefs of creationism, and there was a lot of backlash, especially from the Church. Many people still were in fear of these new discoveries, which questioned and threatened to completely disprove the long held beliefs. In Ray Hammond’s critical essay, he saw the novel as Mary Shelly’s “means of expressing her innermost fears about life and death in a tangible form (Hammond).” Both Shelly and her mother suffered “birthing horros which are echoed in Frankenstein (Hammond).” Shelly’s novel can be seen as a critique on amoral science, or science without forethought. In Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein, the character of Frankenstein shows the danger of playing God and the ethical questions presented when man does not consider the ethical questions his experiments present.
The pursuit of knowledge is at the heart of Frankenstein, as the good doctor attempts to go beyond anything ever attempted and discover the unthinkable: the secret of life. Frankenstein’s experiment is made with good intentions, as he believes his creation will help humanity. "The accomplishment of his toils" is the creature, created from human body parts Frankenstein harvested from graveyards (34). Frankenstein’s motivation for creating this abomination is his desire to play God: "It was the secrets of heaven and earth that [he] desired to learn; and whether it was the outward substance of things or the inner spirit of nature and the mysterious soul of man that occupied [him]" (22). As Frankenstein becomes consumed in his experiment and loses touch with society, he ignores the moral implication this creation could have on...