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Frankenstein A Cultural Perspective Essay Research Paper

Frankenstein: A Cultural Perspective Essay, Research Paper

The setting for Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein

plays a very important role on both the

significance and realism of the story. By the end

of the 18th century, smallpox and cholera

epidemics throughout Europe had claimed millions

of lives and brought about a crisis of faith

within both the Catholic and Protestant churches.

The formerly profane practices of medicinal healing

were only beginning to gain acceptance in major

universities as hundreds of cities were put under

quarantine for their diseases and high mortality

rates. Interdisciplinary learning within the

scientific community was unheard of. Had Victor

Frankenstein been alive during this period, his

practices would have been considered blasphemous.

Much more so than Edward Jenner’s research on

smallpox during the same time, which would

eventually save millions of lives in 1796.

Frankenstein’s intentions were good, but even

during this modern age of genetic engineering and

cloning, the story of his creation remains

entirely evil.

Contemporary thought has allowed for

tremendous growth in genetic engineering in recent

years; the evolution of science from the

analytical engine to the modern PC has occurred

thousands of times faster than the evolution of

our own species, from ape to human. New

medications are discovered daily. However, had

Mary Shelly’s proposition of “playing god” been a

reality in the late 18th century, and had Victor

Frankenstein been able to take this dramatic

shortcut in the slow process of evolution by

creating life from death, the crisis between the

church and science would have been decidedly

against science. Such were the sentiments of

Victor’s headmaster at Ingolstadt, as well as the

rest of the European scientific community.

Frankenstein’s intentions were good. He had

wanted to rid the world of genetic defects and

bacterial disease by creating the perfect man. He

would do so by applying electricity to the polar

regions of a body, which he had constructed from

pieces of freshly executed villains, while

submerging them in an elemental pool of life.

However, he was so driven towards his goal that he

never considered the consequences of his actions.

He was in many ways acting like the benefactor of

Jurassic Park, hastily creating a life form

without consideration of possible detriments.

When Frankenstein had created his monster, he

didn’t know what to do with it and immediately

wished it dead, but ironically he had made it so

strong that it would not die.

Initially, the monster was not filled with

the hate and rage that he would exhibit later in

the movie. It was in many ways a helpless baby,

only wanting someone to love him and teach him.

However, Victor Frankenstein was so afraid of

him–as were the townspeople–that he did not get

this love or education. The monster was forced to

defend himself from the start, killing the

inhabitants of the town who assaulted him on

account of his liness. Thus, he perceived

himself to be a public enemy, and isolation became

his nature.

Victor, counting on his helplessness from

isolation, assumed the monster would die as he

returned home to his sister (and future wife),

Elizabeth, in Geneva. It was not until he got

there that he could feel the monster’s presence.

His creation had the mind of his master, which

made the task of hunting down Victor easy. As the

monster made his way from Ingolstadt to Geneva,

he learned about human nature, elevating his

desire for companionship and his rage against

Victor even more.

When he did reach Geneva, Victor’s creation

announced his presence by murdering William,

Victor’s brother. This initiated the mutual

feeling of hate they had for each other. When

they did finally meet, the monster explained that

Victor had given him nothing, and if he wished him

out of his life Victor would have to give him a

wife or face the consequences. Victor considered

this, but refused. Though he had made the right

decision morally, Victor’s refusal would bring

about the monster’s rage against his wife on their

wedding night, as well as his father and his best

friend, Henry. The monster killed them all.

Victor,crushed by his losses, would hunt the

monster to the ends of the earth thereafter, until

they both destroyed themselves in the desolation

of the Arctic Sea.

Victor Frankenstein’s actions were doomed

from the start. He attempted to make himself God’s

equal, and it is only natural that God would

destroy him, his creation, and his incestuous

relationship with his sister by the hand of his

own creation. While Victor had the capability to

ignore the declarations of blasphemy issued to him

by his headmaster at Ingolstadt, he could not

ignore the wrath of God, working through his

monster. He paid for his sins by the hand of his

own creation.

This story tells us that our creativity must

be limited to the creation of life, or our life

will be limited to our existence on earth.

Defining the conscienceless action is one of the

most baffling, enigmatic, daily rituals of the

Christian faith. Like the Constitution of the

United States, we are forced to accept a loose

interpretation of biblical doctrines to both

define and justify our everyday policy for living.

So what rationalization can be made for the

actions of Victor Frankenstein? None, there is no

ethical way to defend him. Like human cloning,

which has become a moot topic among both genetic

engineers and society in general, intention will

always remain insignificant when in contention

with religion; and if society will refuse to

uphold this ideology, God will.

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