The Similarities And Differences Between Frankenstein, Aylmer, And Dr. Phillips Essay, Research Paper
The Similarities and Differences Between
Frankenstein, Aylmer, and Dr. Phillips
Authors Mary Shelly, Nathaniel Hawthorne and John Steinbeck have all created scientists in at least one piece of their work. Mary Shelly’s character Frankenstein, from her novel Frankenstein, is a man who is trying to create life from death. Aylmer, the main character in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “The Birthmark,” is a scientist who is trying to rid his wife of a birthmark on her almost perfect complexion. In John Steinbeck’s “The Snake” the main character Dr. Phillips is attempting to mate starfish until a woman interrupts his work to buy a snake. While written in different times by very different authors who have varying knowledge in science, the three characters Frankenstein, Aylmer, and Dr. Phillips have many similarities and differences.
Frankenstein and Aylmer seem to follow the same mentality but differ in approach and action. Both scientists exhibit qualities that show they are perfectionists; yet at the same time show evidence that they are anything but. Frankenstein, who is trying to create life from death, carelessly places dissimilar and decayed body parts together to create one horrid being which is anything but perfect. Aylmer, who is extremely careful in attempting to remove a birthmark from his wife’s cheek, has no clue what he is doing exactly. Aylmer and Frankenstein were both obsessed with their experiments and both lost their experiments in the end. Frankenstein destroyed his experiment spiritually and then it left him and was never seen again. Aylmer’s wife died while he tried to rid her from her birthmark thus destroying his experiment physically and she too was gone forever. When Frankenstein realized his experiment had failed, he was hurt by it, but not Aylmer. When his wife died he did not appear to be hurt but rather happy that he did do away with the birthmark. Both scientists seem crazy and have a God-Complex. Frankenstein states, “A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me (pg 155).” They both attempt to undo God’s work. Aylmer and Frankenstein worked relentlessly on their experiments, completely disregarded the outside world and allowing no one in while they worked. To Aylmer, his experiment was everything to him, it meant more to him than his wife and therefore he had the ability to control her for the sake of his experiment. Frankenstein spent his whole life trying to run away from his experiment, it controlled him. Neither of them had any forethought and because of that, their subjects suffered. Aylmer and Frankenstein exhibit similar qualities and at the same time show how very different they are.
John Steinbeck’s character Dr. Phillips is a very different from the other two scientists but he still shares some similar qualities. Like Frankenstein, Dr. Phillips shows how careless he is with his work by missing a series of tests with mating starfish because he was busy watching the woman watch her snake eat a rat in his laboratory. There was a woman in Dr. Phillips life too, just like in Aylmer’s. But in Dr. Phillips’s case the woman controlled him and she was more important to him than his experiment. He thought she was repulsive at first, but once she leaves for good, he wants her back, which is a quality that Frankenstein exhibits too. Unlike the other two scientists, Dr. Phillips ego was in the realm of reality.
The different time each story was written and the authors varying knowledge in science can account for the differences in the way each scientist is portrayed. Both Frankenstein and “The Birthmark” were published in the early nineteenth century, whereas “The Snake” was published about one hundred years later. Society and the views of science changed quite a bit between Hawthorne and Shelly’s time to Steinbeck’s time. For example, In Steinbeck’s “The Snake,” Dr. Phillips is controlled by a woman, but in Hawthorne’s time it was unacceptable for a woman to control a man, so in his story Aylmer controls his wife. Although both Shelly and Hawthorne wrote about scientists, neither of them have any background knowledge in science. By the way Steinbeck describes the procedure Dr. Phillips must endure to complete his experiment, it is clear that Steinbeck has a great deal of knowledge about science and scientists.
Although their backgrounds in science vary greatly Mary Shelly, Nathaniel Hawthorne and John Steinbeck have all created scientists in at least one piece of their work. Shelly’s character Frankenstein, Hawthorne’s character Aylmer, and Steinbeck’s character Dr. Phillips are all scientists carrying out an experiment dealing with life and all three of their experiments fail. Even though the stories are very different, the theme is the same, science does not always work out. Created in different times by different authors with varying knowledge in science, the three scientists share many qualities as well as exemplify many differences