Frankenstein Vs. Jurassic Park Essay, Research Paper
Frankenstein vs. Jurassic Park The novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley seems like a modern work though it was written over 180 years ago. It addresses the modern concern of cloning and artificial life from the viewpoint of Mary Shelley, a Romantic writer working in the Gothic style. In the novel Shelley takes the viewpoint that the application of the knowledge of cloning has consequences that can bring evil and destruction into the world. Shelly addresses this issue in a Romantic sense by having the characters use the power of emotion and intuition over logic. This theme is exemplified by Frankenstein s main character Victor Frankenstein creating his artificial lifeform, the Monster. In the novel, Victor addresses his intense desire and passion to create artificial life by saying, I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body. I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation. This shows his emotion determined his actions, but after he created the monster his dream vanished and breathless horror and disgust filled his heart. Victor came to this realization when the Monster turned out to be evil and a menace to society by killing several people. In fact, Victor had such distaste for his monster that he could only satisfy his vengeance with the death of the Monster. If Victor would have controlled his emotions and made a decision logically, the Monster would not have been created and that evil would not have been brought into the world. A traditional Gothic quality exemplified in Frankenstein is that the main protagonist is a solitary character who has an egocentric, self-absorbed nature. The main character, Victor, is without a doubt a loner. While he is living away from his boyhood home in Switzerland, Victor makes few friends and concentrates solely on his work. This causes him to become oblivious to the outside world and only focus on his personal issues and problems. Even when Victor is aware that he can assist others he chooses not to do so. This is seen at Justine Moritz s trial where Victor is aware of her innocence in the death of William Frankenstein, but instead of Victor accepting the blame where it is due and clearing Justine s name, he rushed out of the court without aiding Justine. Victor is also more self-indulgent than to aid his own wife. Even though Victor received plenty warning that the Monster would be with him on his wedding-night, he did not stay with his wife, Elizabeth, but instead Victor sends her to their room. It is in that room where Elizabeth is murdered while Victor is in search of his enemy, completely disregarding the fact that the Monster is also Elizabeth s enemy. Shelley also uses Gothic style by choosing to have the novel take place in dark, mysterious physical settings. One of the most noticeable Gothic settings is Victor s laboratory. First of all, not many people have been to an actual laboratory, thus making it mysterious and Gothic in itself. But, in addition to the laboratory s mysterious qualities, Shelley has given it a dark feeling as well. The laboratory was a solitary chamber, or rather a cell, at the top of the house, and separated from all the other apartments by a gallery and staircase. Also, in addition to a laboratory, Victor has a dissection room and a slaughterhouse, which enhance the dark qualities. Similarly, Shelley chose the Arctic as the setting for the chase between the Monster and Victor. This setting exemplifies Gothic style again because it is a foreign area to most people and also the setting is dismal and disheartening. In the actual location where the Monster s evil wears down Victor and kills him, the characters are surrounded by mountains of ice which give a discouraging impression and feeling.
Another major Gothic characteristic evident in Frankenstein is the use of modern science and technology. At the time Shelley wrote the novel, electricity was cutting edge and was considered astonishing to many people. In the novel, Victor first encounters this new concept at the age of fifteen when he sees a tree destroyed by a lightening bolt. This experience caused Victor to want to further learn about the idea of electricity. Victor does just that and becomes quite advanced with his knowledge of this new energy. But, without fully understanding its potential because of its modernity, Victor uses it to infuse a spark of being into the Monster and turn evil loose on the world. The modernity of Shelley s Frankenstein is proved in that there are many parallels between the novel and the contemporary film Jurassic Park. Both fictional stories have common Romantic and Gothic qualities relating to Mary Shelley s idea that the application of the knowledge of cloning has consequences that can bring evil and destruction into the world. First of all, in both stories the creators, Victor Frankenstein in Frankenstein and John Hammond in Jurassic Park, act on a whim and allow their actions to be illogical. As stated earlier, Victor created the Monster because he has an intense passion to do so. He did this without assessing the consequences which turned out to be that the Monster was evil and caused destruction and death in the world. This same situation takes place in Jurassic Park when John Hammond mass-produces dinosaurs for his theme park for two superficial reasons. Most of all, Hammond created the dinosaurs to make money for the theme park. Secondly, he created them just because he had the technology to do so. This idea is even address during the film when Ian Malcolm, a mathematician sent to survey the park, confronts Hammond by saying, Genetic power is the most awesome force the world has ever seen, yet you wield it like a kid who has found his dad s gun. Before you knew what you had, you patented it, packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunch box, and now you are selling it. Another similarity between the novel and film is that in both cases the artificial life created wound up being evil and wreaking havoc in the world. In Frankenstein, the Monster is entirely evil and contemptuous towards Victor specifically. The Monster even states, to him [Victor], I have sworn eternal revenge. Because of this evil spirit the Monster directly kills William Frankenstein, Henry Clerval, and Elizabeth Lavenza Frankenstein. The Monster s destructive essence also indirectly causes the death of Justine Moritz. The Monster also circuitously kills Victor due to his perpetual tormenting of Victor. The artificial life in Jurassic Park is also inherently destructive. The dinosaurs injure Ian Malcolm and directly kill Robert Muldoon, Dennis Nedry, and Hammond s lawyer among others. Their existence also causes emotional pain for many people in the world. Some of these people include the workers at the park as well as Hammond s grandchildren and Hammond himself. This is shown when the survivors of the weekend leave the park in helicopters and they discuss their displeasure and fear of the park. Though Mary Shelley s Frankenstein was written 184 years ago, it still has modern aspects and characteristics. Her standpoint that the application of the knowledge of cloning has consequences that can bring evil and destruction into the world is still an important issue today. This is indicated in the parallels that exist between the novel and the contemporary film Jurassic Park. The common aspects that are evident between the novel and the film validate the modernity of the statement and indicate that Mary Shelley was an influential Romantic writer who embraced the Gothic style.