Destructive Power of Knowledge
The thirst for knowledge can produce destructive effects on humans and objects that are almost human. In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein constantly seeks more knowledge than he already has. Victor's pursuit fosters his scientific success of a human creation, yet at the same time his success leads to his own destruction. Victor's creation experiences the same desire for knowledge. Through her first literary work, Mary Shelley focuses on man's desire for knowledge and the possible negative consequences that may occur when this quest becomes an obsession.
Victor Frankenstein expresses an intense interest in gaining knowledge from the beginning of his life. One subject that Victor Frankenstein becomes interested in at a young age is natural philosophy.
'When I was thirteen years of age we all went on a party of pleasure to the baths near Thonon.... In this house I chanced to find a volume of the works of Cornelius Agrippa.'(38)
Even though his father warns him to stay away from those kinds of books, Victor Frankenstein pursues his thirst for more knowledge about natural philosophy. When he returns home, the works of Agrippa wet his appetite for knowledge on philosophy. Reading Agrippa, introduces Victor to other old world philosophers, such as Paracelsus and Albertus Magnus. Yet even when he spends all of his youth reading, he "... always came from [his] studies discontented and unsatisfied"(39). His yearning for more knowledge also sparks his interests in other areas of science.
Another incident that stimulates his quest for knowledge is a lightening storm, this event creates new and greater interests for him: electricity and galvanism. After a natural philosopher explains to Victor his theories on electricity and galvanism, Victor yearns to know more about them. "All that he [the natural philosopher] said threw greatly into...