The Futility of Aspiration Exposed in Frankenstein

Essay by mrjatinchopraJunior High, 7th gradeF, December 2003

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Within the dreary gloom and depression of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley tells a fantastical tale of what happens when science and greed are combined. Through the eyes and journal of an eager seafarer named Walton, Shelley relates to us the tragic life of one Doctor Victor Frankenstein, a man reduced to crumbles by his own misguided lust for knowledge. It seems this Frankenstein had started on a path to scientific discovery when he came in contact with the writings of men like Agrippas and Paracelsus. These were men who by today's standards disgraced science with their mysticism and their general disregard for understanding the world in favor of instead expanding it with new creations. Frankenstein studied these men's works on his own, without proper instruction on the ethics of their experiments and creations. When he arrived at the university, he was introduced to modern science, and what he learned there when combined with what he had taught himself proved to bring about his own downfall.

His unquenched thirst for knowledge led him to investigate the nature of life, and after sacrificing himself in his studies, he happened upon the ability to grant life. Frankenstein had the power of God. Anxious to put his new skills to practical application, he created a man--or perhaps a monster. The doctor had made his creation to physical perfection, so much so in fact, that as soon as the monster awoke Frankenstein started down a path of fear that he would never escape. Terrified by what he had done, Frankenstein ran away, a behavior that he would often repeat and eternally regret. The rest of his life was consumed by the pursuit of destroying this monster, to reverse the plague that would attack his family until nothing remained of it (except Ernest). But as...