The Power and Danger of Science

Since his childhood, Frankenstein has had a fascination for science and once he attends the university he becomes fascinated specifically with the decay of the human body. However, he does not show very much emotion nor does he recognize the emotion that comes with decay and death. His lack of emotion is first evident when his mother dies and he states: “My mother was dead, but we had still duties which we ought to perform; we must continue our course with the rest, and learn to think ourselves fortunate, whilst one remains whom the spoiler has not seized.” (72) Surprisingly he has such a calm reaction and now Frankenstein obsesses over the idea of creating a human being and ultimately stopping human decay and death. Because of his lack of emotion and his inability to look at death from more than jsut a scientific point of view, he does not recognize the dangerous implications of his experiment. As he states: “I was engrossed in my occupation” (82) In which Frankenstein was so focused on his work that he was unaware of the outside world, including his family. Even once the monster was created he was not satisfied: “…the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust felled my heart.” (84)

There are several ironies in the fact that Frankenstein created one single life that resulted in the death of several people and almost his own. Frankenstein lived in fear when the monster was first created and he recognizes this when saying, “I was lifeless” as he suffered from an illness that almost took his life.  Also he realized that his longing for knowledge and discovery led to the death of his brothers and now Justine. As they awaited Justine’s trial, Frankenstein states, “It was to be decided, whether the result of my curiosity and lawless devices would cause the death” of several people. (103)

It’s ironic that when life was given, life was also taken away. The author purposely created such irony to illustrate several things. One that we must not try to force what is not natural because it can cause disaster. Frankenstein tried to defy nature and create his own human being give life to an inanimate object, which instead resulted in a destructive monster. He created life in a very unconventional and unnatural way. The author is also illustrating the power and danger of science. That yes, with science we have the ability to do powerful things such as create life, make chemicals and a host of several other amazing things, yet there are negatives. Science can be used for the greater good, but when people like Frankenstein become greedy in their need for prestige and knowledge, the use of science may ultimately harm society.

2 comments
  1. Frankenstein defied nature and did indeed find out how bad things can get. The monster he created was one that he could not control and suffered the consequences. When people are greedy, the most likely result is not positive.

  2. I like how you point out the irony of this whole plot. A creation that was meant to be for good purpose turns out to be bad. A single creation causes destruction. The same creation that was meant to be bring joy to Victor brings fear instead. There are so many more ironic situations. I agree with your points concerning what the author was trying to say. Things definitely do not always turn out the way people plan them and because people mostly do not plan for these different outcomes, it almost always ends in problems and difficulty for them. Usually ironic situations teach us to see the faults of people or systems so that we can fix and avoid them in reality. And in the novel, it is evident that we should not try to cheat or defy nature. Good observation of the irony.

Comments are closed.