Type: Definition Essays
Sample donated: Margie Alvarado
Last updated: August 14, 2019
Frankenstein is the story of a man whose ambition conducts him to seek forsupernatural powers. In his attempt to reach a God-like level, he actsbasically for his own interest and wants to see his name glorified by humanity.Power and Glory—two of much-discussed human ambitions—are his primary aims. Toachieve this goal, he makes an extensive use of knowledge and science. Thewhole scientific knowledge he acquires through his research and his experimentswill lead him to desolation, loneliness and will result in a complete failure. Thestory begins with Captain Robert Walton hanging out in St. Petersburg, Russia.He’s waiting around for a ride to the port of Archangel, where he’s going tosail off to the North Pole.
When the boat gets stuck in impassible ice hundredsof miles from land and nothing else to do, he writes letters to his sisterElizabeth back in England. Soon, his despair is interrupted by the sight of a manon the ice riding a dog sled. When the man boards the ship, Walton’s wish for afriend has come true.
When aboard the man named Victor tells Walton a story.Victor was justlike any normal kid in Geneva, with his parents adopting a girl named Elizabethfrom poverty, he would later marry her when they are older. At college, hedecides to study natural philosophy and chemistry. In about two years, hethinks he knows away to bring a body made of human corpse pieces to life. Backin Geneva, Victor’s younger brother, William, is murdered.
The Frankensteinfamily servant, Justine, is accused of killing him. Victor automatically thinksthat his monster is the real killer. Thinking that no one would believe the”my monster did it” he didn’t say a word, not even when Justine wasbeing executed.Victor goes on a trip to theSwiss Alps to relax and get away. Conveniently, he runs into the monster, whothen brings him back to his hut that he is now living in. Then he begins totell Victor of his crimes. When Frankenstein left, he found himself alone anddisgusted of himself.
No one accepted him, except for one old blind man. Hehoped that the blind man’s family of cottagers would show him love andsympathy, but even they sent him away. When he ran across William, he killedthe boy out of revenge and because the name was the same. After muchpersuading, Victor agrees to make a woman companion for the monster. Whileworking in Scotland he make another monster. But, just before he finishes, hedestroys the second monster, he’s afraid that the two will bring destruction tohumanity rather than love each other harmlessly. The monster sees him do thisand swears revenge … again. When Victor lands on a shore among Irish people,they accuse him of murdering Henry, who has been found dead.
He’s acquitted,but not before another long illness.Victor returns to Geneva andprepares to marry Elizabeth, but he’s a little worried: the monster has swornto be with him on his wedding night. Eek! Victor thinks the monster isthreatening him, but the night he and Elizabeth are married, the monster killsthe bride instead.
This causes Victor’s father to pass away from grief (as hejust lost a daughter-in-law and a daughter), so it’s kind of a twofer for themonster. Alone and out for revenge, Victorchases the monster over all imaginable terrain until he is ragged and neardeath. And then he sees Walton’s ship and as he tells his story, and dies.
Then Walton discovers the monster crying overVictor’s dead body. The monster heads off into the Arctic to die alone. In the literary criticism called the “MisunderstoodMonster” by Joseph Pearce, he states that Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein isone of the most influential novels of the nineteenth century; it is also one ofthe most misunderstood and abused. Also the work of fiction suffered soscandalously from the slings and arrows of outrageous criticism. The novel’sthemes center around the social and cultural aspect of society during Shelley’slifetime, including the movement away from the intellectually confiningEnlightenment. The characters in the novel reflect the struggle against societalcontrol. During Shelley’s lifetime she was surrounded by tragedy, includinghaving a child who dies in early infancy.
Also she had problems with her fatherand her lover. “Within the pages of Frankenstein we see the savagery ofRousseau, the pseudo satanic manipulation of Milton, the Romantic reaction againstthe dark satanic mills of science and industrialism, the conflict between thelight Romanticism of Wordsworth and Coleridge and the darker Romanticism ofBryon and Shelley, and, perhaps most enigmatically, the struggle between thetwo Shelley’s themselves, and perhaps the emergence of Mary from Percy’sshadow” (Pearce). When just becoming an adult at the age of eighteen, she wasalmost complete with the novel. It took her approximately eleven months tofinish and publish the final product. Much of the novel can relate to what washappening to her in her personal life. For example, the monster can be seen asa metaphor for the destructive power of the unleashed passion between Mary andPercy. Also there are many other examples of the bible in the novel.
The word “knowledge” was recurringmany times throughout Frankenstein novel and attracted or forced the reader tofind out the true definition of it. I decided to look up the definitionof knowledge from the Webster’s Dictionary. It defines, “Knowledge: n.
Understanding gained by actual experience; range of information; clearperception of truth; something learned and kept in the mind.” (Merriam-WebsterDictionary) I realized this word is very straightforward, buthas many useful and different meanings to all of us. It is also powerful toolto determine and control the result of our judgment.
“Knowledge consistsin recognizing the difference between good and bad decisions”. This statementseems to be one of the simple answers to the question of ‘what isknowledge?’ Knowledge can be powerful if we use it wisely and properly, but it is unwiselyuse may convey a harmless rumor or cause awful consequences. Thenovel, Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, was an interesting story with manycomparisons of the great powers in life. It contains many themes of our societytoday. It contrasts science and literary, technology and human, life and death,and most importantly knowledge and ignorance. It presents knowledge inboth negative and positive ways.In Frankenstein novel, three characterswere used to search for one thing in common or important to them, knowledge.
Sadly the results of their search were completely different than they expectedor anticipated. Walton, blinded by his ambition, believed thatsearch for knowledge of the route to the North Pole would bring fame to hisname, but learned that he has ended up only with the danger to the lives of hiscrew. Frankenstein, driven by his passion and unable to accept hisown limitations, learned that this passion for knowledge harms his judgment,and the excess of his action leads to shocking consequences.
The creature,driven by unhappiness, believed that knowledge would be the answer to his painbut only found that it increased his unhappiness andsadness. Through each of these characters examples of successful andunsuccessful pursuit of knowledge, there is a tragic dignity in theirsacrifices, suggesting that sometimes taking pride of aspiration would endtragically. After reading this novel I wasn’t very fond of it. Therewas too much unnecessary detail that I didn’t enjoy. Even though the detail iswhere Mary Shelley excels at, I found it a bore. The monster was verypredictable in my opinion.
Whether or not I have heard about the old story orhave screen I on screen you won’t be disappointed but it might get boring. But Mary Shelley being a women and writingsuch a scandalous novel during her time is pretty bad-ass in my opinion. Alsoshe wrote this when she was 18 years old. The novel had many highs and lows,but its definitely a great read because its such a classic.