Frankenstein Paper - Alex Holcombe English 185-8 Ashly...

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Alex Holcombe English 185-8 Ashly Bennett 10/1/07 The Danger of the Pursuit of Knowledge In the novel Frankenstein, Shelley presents a number of important themes and issues; however the strongest message is the danger of the pursuit of knowledge. All of the main characters in the novel, Frankenstein, Walton, and the monster, are trapped in a dangerous journey. When the monster is first created is infant mind does not contain any intelligence, but as his intellect grows rapidly, the monster becomes increasingly unhappy because he becomes more aware of his isolation from the world. Frankenstein has an obsession with science, specifically chemistry and the possibility of creating life. Walton, on the other hand, chooses to explore the arctic region in hopes of finding a northern passage to the Pacific Ocean, or perhaps for more personal reasons. Both attempt to surpass previous human achievements and explorations. Both of their quests are dangerous, but the threat of danger does not impede them, as they are so focused on achieving their goals. However, Shelley shows that there is a limit when pursuing knowledge and that pushing that limit can prove costly and harmful. In her introduction, Shelley makes the reader aware that the danger of excessive intelligence will be a significant theme in the novel. In the introduction she states “Frightful must it be, for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavor to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world” (172). Victor
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Frankenstein’s pursuit of knowledge starts during his childhood and continues throughout his life. From his days as a young boy reading the works of ancient alchemists to his studies of modern science at the university at Ingolstadt, Victor is fascinated with the “secret of life” and is determined to find it. Science is the only thing that can satisfy Victor’s thirst for knowledge as he describes when he says “in other studies you go as far as others have gone before you, and there is nothing more to know; but in a scientific pursuit there is continual food for discovery and wonder” (29). Part of the reason why
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This essay was uploaded on 02/19/2008 for the course ENGL 185 taught by Professor Wronski,c during the Fall '08 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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Frankenstein Paper - Alex Holcombe English 185-8 Ashly...

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