enthusiasm of success, there will be none participate my joy; if I am assailed by disappointment, no one will endeavor to sustain me in dejection…” This ties into Dr.Frankenstein’s state of mind, as he is disappointed in himself to the point where now he chooses to isolate himself from everyone and everything, including his miscreation. Ambition is another theme that Shelley wove in the novel. In fact, the theme of ambition runs parallel to the theme of formulation. Victor had ambition when he set out to accomplish life without birth. Unfortunately, his ambition to defy natural order and natural directions came with a cost; his mental health and his closest family and friends would start to suffer due to his incorrect ambition. Furthermore, in this case, his ambition can be described as a negative passion, as we realize that his ambition was humanly incorrect. As the novel progresses, Victor realizes just how erroneous his ambition was and where it led him. He tries to protect Walton from replicating the same mistakes he made in his lifetime before it was too late, and says “Seek happiness in tranquility, and avoid ambition, even if it be only the apparently innocent one of distinguishing yourself in science and discoveries.” Moreover, Victor finally starts to piece together how much of a mistake his mission of reincarnation really was and cares about Walton enough to go out of his way to make sure that he doesn’t make those same mistakes and potentially ruin his life, no matter what it is he sets out to do.
In summary, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein addresses issues of what happens when men try to play god by creating a story about a scientist that has no regards for scientific morals, which ends up ruining his life after control quickly slips out of his hand. Mary Shelley’s main idea for the reader is to be cautious that one’s ambition doesn’t interfere with individual responsibility, as well as social responsibility. Shelley conveys themes of formulation, alienation, and ambition to express the idea that morality has its boundaries and elicit the catastrophes that follow when men try to play god.
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- Fall '15