Knowledge In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Better Essays
Many know the saying, “curiosity killed the cat,” although few heed this warning. Victor Frankenstein is one of many who did not. Mary Shelley knows this, and a major theme in her novel Frankenstein conveys this lesson. In her novel Frankenstein, Mary Shelley portrays the dark side of knowledge; she demonstrates that the accumulation and pursuit of knowledge can lead to destruction of not only the pursuer, but also those around them.

Mary Shelley develops the idea that knowledge can lead to destruction by employing the romantic elements of emotion and introspection. The reader can see this when looking at Victor Frankenstein. His passions, the love of natural philosophy and the love of learning, drive him onward. These emotions not only lead
…show more content…
One can see the destructive impact of knowledge through several characters, one of them being Victor. The reader can see that Victor Frankenstein is the double of his creature in knowledge leads them to destruction. This is amplified by the use of the Chinese box technique, due to the fact that it portrays the lives of both characters from their own perspectives. By the end of the story, Victor’s life is utterly destroyed, all those he cares for dead, and he feels wretched. This is due to the fact that when he gains knowledge, he creates a supernatural being, and this monster kills many of his loved ones. One can also see the destructive impact of knowledge through the perspective of the creature. This is evident in that as he reads books and learns how different he is from humanity, he feels miserable and regrets being created. He becomes melancholic first, then vengeful towards his creator because he leads a cursed existence. He, the offspring of Victor’s knowledge, then destroys Victor’s life. His is the middle box, the 3rd frame, and the reader can see his side of the story, how knowledge has impacted him negatively through his eyes. Then there is the 1st frame of the story, Robert Walton. Robert Walton acts as a double to Victor in that he is also on the path of destruction in his pursuit of knowledge. Walton is ready to…show more content…
The characterization of Elizabeth on her bridal boer after the monster slays her is showcasing the disastrous effects of the knowledge Victor gains earlier in the story. Mary Shelley uses imagery and direct characterization to fully portray this terrible event. Victor describes the scene as he thinks, “She was there, lifeless and inanimate, thrown across the bed, her head hanging down and her pale and distorted features half covered by her hair”(173). Later on, one can see the negative effects of the deaths of her and most of his loved ones, his suffering because of knowledge. When Shelley characterizes Victor, she uses imagery and descriptive language to show how damaged Victor is. Upon seeing Victor, Robert Walton wrote, “His limbs were nearly frozen, and his body dreadfully emaciated by fatigue and suffering. I never saw a man in so wretched a condition”(21). Shelley indirectly characterizes Victor through Walton, emphasizing his sorry state with the words, “dreadfully emaciated,” and “wretched” to describe Victor. After seeing how similar Walton is to himself, Victor tells Walton, “You have hope, and the world before you, and have no cause for despair. But I—I have lost everything and cannot begin life anew”(24). Victor has seen that it is possible for Walton to become like him, and
Get Access