The Importance Of Romanticism In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

1099 Words5 Pages
In Mary Shelley’s Romantic novel, Frankenstein, an over-ambitious young scientist, infatuated with the creation of life without a female and the source of generation, surpasses the limits of science and nature by conjuring life into a lifeless form constructed from stolen body parts. The young experimenter confesses his monstrous tale that defies nature to a captain who shares his desire for glory and the pursuit of knowledge. Though a Romantic novel itself, Frankenstein serves as a critique of part of the philosophy behind Romanticism, that is, the promotion of radical self-involvement that celebrates the individual’s pursuit of glory and knowledge. Both the lone captain and the young scientist seek glory from their quest for knowledge but ultimately their pursuits end disastrously. Throughout the novel, Shelley warns against excessive self-confidence, the ambitious overreaching in the acquirement of scientific knowledge, and the arrogant pursuit of glory, using the young scientist and his creation as a forewarning to the lone captain against his curious nature. The novel begins with a sequence of letters from Robert Walton, a sea captain on a quest to discover a new passageway to the North Pole, to his sister reassuring her to “not be alarmed for [his] safety, or if [he] should come back to [her] as worn and woeful as the ‘Ancient Mariner.’” (Shelley 6). From the beginning, Shelley foreshadows the dangers of becoming too ambitious in the acquirement of glory through
Open Document