Transformational Knowledge In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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Transformational Knowledge in Frankenstein There are countless ways to interpret Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. New scientific insight constantly shines on the novel as scholarship brings in history of the period and Shelley’s background. While using the lens of an 1814 lecture on the nature of life or Percy Shelley’s engrossment with electricity can show undeniable bearing on the text, these readings do not fully encapsulate Shelley’s critiques of science. Critics tend to only use these factors to acknowledge any scientific impact on the writing, and while I agree with them, I believe readers need to stress the issue of knowledge as much as historical factors. Alan Rauch identifies knowledge as the central theme of Frankenstein in his reading…show more content…
My mother’s tender caresses and my father’s smile of benevolent pleasure while regarding me are my first recollections” (Shelley 11). At the time of his birth, Victor is not an introvert that has no social qualities; they are simply taken away from him the time of his mother’s death. The love and care Victor sees poured into him from his mother starts to rip away, and therefore he begins to falter in society. Clouded by his mother’s death, Victor begins to confine himself and develop closed-minded ideas. Although Victor is at the University with plenty of outside resources, he pushes back on new knowledge and sticks to outdated versions of alchemy. While Victor is trying to piece together uninspired bits of information, he is allowing this same information to take power over him and push him further into isolation. One of Shelley’s biggest concerns about knowledge and the scientist lies here: Communication needs to penetrate scientific pursuit if it is to transfer into…show more content…
His detached misuse of scientific ideas cannot allow him to create something bigger than himself. The harmful use of knowledge in Frankenstein manifests into both the physical dread of Victor’s creature and the excruciating blow to Victor’s psychological state. The Creature’s Knowledge The creature begins his life with an emptied brain fully prepared to take in information at hyper speed. The pure being that Rauch said the creature represents slowly alters as he gains awareness. “Of what a strange nature is knowledge! It clings to the mind when it has once seized on it like a lichen on the rock” (Shelley 65). Since previous memories do not exist for the creature, he is drastically susceptible to any new information he learns. When something enters the creature’s brain, especially harmful knowledge, it has complete power to change his thinking. The insight the creature gains has the ability to transform his perception of self. The creature’s appearance shocks him, and that only heightens by what he has learned. By observing the reactions of others, the creature understands his apparent hideousness to others, so now he views himself as
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