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Themes in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

            "Natural philosophy is the genius that has regulated my fate" (p. 24) Dangerous knowledge and man better know his place or chaos will happen is the main theme of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. She warns the reader that science and natural philosophical inquiry is not only futile, but also dangerous. By attempting to discover the great mysteries of life, Victor Frankenstein plays God and pays the price of his "fervent longing to penetrate the secrets of nature." (p. 25) The story of Frankenstein tells a cautionary tale of a privileged, inquisitive young man who becomes obsessed with the origins of life and of how mankind- him- would obtain "glory if he could banish disease from the human frame and render man invulnerable" (p. 26). This idea becomes more solidified when his beloved mother dies from exposure to scarlet fever. He pursues science and knowledge to gain these secrets. He then begins to experiment with bodies and electricity and in doing so creates a monster! But Victor is repulsed by his creation, he finally realizes the horror of what he has done, this is when the monster wants to strike out at Frankenstein because he wants to hurt the master who has abandoned him to the cruel world that is repulsed by him. The monster kills Victor's brother, friend and bride. Whereas Victor vows revenge to destroy the monster that he created. The story starts out with a series of letters which Robert Walton, the captain of a ship bound for the North Pole, recounts to his sister back in England the progress of his dangerous mission. It is during this mission that Walton encounters Victor Frankenstein, who has been in pursuit of the monster across the ice and cold of the north. Walton helps to nurse Victor to health and this is when he hears Victor's tale. .
             I think that Mary Shelley wrote this book in a time when scientific pursuits were rocking mans traditional place in the world ie: "the industrialization of Europe, and especially of England, along with consequent dramatic changes in social stability" (p.

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