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Frankenstein as the Modern Man

             Carl Sagan, the famous astronomer said "in order to bake an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe." Implicit in this statement is the idea that, although we can bake an apple pie, to claim that we create it, we must first have created the molecules with which the pie is composed. It is unlikely that any human mind can fully grasp all that goes into the creation of even a single apple, as each apple has it's roots, ultimately, in the creation of the universe. As no human being was present at that time, we have created explanations for how we have come to be. We have yearned to discover the secret of our origins since the human mind has been capable of such complex thought. Inherent in the Christian creation myth is this idea of humanity seeking knowledge that lies beyond its grasp and should perhaps stay there. Adam and Eve were banished from the paradise of Eden for eating fruit from the Tree of Knowledge against God's strict commands. During the Enlightenment, Western society as a whole began to "eat of the Tree of Knowledge", as scientific principles became favored over religious ones in probing the secrets of creation. The end effect was not unlike the two parents of the world being banished from a state of sublime ignorance and hurled into a much more harsh vision of reality. In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, the title character seeks to recreate the act of creation by making a human being on his own, which becomes known as "The Monster." Yet, was the Monster truly a monster or instead the updated, post Eden operate? If man was created in God's image, then, after the "Death of God" caused by the Enlightenment, the monster was created in man's image; the monster is then representative of man in the post God era. Shelley's novel presents a stark vision of the cost of knowledge and may cause us to yearn for a day when we were perhaps more ignorant of the machinations of the world around us.

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