Frankenstein Who Holds The Power Essay, Research Paper
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is clearly a novel that investigates many themes and ideas, but of those I thought it interesting to explore the effects humankind and nature had on technology and vice versa. To be more specific, I intend to show the inevitable power struggle that Shelley creates between Victor Frankenstein and his pursuit and experiment of technology and eventually the creation of the monster. Ultimately, who or what holds the power and control?
It is Victor Frankenstein who begins this novel with his obsession of technology and what he perceives as the advancement of it. This is made clear by the way he abandons his life and goes to a remote and vacant location to work on his experiment. He totally cuts himself off from everything that was his life. I think this shows his loyalty and commitment to his idea. In the novel it is stated that he had a “fervent longing to penetrate the secrets of nature.” Victor clearly thinks he holds the control and power over the situation and has no reason to think otherwise. He looks at his experiment as an advancement in science and an advancement for himself. Actions such as exhuming human and animal organs, bones, and flesh to aid in his experiment were simply tools of his trade and he is shown seeing no moral implications for it. He was incontrol and in fact Victor Frankenstein does have the power to create the monster. A good example of how in control he seems to be is when the monster is about to come to life. Shelley paints a picture of Victor in his glory, so proud and confident that he can do anything.
Although during this novel, Frankenstein uses his knowledge and understanding of technology to create his experiment, it is the technology that causes him disappointment and problems. The control shifts in the novel when he realizes that the monster is just that, a “monster.” Victor is terrified at the result of his actions. He has now created something with ability to destroy humankind and more specifically, himself. He was the creator, but it seems that the monster is the master. Victor created each section of the monster with care, without realizing the total effect of the whole. He didn’t have a grasp on powerful technology really was. He neglected to think of the effect the monster would have on society once introduced into it. These effects are obvious. With no conscious fault, the monster killed those closest to Frankenstein. Technology, in this case the monster, was introduced into nature and humankind and was unequipt to function with what he found. In this aspect, technology relinquished its power to Frankenstein who held the tools necessary for survival. In the same respect, Frankenstein was unable to find the monster and control his acts of violence, which made him helpless and out of control. During this, humankind and nature effected the monster by its lack of tolerance for the monster’s appearance and its lack of understanding for the monster’s actions.
Eventually though, it was Victor who resisted the forceful command to create a “monster mate” for the monster to be with. He held the power and control to deny this command by realizing the negative impacts the current monster had on humankind and nature, particularly his family. He finally realized how to gain the control once again. He had to respect the enormous power of technology and abandon the idea that he could control what came of science. Instead, Frankenstein had to understand that technology held uncontrollable consequences. He had to come to terms with the effects technology, the monster, was having on him. Victor Frankenstein and the monster were equally effected by control and the loss of it. It seems in the end though, that Frankenstein was able to realize that its only when he messes with technology, that it counter-acts by messing with him.
I find it important to say that although this paper may come across as slightly anti-scientific or as placing the blame on Victor’s scientific knowledge and aspirations, in fact the problem is not with the science itself, but instead with the character of the person who makes use of it.