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Ambition, Fallibility and Dangerous Knowledge

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The novel Frankenstein was written in the year 1816 on a rainy afternoon in Geneva. Frequently regarded as the world's first science fiction novel, it tells the sad story of multiple people and perspectives, the adventurous Robert Walton, his friend, the sullen and inquisitive Victor Frankenstein, and finally the spiteful yet remorseful creature made by Victor. The novel opposes romantic ideals and explores many philosophical themes. In Frankenstein, Victor was blinded in his pursuit of dangerous knowledge which ultimately resulted in his unsightly death due to his overly ambitious and fallible nature. Victor’s ultimate demise was a creation, a combination of multiple aspects that Victor was caught up in. There were many incidents and teachers that fueled his pride and ego. Victor’s ambitious acts caused his family’s doom, which in turn destroyed him. His negligence of his own health and wellbeing also contributed to the reduction of Victor into his deceased state. And finally, similar to the story of The Faust, Victor was dissatisfied with his life, nothing could quench his desire for knowledge, so he took it upon himself to satiate his thirst for learning, putting everything he had behind this desire, leading to his eventual death. It is because of these factors that Victor Frankenstein’s miserable yet intriguing life came to such a miserable ending.

As previously stated, Victor’s current state was a mixture of multiple aspects, one of them being the teachers and events that made Victor who he is and fueled his passion. For starters, Victor’s character was based off a real life “scientist obsessed with research… Victor Frankenstein’s character may have been partly inspired by Mary Shelley’s interest in the life of Sir Humphry Davy, a professor of chemistry at the Royal Institution in london who enthusiastically anticipated a brave new world of perfect people realized through the advances in chemistry” (Bloom 168). Now getting into the early life of Victor, he familiarized himself in the world natural philosophy with the help from names such as Cornelius Agrippa, Paracelsus, and Albertus Magnus. He continued down this path until a fateful thunderstorm had transpired. Victor observed this incident with much pleasure and curiosity, and was dazzled by the bolts of lightning and their power, he “beheld a stream of fire insue from an old and beautiful oak which stood about twenty yards from our house; and so soon as the dazzling light vanished, the oak disappeared, and nothing remained but a blasted stump.” (Shelley 26) this fascinated Victor, as he knew little to nothing of the laws of electricity, after witnessing the powers of electricity, Victor promptly quit upon his previous studies, his desire for knowledge growing at a rapid pace.

Leading into the next cause for Victor’s eventual demise, is his unquenchable desire to learn. All that he had previously learned from the teachers he had made for himself, he threw away. as “by some fatality the overthrow of these men disinclined me to pursue my accustomed studies… I at once gave up my former occupations, set down natural history and entertained the greatest disdain for a would-be science which could never even step within the threshold of real knowledge… [he] betook himself to the mathematics and the branches of study appertaining to the science as being built upon secure foundations, and so worthy of [his] consideration” (Shelley 27). He learned that nature had the capacity to both give and take away life, to both create and destroy. He learns that the sheer power of nature itself can change and distort life altogether, and he craved to possess such innate power. Quite similar to the legend of the Faust, Victor could not resist the temptations set out by own mind, “Shelley’s emphasis on the Faust legend, or the quest to conquer the unknown at the cost of one’s humanity, forms a central theme of the novel. The reader continually sees Victor favor his ambition of his friendship and his family” (“Frankenstein,” 2007). It is this obsession drew him farther and farther from humanity, straying from what nature intended. But when he is deep in his state of learning, it’s as if Victor “is removed

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