Examine the values expressed in Frankenstein in relation to its context
The early 19th century, in the midst of the industrial revolution, was a time of great technological and scientific change when society was beginning to lose faith in religion. Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, written in 1817 demonstrated her recognition of science as a powerful force with the potential to challenge man kind’s attitudes to god and to existence itself. The introduction of science into this era encouraged man to obsessively push the boundaries of nature, creating moral dilemmas. Mary Shelley wrote that she wished her novel to “speak of the mysterious fears of our nature” fears that had led to the replacement of religious conviction with the intellectual awareness of our ignorance.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was written in the mist of the Industrial Revolution. This era accounts for the emergence of industries and factories. Peasants became the working class man, seen to be slave like. Victor’s creature, represents many of the psychological, deteriorating effects that the revolution had over people whilst simultaneously acting as a warning encoded in gothic and romantic fiction of the diabolic circumstances of the loss of faith and interest in a ‘new religion’, science. The novel goes as far to examine how the obsessive pursuit of knowledge and furthering science has the potential to alienate people from society resulting in catastrophe. Obsessive pursuits occur in the main three protagonists and antagonists of the novel, though most diabolically in Frankenstein as only he pushes the boundaries past return, whereas his foil character Walton, learns from his mistakes and retreats in the best interest of himself and his crew. Frankenstein’s obsession with furthering science is highlighted in the words he speaks whilst on his death bed, “avoid ambition….Yet why do I say this? I have myself been blasted in these hopes, yet another may succeed”. His time spent in isolation...