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Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein – Victor Paid for his Sins

Victor Paid for his Sins in Frankenstein

The setting for Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein plays a very important role on both the significance and realism of the story. By the end of the 18th century, smallpox and cholera epidemics throughout Europe had claimed millions of lives and brought about a crisis of faith within both the Catholic and Protestant churches. The formerly profane practices of medicinal healing were only beginning to gain acceptance in major universities as hundreds of cities were put under quarantine for their diseases and high mortality rates. Interdisciplinary learning within the scientific community was unheard of. Had Victor Frankenstein been alive during this period, his practices would have been considered blasphemous. Much more so than Edward Jenner’s research on smallpox during the same time, which would eventually save millions of lives in 1796. Frankenstein’s intentions were good, but even during this modern age of genetic engineering and cloning, the story of his creation remains entirely evil. Contemporary thought has allowed for tremendous growth in genetic engineering in recent years; the evolution of science from the analytical engine to the modern PC has occurred thousands of times faster than the evolution of our own species, from ape to human.

New medications are discovered daily. However, had Mary Shelly’s proposition of “playing god” been a reality in the late 18th century, and had Victor Frankenstein been able to take this dramatic shortcut in the slow process of evolution by creating life from death, the crisis between the church and science would have been decidedly against science. Such were the sentiments of Victor’s headmaster at Ingolstadt, as well as the rest of the European scientific community. Frankenstein’s intentions were good. He had wanted to rid the world of genetic defects and bacterial disease by creating the perfect man. He would do so by applying electricity to the polar regions of a body, which he had constructed from pieces of freshly executed villains, while submerging them in an elemental pool of life. However, he was so driven towards his goal that he never considered the consequences of his actions. He was in many ways acting like the benefactor of Jurassic Park, hastily creating a life form without consideration of possible detriments. When Frankenstein had created his monster, he didn’t know what to do with it and immediately wished it dead, but ironically he had made it so strong that it would not die.

The Flawed Characters of Moliere’s Tartuffe

The Flawed Characters of Tartuffe

To be perfect is to be inhuman. Human nature is complete with many flaws and imperfections, one of which is represented in the play “Tartuffe”, by Moliere. “Tartuffe” was written specifically to show the reader a basic flaw in human nature. This flaw is shown through two characters, Madame Pernelle and Orgon. These two are blind to the truth concerning Tartuffe and fall victim to his wiles. The fact that these two are too weak to see the truth is a basic human flaw as well as a major theme of the play, represented through their flawed characters.

If anything, Madame Pernelle and Orgon are incredibly gullible. One author suggests that this gullibility is a shared family trait, stating that “his mother shares his capacity for self-delusion even after Tartuffe has been found out (we cannot always judge by what we see)” (Weals). Orgon foolishly believes that Tartuffe is a man of God, and, because of this, he should put everything he has into Tartuffe’s hands. He proves how much he believes this after Damis tells him that Tartuffe was flirting with Elmire. From this accusation Orgon replies to Damis: “I disinherit you; an empty purse / Is all you’ll get from me – except my curse!” (III, vii , 68). Madame Pernelle shows the family trait that she shares with her son when she states: “He’s a fine man, and should be listened to.”(I, i ,44), while speaking of Tartuffe. Although they share this trait throughout the play, Orgon’s eyes are finally opened at the end of the play while his mother is still held by the farce of Tartuffe.

Although Tartuffe is portrayed as the main character of the play, Orgon is the character who should really be paid attention to the most. As suggested in an essay on “Tartuffe” audiences who concentrate on the character who titles the work may miss the author’s point: “…vitriol and spleen vented on one man suggests that Moliere’s satire of Orgon, nevermind Tartuffe, was steeped in truth.” (Smaje). Orgon is the character who represents the weakness in human nature. This weakness is shown throughout the play. Orgon is so willing to entrust everything he has into the care of Tartuffe. He places Tartuffe above the well being of his family. When he returns from his trip and asks Cleante how the household was while he was gone, Cleante tells him that his wife had been very sick.

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