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Playing God in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Over two centuries ago, Mary Shelley created a gruesome tale of the horrific ramifications that result when man over steps his bounds and manipulates nature. In her classic tale, Frankenstein, Shelley weaves together the terrifying implications of a young scientist playing God and creating life, only to be haunted for the duration of his life by the monster of his own sordid creation. Reading Shelley in the context of present technologically advanced times, her tale of monstrous creation provides a very gruesome caution. For today, it is not merely a human being the sciences are lusting blindly to bring to life, as was the deranged quest of Victor Frankenstein, but rather to generate something potentially even more dangerous and horrifying with implications that could endanger the entire world and human population.

Few things are more powerful than the human mind or human intelligence. This ability to think, learn and process complex thoughts has been the driving force that has allowed for the immense growth of human culture and society, without which it is doubtful we would have ever had the capacity to evolve from our basic animal existence. As fantastic as this quality may be, our intellectual growth has not always spawned ideas that produce sound and safe results. Victor Frankenstein, although a fictitious character, provides a superb example of the vast potentiality of human intelligence and the morbid destruction that it can create. For very real examples, one need only read the headlines of the newspaper to find a multitude of malicious and perverse atrocities that occur each day due to the human mind and “intelligence” gone haywire. This is why, in light of today, with technology gaining greater and greater power, we mu…

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…”AI children” simply decide to rebel because they want to?

Clearly, the potential for disaster is very real when we are taking the power of our minds and placing it into machines that have the ability to act in ways that exceed our own abilities. We are blinded by the seemingly beneficial qualities of this growing technology, naively becoming more and more dependent upon this very powerful creation. One need only remember the gruesome tale Shelley brought forth in Frankenstein to realize the horrendous mistake we could very well be making. Just as Victor realized too late that he had given life to a true monster, our world could suffer the same fate as we watch our “AI children” manifest into monsters that we no longer have control of.

Works Cited

ThinkQuest. Applicatio ns: Essays on the use of AI. (7 Oct. 2002).

ThinkQuest. The History of AI. (7 Oct. 2002).

Mary Shelley Challenges Society in Frankenstein

Mary Shelley Challenges Society in Frankenstein

Romantic writer Mary Shelley’s gothic novel Frankenstein does indeed do a lot more than simply tell story, and in this case, horrify and frighten the reader. Through her careful and deliberate construction of characters as representations of certain dominant beliefs, Shelley supports a value system and way of life that challenges those that prevailed in the late eighteenth century during the ‘Age of Reason’. Thus the novel can be said to be challenging prevailant ideologies, of which the dominant society was constructed, and endorsing many of the alternative views and thoughts of the society. Shelley can be said to be influenced by her mothers early feminist views, her father’s radical challenges to society’s structure and her own, and indeed her husband’s views as Romantics. By considering these vital influences on the text, we can see that in Shelley’s construction of the meaning in Frankenstein she encourages a life led as a challenge to dominant views.

Many consider Shelley as an early feminist. Certainly her mother’s views on the issue cannot be doubted. In her book “A Vindication of the Rights of Women” Mary Wollstonecraft criticizes society’s treatment of women. Similarly in Frankenstein Shelly, more than simply telling a story, challenges a dominant patriarchal value system. In the novel the women are constructed as victims of male egotism and selfishness. Caroline Beaufort, Victor Frankenstein’s mother, lived in ‘poverty’ due to her father’s ‘abominable pride’ that refused to accept help or charity. Safie, daughter of the Turkish merchant is almost kept from the one she loves by her father’s ‘treachery’. Thus we can see that Shelly presents us with a s…

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…e patriarchy, seeking technology without morality and judgment primarily on appearance, Shelley encourages her reader to reassess the value structures within society, underpinning the way they live, and consider an alternative way of life. Thus, Frankenstein certainly must be considered more than a simple story; it is an important vehicle to present the writer’s themes.

Bibliography/ Works Cited

Brooks, P. “‘Godlike Science/ Unhallowed Arts’: Language, Nature,and Monstrosity”. The Endurance of Frankenstein. Ed. George Levine. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979.

Shelley, M. Frankenstein. Ed. Candace Ward. New York, Dover, 1994. (London).

Stevenson, W. Study of the readership and influence in Frankenstein. Sydney. NSW University Publication. 1987

Walton, M. Notes on Shelley’s Frankenstein. Article. 1994

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