Frankenstein- Volume 1

Posted by on September 5, 2011 
Filed under ENGH 451-Science Fiction

Through my reading of the first volume of Shelley’s Frankenstein, I found Victor’s readiness to correlate his emotions with images and actions of nature to be deceiving as they come from a man determined to undermine the importance of natural selection in the wild. Natural selection allows only the strongest animals in the wild to thrive by way of these animals developing unique qualities enabling them to overcome environmental conditions challenging their existence. Victor’s comparison of “the birth of that passion” (Shelley 67) “of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter” (80) as arising “like a mountain river, from ignoble and almost forgotten sources; but, swelling as it proceeded, it became the torrent which, in its course, has swept away all my hopes and joy” (67) is ironic in that Victor subjugates nature’s will with every step towards the completion of his task. Victor is seeking to defy the laws of nature, yet he compares his desire to the potential powers nature possesses.
The result of Victor’s creation of life where there was once none is extremely dangerous as his creation makes the statement that man has the power to control nature’s will/judgment. Victor has become a natural selector by creating a being that, without his assistance, would never have been introduced into the wild. Such power of creation is dangerous for any man/woman to possess because this power has the constant potential to unravel, either around Victor, or his environment, at any time. In fact, this unraveling has already begun to occur through the degeneration of Victor’s psyche after beholding “the miserable monster” (86), through the death of Victor’s brother William at the hands of “the wretch” (85-86), as well as through the unjust conviction of Justine for the murder of William. These three events are all direct consequences of Victor’s decision to defy nature’s law of natural selection.
The first volume of Shelley’s Frankenstein is a warning to those who would seek to defy the laws of nature. Volume one also seeks to show that the consequences of Victor’s actions outweigh the benefits.


One Response to “Frankenstein- Volume 1”

  • Professor Sample on September 8th, 2011 4:15 PM    Reply

    I really like your focus on “nature” in this post. I think the role of nature becomes even more clear in Volume 2, where it’s only in the mountains that Victor finds solace from his grief and guilt

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