Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Valuable Knowledge

Education is generally regarded as a means of gaining valuable knowledge. However, it may actually be more destructive than constructive to others. This dangerous aspect of education is vividly shown in Mary Shelley”s Frankenstein. Victor Frankenstein”s misfortunes start from the moment he discovers Cornelius object into life again. The creation of the daemon is result of his efforts. Little does he know the consequences of his creation and the responsibilities that follow.

In Frankenstein, Shelley attempts to portray how Frankentein”s dangerous education from books influences his strong ambition and causes him to ignore responsibilities afterwards. Frankenstein learns most of his knowledge from the books that he reads, but these are of the unusual kind. At the young age of thirteen, he is first exposed to the works of Cornelius Agrippa, Paracelsus, and Albertus Magnus who are “… ancient teachers of [Chemistry]” (p. 40). He becomes quite fascinated with his findings and begins his experiment on the basis of these books. If he had not stumbled across these books, he would not have created the daemon.

It is too late when he realizes this– he has already gone mad. For this he blames his father. When he had first discovered Agrippa, he had told his father, but he merely shunned the book. ” ‘My dear Victor, do not waste your time upon this; it is sad trash” (p. 30). “If. . . my father had taken the pains to explain to me that the principles of Agrippa had been entirely exploded, and that a modern system of science had been introduced. . . I should have certainly have thrown Agrippa aside, and have contented my imagination. . . by returning with greater ardour to my former studies” (p. 30).

Had his father shielded him from the contents of Agrippa”s book as well the others, Frankenstein would not have fallen prey to the fateful education of such works. Frankenstein”s strong ambition also plays a role in throwing off his reasoning. He had first thought of the plan of the creation when his mother died. The books he reads reinforces his thoughts. Since then, he obsesses with the thought that he “… could bestow animation upon lifeless matter… ” (p. 48) and maybe even “… renew life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption” (p. 48). His strong passion for knowledge alters his reasoning.

The knowledge he learns and the resulting project are so immense that he soon forgets about his surroundings and the people around him. “And the same feelings which made me neglect the scenes around me caused me also to forget those friends who were so many miles absent, and whom I had not seen for so long a time” (p. 49). Frankenstein’s education isolates him from the real world rather than brings him closer to the people he loves. Unfortunately, Frankenstein”s education does not prepare him for the obligations involved in such a creation.

Rather than teaching him the way of life, he abandons him. Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created, I rushed out of the room… ” (p. 52). The daemon is left all alone and must fend for himself in this strange world. When Frankenstein refuses to create a mate for him, he is full rage and vows revenge by killing his lived ones. If he had known the responsibilities following his creation, he might not have created the daemon in the first place.

Ironically, Frankenstein”s passion for the knowledge of giving life to an inanimate human suddenly turns into terror. The same education that interested him now frightens him and turns him mad. “But I was in reality ery ill; and surely nothing but the unbounded and unremitting attentions of my friend could have restored me to life” (p. 56). Mary Shelley vividly shows how Frankenstein”s education is potentially dangerous.

The knowledge he learns from certain books fatefully leads him away from the world, throwing off reasoning. He turns into a madman following his creation of the daemon. Many misfortunes result from him running away from that same wisdom and ignoring the responsibilities regarding the daemon. The perilous education which he engages in causes his unbalanced and eccentric nature, and ultimately causes his downfall.

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