Playing God– Frankenstein and Dr. Moreau
The following paper will look at the harmful consequences for scientists who think they can “play god”. For two literary examples, I’ll be talking about Victor Frankenstein in “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein,” and”Moreau in H. G. Wells’ “The Island of Dr. Moreau. “f By so doing, this paper will show how each character embodies the idea of scientist as God and how the 2 men differ in their ethical perceptiveness and in regards to how they deal with their own duty for the scaries they have actually wrought; most significantly, the sheer lack of an ethical compass in Moreau will be highlighted.
Lastly, the paper will conclude by suggesting that the risk of people playing God typically surpasses any temporal benefits. In the end, where human hubris goes, evil makes sure to follow. To begin with, Victor Frankenstein wants to presume the mantle of God and, in so doing, neatly captures the idea of “researcher as God in a way that few characters of fiction are able. After all, he wants to mold from inanimate things” specifically, the body parts of the dead, “a living being; in this regard, he is no different than the scriptural God of Genesis who develops man out of clay.
For his part, Moreau is not a lot thinking about breathing life into death as he has an interest in turning life into something else altogether. For instance, it quickly ends up being obvious that his work involves producing unusual half-human, half-animal creatures” (Wells 89-90) Initially glimpse, it seems as though Moreau wishes to end up being a sort of God, ruling tyrannically over a novel race of being.
This impression is reinforced by the occasion, early in the unique, when Edward Prendrick stumbles upon numerous of the abominations and hears the following dreadful chant: “His (Moreau’s) is your house of Discomfort; His is the Hand that makes; His is the Hand that wounds; His is the Hand that heals (Wells 118). Understandably, it appears to Wells’s Prendrick that Moreau is trying to become as God (Wells, 119); this preliminary belief is strengthened when Moreau corners the frightened Prendrick and informs him that his objective is to speed up the evolutionary procedure or to turn development down a brand-new course by experimenting on animals (Wells 133-134).
Suffice it to state, it is proper to suggest that Moreau actually wishes to create new life with something akin to the speed of the God of the Bible: “Each time I dip a living animal into the bath of burning discomfort, I state, ‘This time I will burn out all the animal, this time I will make a rational animal of my own. After all, what is ten years Man has been a hundred thousand in the making'” (Wells 146-147). For Moreau, one hundred thousand years is too long; like the God of the ancient Israelis, he wants to build a reasonable, thinking creature after his own image in a simple day.
All in all, each man, in his own method, embodies the idea of the scientist as God inasmuch as each dreams to grab the laws of nature and bend them to his will. Yet, while there is a general resemblance in between the 2 men that can not be neglected, there are extensive differences between them “most especially, differences in how they conceive morality and in how they presume ethical obligation for their actions.
Starting first with Frankenstein, it appears, without it being stated clearly in the text, that vivisection is not his thing; thus, his choice to experiment on the dead instead of upon the living” (Shelley 82-83). For his part, Moreau is not concerned by the pain of the animals he experiments upon; in fact, he implicates Prendrick of being a thorough-going utilitarian materialist who associates evil with pain when the true concept of sin is to blithely accept things as they are without making an attempt, nevertheless much discomfort it might inflict, to get away from the debased self into “the bigger being of life Wells 137-138; please see also footnote 104 on page 138).
Naturally, Moreau is not suffering pain himself; that is being sustained by the bad creatures he carves and dissects. Rather, he is arbitrarily causing pain upon other living beings in effort to oblige them to transcend their animal states; along the way, he is likewise expressly trying to transcend the boundaries of his own mankind by becoming “to the fullest degree he can”– an imaginative God who forges logical life out of primitive beasts.
Hence, unlike Frankenstein, Moreau’s morality includes no apparent gratitude for the harsh suffering he inflicts upon others. Another thing that ends up being immediately apparent upon reading the texts is that Frankenstein has a lot more ethical inhibitions with concerns to his work than does Moreau. For instance, from almost the start, the previous evinces disgust at some of the more ghoulish aspects of his experimentations (Shelley 82) while there is no proof that Moreau ever discovers himself revolted at his actions.
For instance, long after the regrettable Prendrick has made his acquaintance, Moreau’s anxious visitor can still discover his host industriously at work in his lab, subjecting the she-puma to agonizing suffering. In the end, even when he reaches his demise at the hand of the she-puma, there is no sign that Moreau is troubled in the least by his actions (Wells 171). The preceding paragraph ties into the entire concept of how the two guys approach their own guilt for the monstrosities they have actually wrought.
The events whereupon Frankenstein regrets what he has done are merely too numerous to catalogue here, but there is a telling passage, actually rather early in Shelley’s unique, that summarize his discomfiture: “The kind of the monster on whom I had bestowed existence was permanently previously my eyes, and I raved nonstop worrying him” (Shelley 89-90). His life has become one of endless torture, whereas Moreau is untroubled by the things he has produced: “he was so reckless, so absolutely negligent.
His interest, his mad, aimless investigations, drove him on, and the important things were thrown away to live a year approximately, to have a hard time, and oversight, and suffer; at last to die painfully (Wells 168). In short, there is no sense of personal accountability in the moral cosmology of Dr. Moreau, whereas Frankenstein is wracked by guilt. The outcomes of the work of both guys inform us numerous aspects of the threats of playing God– “and a few of the benefits, too. For each guy, the “payoff s the sense of exhilaration that comes with hard-earned accomplishment.
As Frankenstein puts it, “A brand-new species would bless me as its developer and source; many pleased and outstanding natures would owe their being to me” (Shelley 82). Lamentably, this enjoyment is short-term: Moreau is killed by the she-puma he has conceived (Wells 171-172) and Frankenstein’s animal soon makes his life an unrelenting hell– a state of affairs the beast eagerly pursues as the vengeance for the unpleasant existence Frankenstein has actually foisted upon him (Shelley 167).
Simply specified, mankind does not have the surpassing wisdom to play God or the insight to view what evils might result from any descent into such hubris. In the end, science may well be the human activity that brings human beings nearest to the innovative role carried out by the biblical God. Given that reality, there is something to be stated for stringent morality in science, for clinical expedition without morality can easily cause the introduction of new evils and to a tremendous toll upon human joy.
In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein reaches the correct morality too late; in the case of Wells’s Dr. Moreau, he never gets to it and passes away believing that he, and not Prendrick, is the one who occupies the higher ethical ground. In a real sense, Frankenstein’s plight is more lamentable due to the fact that his internal suffering is so evident; Moreau, on the other hand, is typically gripped by frustration at how his plans unfold, but there are no pangs of remorse commensurate to the dismissive method which he treats the beings whose blasted presence is his doing. Ultimately, these 2 novels catch the scary that can result when “playing God with sophisticated innovation is not accompanied by ethical impulses.