The Pursuit of Understanding in Frankenstein
Society is continually progressing. The driving force behind the advancement of society is a mission for knowledge. While a certain quantity of curiosity and a desire to learn are both great qualities to have; in Shelley’s unique it is shown when this ends up being a misdirected obsession the results can be ruinous. The mission for understanding can often be so effective it becomes a fascination. When the understanding or objective is finally acquired, or even in the pursuit of it there might be unforeseen consequences or dreadful outcomes. In Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein both consumed by their curiosity.
The beast likewise takes part in a desire to get knowledge as he studies his “protectors”. The novel starts by showing us letters written by Robert Walton to his sis. The letters show us Walton’s thirst to explore the unidentified. Walton reveals he is mostly self-educated. In among the letters Walton explains to his sibling his vision of what he will discover and what the quest to the North Pole implies to him,”as the phenomena of the celestial bodies undoubtedly are in those undiscovered privacies I shall satisfy my ardent curiosity with the sight of a part of the world never ever before visited” (13 ).
This declaration shows he has actually persuaded himself this uncharted area holds responses to the unidentified. He broaches his passionate curiosity for this territory unexplored by man. So in his mission for responses Walton sets to sea, propelled by this urgent desire to acquire knowledge of the unidentified. He takes a trip into harmful waters trying to reach his objective putting himself and his team in risk. In the ending letters Walton informs of an incident which happens after being stuck in the ice for many days, where team members approach him asking if a break in the ice does occur will he turn and return back to safety.
Walton states, “This speech bothered me. I had not despaired; nor had I yet conceived the concept of returning if set free. Yet could I, in justice or perhaps in possibility, refuse this demand” (189 )? It is apparent in this statement Walton is so consumed he had actually not even thought about the other lives he put into damage’s method, or other options existed besides continuing his quest. Victor Frankenstein also had a powerful appetite for understanding. Frankenstein informs us even as a young trainee he had a fantastic curiosity and was captivated by the occult sciences.
He explains his entrance into natural science by specifying “I went into with the best diligence into the search of the thinker’s stone and the elixir for life; however the later quickly obtained my concentrated attention” (35 ). When he describes the elixir for life getting his undivided attention he is referencing his obsession with putting life into an inanimate kind. During his college years this fixation consumed him. He invested every waking moment researching and working toward this objective. While he investigated his health degraded together with the relationships with his friends and family.
Frankenstein’s obsession did result in him prospering at putting life into an inanimate form however; he did not experience any happiness at the completion of his objective when he discovered the dish for life. The outcome was not the gorgeous creature he had actually meant but a monster which defied the natural world. Frankenstein’s disgust at the creature he feels defies the natural world can be seen when Frankenstein describes his response, “today that I have actually ended up, the charm of the dream vanished and out of breath scary and disgust filled my heart. Unable to withstand the element of the being I had produced, I hurried out of the room” (51 ).
This”beast” he produced would bring terrible repercussions upon him and those he appreciated. The beast also shared the same thirst for knowledge Walton and Frankenstein possessed. This is sort of paradoxical considering he is the outcome of Frankenstein’s misdirected fixation. The monster similar to Walton and Frankenstein desired to find out. He wanted to know whatever human. He learned to speak and compose and comprehend emotions and desires. Nevertheless, with this knowledge came the realization he could never ever possess human companionship or be accepted into society.
The beast informs Frankenstein, “I can not describe to you the agony that these reflections caused upon me: I tried to eliminate them, but grief only increased with knowledge” (107 ). This quote reveals the pain and torture the understanding he had sought so hard to gain brought the monster. The monster then made it his goal to damage his developer and make him suffer the same miserable presence he is required to live in. Walton and Frankenstein enter into contact with one another early in the book. They become familiarized and share stories.
While Frankenstein’s mission for understanding has led him to torment and all however damaged him, Walton has yet to satisfy his mission. Frankenstein cautions Walton saying, “You seek for understanding and wisdom, as I as soon as did; and I ardently hope that the satisfaction of your desires may not be a snake to sting you, as my own has been” (25 ). This quote is Frankenstein’s way of informing his brand-new friend he hopes the result of his unyielding look for understanding does not produce the wicked effects his quest did. In the end Walton does choose to return house and abandon his quest. However, I feel his shipmates intervention had a lot to do with this.
Walton and Frankenstein both possessed a blinding curiosity of the unidentified which caused them to isolate from society and become unconcerned to the security of others. Frankenstein not only ruined his own life he caused sorrow and death to those around him. Even the beast he produced is leading a tortured life. While the monster’s isolation is passed by he also experienced the ill results of an overzealous desire to find out the unknown. While it is required to desire understanding for the development of society, when taken too far and without assistance this can have disastrous impacts not only on those seeking however to those around them.