Over the course of human civilization, there have been many prominent advances In the field of science. However, as explored by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, is there ever a point or line when new discoveries made by science are not a blessing anymore, but a curse? Frankenstein is a novel about a brilliant young sclentlst named Frankenstein who discovers the ultimate secret: how to Infuse life Into a dead body. 3ut his attempt at thwarung nature causes massive destruction as the monster he creates kills humans as an act of revenge towards
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Frankenstein. This raises a huge question. What are the obligations a scientist has towards mankind while endeavouring towards an unknown land? Although science can cause great and powerful advances for human society, it can also cause widespread destruction. on the other hand, science must not be Ilmlted to what Is already In our grasp. Thus, as Mary shellefs Frankenstein elucidates, sclentlflc discovery must be made with the moral obligation to society in mind, but cannot be limited by the moral obligation towards society.
Although this seems to create a aradox, the creation of many modern objects such as computers were created through a process which intertwined both venturing into unknown territory and taking Into account posslble risks and consequences, From vaccines to robots, scientists have been a huge part In shaping the culture of humanity. Yet as shown In Frankenstein, sometimes this scientific discovery proves to be disastrous. Mary Shelley cleverly alludes to this with a reference to “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” on page 5, “l am preparing to depart.
I am going to unexplored egions, to “the land of mist and snow,” but I shall kill no albatross; therefore do not be alarmed tor my satety or It I should come back to you as worn and woetul as the Ancient Manner-. The poem “The Rime of the Ancient Manner” tells the tale of a mariner that does something no one has done before: a journey to Antarctica. However, he and his crew becomes lost and is saved from death byan albatross. But the mariner decides to shoot the albatross, thus damning him to eternal suffering.
Page 2 Scientific Discovery: Curse or Blessing? Essay
The fact that the mariner commits an act without any forethought, thus causing his wn suffering is the point that Mary Shelley stresses in Frankenstein. Scientific discovery must be made carefully and cautiously orelse the consequences will be too great. Victor Frankenstein’s Intense euphoria, “No one can conceive the variety of feelings which bore me onwards, like a hurricane, in the first enthusiasm of success.. I might in process of time (although I now found it impossible) renew life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption. (40) shows how eager he is to put his newtound powers to the test. But the results are not as he expects and thus, l beheld the wretch”the miserable monster whom I had created… had gazed on him while unfinished; he was ugly then, but when those muscles and joints were rendered capable of motion, it became a thing such as even Dante could not have conceived. ” (44). Clearly, his “creation” is not what he intended, and thus, because he did not contemplate the possible effects or results of his actions, Victor creates a monster that even he, as the creator, cannot stand and runs away trom it.
Later, due to Victor’s lack of control over the creature, It wreaks havoc on Victor’s life, from the OF3 break down, all because of Victor’s reckless attempt at creating life. Although one may argue that the catastrophe that resulted from Victor’s works were from spurning the creature rather than his temerarious actions, the reason why Victor was horrified by the creature’s countenance was because he did not think about what it would look like after being given the spark of life. Thus, the tragedy that befell Victor was caused by his own foolhardy and brash actions.
But despite the dangers of scientific exploration, it is necessary for humankind. The creation of the polio vaccine virtually eradicated polio with fewer than 1,300 cases worldwide annually (Wise 46). The injection of a dead virus was a tremendous risk and could have caused massive destruction, yet was successful. Similarly, Frankenstein, a very talented student, could have created something ground- breaking to human society. As he states, “No one can conceive the variety of feelings which bore me onwards, like a hurricane, in the first enthusiasm of success.
Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a orrent of light into our dark world. A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me. “(40). The implications of a new species not unlike humans were astounding. Though the consequences may have been great, they if the result had been what was expected, the discovery would have revolutionized society as a whole.
Yet this is not the only situation in which Frankenstein could have made great advances in science. Frankenstein states that “As I applied so closely, it may be easily conceived that my rogress was rapid…. and l, who continually sought the attainment of one object of pursuit and was solely wrapped up in this, improved so rapidly that at the end of two years I made some discoveries in the improvement of some chemical instruments, which procured me great esteem and admiration at the university. ” (36-37).
There are many fields of science that do not require risks as large as creating life, and as shown by Frankenstein’s immense progress in science as a whole, the discoveries he could have made without endangering the lives of humans were infinite, such as “the mprovement of some chemical instruments”. Therefore, because great discovery cannot exist without risk, sometimes those risks must be taken for the betterment of humans. The paths of both moral obligation to society and scientific discovery are riddled with each of its own risks and detriments.See More on Science