As long as the existence of literature, writers have sought to provide insight on the battle between man and nature. In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, the unyielding power of nature and the dire consequences of man's desire to conquer nature, play out in this cautionary tale. Two examples that will be discussed are Victor Frankenstein's creation of the monster and Robert Walton's attempt to reach the North Pole, which bring about dreadful and grim results for themselves, and those surrounding them. Frankenstein hopes that Walton will "deduce an apt moral" (15) and vicariously learn that man's hubris attempt to overcome nature will inevitably result in failure.
Before delving into the consequences of Frankenstein's actions, it is important to make a distinction in regard to what is synchronous with the laws of nature. On a biological level, it is natural for a man and woman to get together, and create a baby. One may even suggest that God put his hand into the creation. On the contrary, it is viewed unnatural and heretical for man to create another being via Frankenstein's methodology, which will be discussed, more in-depth later on. While the idea of cloning has become part of an active dialogue in scientific circles and the first clone is coming closer to our grasp, the moral implications of cloning is still something closely scrutinized and debated by the majority in modern society. Lastly, in any event in which man goes against any hostile environment created by nature, whether it is a threatening iceberg, tsunami, hurricane, earthquake or scorching desert, there will be a 99.9% chance that nature will triumph man. Shelley's novel provides great evidence that it is foolish for man to go against the laws of nature.
[...] Like Frankenstein's cruel proclamations upon the creature, the creature sees himself as having a “figure hideously deformed and loathsome”(105). While it is debatable whether or not Frankenstein is avoiding marriage on a subconscious or conscious level, the creature definitively yearns to find a mate, to find reciprocal love and nurture. This is evident when he requests that Frankenstein create a female mate for him. The creature seeks community and acceptance but his attempts are futile and often disastrous. Frankenstein's disownment and society's rebuttal of the creature provokes the creature to commit violent acts. [...]
[...] In a poem by Mary Jo Salter, entitled Unfinished Painting, the speaker of the poem is a mother, who describes her baby as having eyes that “were brown as root beer” and how he resembled the “pure joy, remade him in a pose to bear his mother's hope.” It is indeed natural for a mother's eyes to look kindly upon her offspring, as a baby is considered a manifestation of love between a man and woman. It also could be argued that it is innately part of man to procreate in order to have offspring that will carry on the family name. [...]
[...] As a result, the creature becomes devoid of the parental love that is natural between parent and child. In order for a baby of any species to survive, it must be touched and nurtured by his or her parents. This notion is substantiated by research studies conducted on rhesus monkeys and rats, which showed that less loved monkeys and rats would actually exhibit more aggressive, violent and anti-social behavior. Thus, the emotions that the creature exhibits are typical to those of an unloved monkey, rat or an abandoned child. [...]
[...] While Frankenstein desires to animate a lifeless object, Walton's goal is to reach the North Pole, terrain uncharted by any other human at this time. Walton wants to achieve on an epic proportion, even entertaining the hope that he obtain a niche in the temple where the names of Homer and Shakespeare are consecrated” He desire is loaded with narcissism. The trouble with his way of thinking is two-fold. The first is that no humble man would seriously entertain the idea of achieving the level of greatness compared to Homer and Shakespeare. It is this conceit that fuels his battle against nature. [...]
[...] Neither would attempt to conquer the frigid North Pole environment and expect to win. For six years, Walton endured famine, thirst and want of sleep” He suffers unnecessary pain and anguish for battle against nature . When the ship becomes surrounded by ice, and the threat of becoming immersed in the ice becomes more legitimate, Walton is resolute in continuing his odyssey. It is only when there is a threat of mutiny, does he forfeit his dream. Like Frankenstein, he is unable to take accountability for his own actions. [...]
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