In a modern world, a number of scientific attempts have been already made and will be made in order to improve human life and create the most appropriate conditions for living. The results of the scientific progress are evident: people stop dying because of scarlet fever, get chances to be diagnosed effectively anytime, use such technologies like defibrillators to save lives, etc. The period when Marry Shelley wrote her novel Frankenstein was not characterized by such kind of a progress; still, people truly believed in the power of science and were ready to neglect numerous ethical principles to achieve the best results. Dr. Frankenstein is one of the brightest literary examples of how science can change everyday life. Can science go too far? The novel gives an exact answer “Yes”, and humans’ main function is not to lose the control over science. In Frankenstein, Shelley perfectly addresses a theme of scientific ethics and the role of the scientists in society; she describes how crucial the evaluation of knowledge and achievements can be, uses ethical issues as the main weapon for a successful continuation of a research, and underlines the importance of taking responsibility for everything done and offered.
In order to get as many benefits from science as possible, it is very important to consider several points. First, people should evaluate their achievements before doing something. Victor Frankenstein was aware of the potential of his knowledge that may be derived from the experiment (Davies 33); still, he failed to estimate its level. Scientists have to identify clearly the scopes of their activities. Second, the consideration of ethics in science is important, and the example of Dr. Frankenstein’s activities shows that “science divorced from ethics will produce monsters” (Bloom 126). And finally, people should take responsibility of each action and never abandon their creations even if they are not as successful as there were expected. Still, people should also understand that it is not an easy task to give a birth to anyone. It is the god’s main function to “breathe over a figurine and brought it to life” (Rogozea et al 265), and people are not able to cope with this task by their own. They are in need of some help, and they should ask for it in time. Therefore, the consideration of these three above-mentioned issues is necessary in for the scientists not to make science go too far.
Shelley’ Frankenstein helps to explain how it is necessary for people to be able to evaluate their abilities and the level of knowledge. From the very beginning of the novel, Victor is a successful and smart young man, who has a dream to become a scientist. He demonstrates rather healthy scientific interest to create something amazing for society. He understands the necessity of education in science to find appropriate practical implementation of his theoretical knowledge. Still, his ambitions and the desire to keep everything in secrete play an evil joke with him. The results turn out to be dangerous. Dr. Frankenstein cannot define properly the concepts of life and death and mix them in one terrible creature “discovering the cause of generation and life… bestowing animation upon lifeless matter” (Shelley 36). Shelley proves that it is so easy to fail at estimating personal abilities and offer the products, which are dangerous for society.
The success of Shelley’s novel lies in her ability to combine ethical and scientific principles and explain how science can destroy the line between life and death and goes against all existing ethical principles. Human nature is based on life and death. This ethical concept has a long history and a number of supporters. A person is born, develops, gains knowledge, meets personal demands, and dies, giving more places for another life. It is a circle that cannot be changed. And Dr. Frankenstein makes an attempt to break this circle and neglect all possible rules. The result was predictable: all people Victor used to love were killed by his experiment, and expectations were broken, and the control was lost.
Nowadays, people continue making numerous attempts to use science and improve the conditions of human life. Of course, they have more credible sources on how to use science and take into consideration the role of ethics. Such opportunity provides people with a chance to succeed in making their experiments. They should also admit the fact that their work should not be kept in secret as Dr. Frankenstein’s was. And there always should be people, who take responsibility and adapt the creation to the existing conditions. In Frankenstein, the creature itself cannot be called a pure evil one. The point is that the creature becomes a monster as a result of its creator’s attitude and inability to take responsibility. All the above-mentioned points concerning a successful outcome of an experiment are neglected by the main character of the novel. Even if the scientist succeeds in breaking the line between life and death, he fails to offer an appropriate continuation of his achievements.
In general, Shelley’s Frankenstein shows how science, ethics, and people have and have not to cooperate. It is not enough to have knowledge and strive for some discoveries. It is necessary to get prepared for new achievements. Dr. Frankenstein serves as an example who takes wrong actions and makes wrong conclusions. Instead of working with the creature, he abandons it with no definitions, explanations, and knowledge about the world around. In addition to the fact that he breaks all scientific rules and principles, he forgets all ethical norms and how it is to be humane in regards to the creature. It does not matter what and when is created, people should be responsible for everything they do.
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