Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein


At the time of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley’s story about life created in a laboratory would have seemed diabolical, her state of mind might have been questioned. She wrote in the context of storytelling rituals involving Lord Byron, and Percy Shelley, where the authors dared one another to create the most outrageously mind blowing story. Mary took up the gauntlet and created Frankenstein, the monster.

The death of Mary’s mom, the popular feminist Mary Wolstonecraft, influenced Mary exceptionally. She was eager to prove herself the literary equal to her male companions, she may have been obsessed by the untimely fatality of the mother who died in childbirth. The personality of Frankenstein is not an anomaly, he was produced within the context of the scientific transformations happening at that time; advances in medicine particularly and the understanding of the human body. Medical students had corpses stolen from cemeteries for better understanding of the human body. Hence the anatomical creation, Frankenstein. Mary Shelley absorbed this context, and crucially, she recognized an exciting experiment by scientist Gabon Del Monte, the leading chemistry teacher at the college of Bologna in Italy.



Gabon felt that life was electrical energy. Making use of a lifeless frog, he proved that by operating large voltage arcs of electrical power the creature came to life again, albeit momentarily. This led to the concept of the physical body as a bio-mechanical system. Via this understanding, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein begins to take shape in her thoughts. Victor Frankenstein is a youthful scientist/doctor who experiments with lightening to make his well-known devil. This was the essence of the science myth, embracing the science of the day and improving on it. Victor Frankenstein saw lightening strike an oak, dividing it completely, this led him to his ominous experiments with electrical power in the laboratory.

Today, we see that electrical energy is the stuff of life. We know it may assist in the cure of paralysis since electric signals pass through the brain to ignite the body to action. Studies with laboratory animals show that the spinal cord might be more important than the brain in communicating these signals. In fact, there might be spontaneous movement in the physical body that is not entirely based upon the last signals sent out from the brain. The brain gradually dies rather like a smart TV, closing gradually as soon as power is detached. In the human body also, motion stays after the brain has discontinued. Bodily life may be more complex, and not entirely dependent upon brain activity. The ancient Egyptians thought this, and embalmed their dead with the idea that the body might be used again. Shelley’s novel has Dr Frankenstein making use of human bones from burial grounds as well as animal bones from slaughterhouses to create a superhuman.

Today, human genome work is a rough equivalent, uncovering life at the molecular level, evolving to DNA, some 2 billion pieces of detail that is yet a mystery to science. Specialists believe that knowledge of the series will enable us to produce life synthetically, according to hereditary cartography. R J Craig, an expert in gene technology, claims to have made the first fake cell; artificial life forms create numerous opportunities, as well as dangers. Not only are we potentially able to eliminate disease, but we could create bio mechanisms that can withstand the increasing tension of climate etc. Shelley’s Frankenstein was a smart, though awkward being. Virtually two hundred years later, supercomputers are quickly approaching parity with the ancient Egyptian myth, the story of Frankenstein, and the human mind. Shelley’s monster became a damaging force. The creature’s intelligence is Mary Shelley’s prophetic vision of modern technology. US Scientist, Dr Pack, is harnessing supercomputers to create the world’s first fabricated mind by examining the neural circuits making up the brain’s neocortex, acquiring knowledge through experiments with rats. This may open the door to learning in detail how the mind works in people, the objective being to create a human mind complete with ideas and awareness. Is this the double-edged sword envisioned by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein? Frankenstein tries to connect with every human he meets, then is progressively isolated and alienated.

Almost two hundred years after the book, parents are busy designing their youngsters. Fertility professional Dr Jeff Steinberg uses a test called PT to anticipate defective or uncommon genes. Knowing the exact number of chromosomes an embryo possesses could help preempt life-depleting illnesses. Dr Steinberg announced a couple of years ago the capacity to control hair colour, body height, skin tone, athleticism, all attributes of race. In Mary Shelley’s story, science runs amok and modern technology attacks back, but could this ghoulish science bring benefits if controlled and understood.

Shelley’s father disowned her when she eloped with the poet, Percy Shelley, nevertheless William Godwin gave his little girl a fine start in life. Mary was exposed to modern philosophical ideas, and her father’s educative influence gave her the distinction of being the world’s first science fiction author. Shelley is thought of as the creator of the genre, since her work contains the three most vital components of a masterful sci-fi story, plausible science based on existing technology, a humanistic critique of science, and forecasts of uncontrollable effects. In 1851 at the age of 53 Mary Shelley died of a suspected brain tumour. She had created an entire literary genre, though she was a rebel, an outsider, whose life was marked by tragedy, death by drowning of her partner, Percy Shelley, and the loss of five infants. Her masterpiece reflects our concern about scientific innovation today; more and more dangerously complicated science is replacing the crude experimentation of Victor Frankenstein. Frankenstein – Mary Shelley, article by Alice Wickham editor of New London Writers. Article Source:

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