Frankenstein Essay, Research Paper
Introduction to Frankenstein? Mary Shelley The ethical debate concerning biotechnological exploration into genetic cloning has created a monster in itself. A multitude of ethical questions arises when considering the effect of creating a genetically engineered human being. Does man or science have the right to create life through unnatural means? Should morality dictate these technological advancements and their effects on society? The questions and concerns are infinite, but so to are the curiosities, which continue to perpetuate the advancement of biotechnological science. In order to contemplate the effects that science can have on our society we can look back in history and literature to uncover the potentiality of our future endeavors. From a historic perspective, the ethical concerns about atomic fusion serves as an important cautionary guide. In its conception the prospect was for the betterment of man however the result may eventually bring our demise with the eminent threat of nuclear warfare. In literature, Mary Shelley?s ?Frankenstein? serves as a bioethical exhortation for today?s technological advances in genetic cloning. Mary Shelly?s ?Frankenstein? provides a clear distinction between the theoretical grandeur of man?s ability to scientifically produce life and the stark reality, which it encompasses. Mary prophetically illustrates some of the potential hazards of breaking through the barrier that separates man from God. Her insight allows the reader to trace these repercussions through Victor Frankenstein, the monster, and eventually society. The character of Victor Frankenstein illustrates the path of destruction scientists can create when ignoring their moral community. Individuals, who possess good ambition for knowledge, power, self-perfection, and strength in one?s society, are vulnerable to their own delusions and instability, to corruption, fate, and nature. Victor was so impassioned with his life?s work that he had lost all soul or sensation but for this one pursuit (Shelley 32). Frankenstein?s blinding ambition prevented him from seeing the potential consequences of his actions until it was to late. The first sign of Victor?s fatal flaw of egotism in that he has forgotten the bond he has with nature and to the people he loves. ?A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me? (Shelley 32). His absence of moral judgments is the catalyst for what becomes the demise of the creature, society and ironically himself. It would be years before Victor fully realized that his neglect of moral obligation to the creature and society had unleashed a hideous monster that would eventually destroy his society as revenge for the monster?s sense of abandonment. ?I shuddered to think that future ages might curse me as their pest, whose selfishness had not hesitated to buy its own peace at the price, perhaps, of the existence of the whole human race? (Shelly 114). Frankenstein, led by the desire to widen human knowledge, finds that the fulfillment of his own condescending ambition has brought only a curse to mankind. Furthermore, the creation of Frankenstein, this monster, illustrates the embodied consequences of our own actions. Mary Shelley uses the monster as statement: everything born pure in this world is susceptible to corruption and evil. The gigantic stature of this creature can also be viewed as a symbol of the enormous perils found in creating life outside of natural bounds. Although the creature received a moral and intellectual education, the lack of a nurturing, companionship, and acceptance from society led him to reject morality and replace it with evil. ?I had cast off all feeling, subdued all anguish, to riot in the excess of my despair. ?Evil henceforth became my good. Urged thus far, I had no choice but to adapt my nature to an element, which I had willingly chosen. The completion of my demoniacal design became an insatiable passion? (Shelley 153). This hideous monster goes on to claim his murderous ways are justified because of his inability to find happiness in this human world. ?Everywhere I see bliss, from which I alone am irrevocably excluded. I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend? (Shelley 66). The monster?s acts of revenge for his miserable existence displays a cold devious presence of evil completely lacking moral decency. Although one may eventually feel sorrow for the monster, the existence of the creature is unnatural and immoral, the behavior of this hideous monster further escalates the dangers of man playing god. The senseless murder of Victor Frankenstein?s friend and family was Mary Shelley?s way of suggesting to society that they could all become victims of scientists like Frankenstein, who unnaturally and unknowingly create potential monsters. Until recently, Mary Shelley?s ?Frankenstein? was viewed as a brilliant work of fiction, however now the messages in her writings call for a substantial consideration from a bioethical standpoint. The act of scientists breaking the domain of human creation is no longer confined to fiction. The bioethical dilemma that haunted Victor Frankenstein in Mary Shelley?s work of fiction has ironically found it?s way into modern science. Geneticists are now on the verge of extracting the secret of creating life from human DNA specimens in hopes to artificially recreate human beings, known as cloning. Scientists should pay attention to the words of Mary Shelley, because a cloned society could evolve into a ?race of devils? (Shelley 65). Geneticists must also exercise extreme caution in their advancement in genetic cloning because we cannot fully comprehend the detrimental effects it will have on society. As the Golden Rule states and suggests, we should ?Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?, which translates into treating each person as an individual rather than as a means to some end. Under this moral guideline, we should turn away from human cloning, because it inevitably involves using humans as means to other humans’ ends. In other words, when cloning another human the clone may not evolve to be what expected of it/him. Mary Shelley was a woman before her time and she not only had a mind full of imagination, but also had the courage in her time to create a character with the power to create another living being out of electricity and chemicals. A down-to-earth, or more logical, ethic must be adopted at the expense of individual freedoms when considering the Mary Shelley?s exhortations in ?Frankenstein.?