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Scientific Morality in Frankenstein

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Scientific Morality in Frankenstein

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a late nineteenth century novel about a scientist named Victor Frankenstein who creates a living person from dead body parts and gives it life through the power of magic and alchemy. It serves as a cautionary tale that sheds light on the ethical boundaries of scientific experimentation and the potential consequences of ignoring those boundaries for the sake of knowledge alone. Although science is not inherently good or evil, it can be used as a tool for both in the hands of imperfect humans. Victor Frankenstein betrays the scientific code of ethics when he creates a man that society can never accept. Victor, as a scientist, follows the very same path which elementary school children follow today when learning the scientific method; observation, hypothesis, experimentation, and conclusion. Victor Frankenstein observes the power of nature through the destructive force of lightning. He sees the potential of such energies and develops a hypothesis based on his studies of Agrippa and Magnus (German scholars and philosophers), who he looks to as mentors. His hypothesis is that through the power of nature, he can reanimate organic tissue with the use of alchemy which his chosen mentors have claimed to achieve. Victor Frankenstein’s experimentation requires a form, which leads him to the charnel houses to claim tissue from the deceased. His hypothesis proves true, and a monster is born.
Throughout the process of his experimentation, Frankenstein has multiple opportunities to stop and contemplate the possible outcome of his experiment and its effect on humanity, but he does not do so. He follows the scientific process to the letter, without trepidation as to his actions. The question of morality is ignored due to its irrelevance to the pursuit of objective knowledge. Victor Frankenstein’s monster

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