Consequences of Consciousness
Mary Shelley had an abundance of messages hidden in the text of her novel “Frankenstein”, one of which being that the acquirement of knowledge can be more destructive than beneficial. It is made clear by the protagonist, Victor Frankenstein, that knowledge is, indeed, dangerous. Victor states, “Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, then he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow.”(p. 81) That statement is, in fact, one of the most applicable segments of literature to the world we live in today. Victor couldn’t have said it better: Knowledge is, indeed, dangerous.
Victor Frankenstein’s journey through this novel is used as the ultimate embodiment that the “acquirement of knowledge” is dangerous. Shelley uses his journey to demonstrate the disastrous results that can occur if one tries to exceed the natural limits of the world. When we are first presented with the character traits of Frankenstein, we notice that he is not only very intelligent, but he is also fascinated with the idea of creation. His possession of these traits is what drives him to aim to create not only another being, but to create life itself with the use of science; to reanimate inanimate objects; to play God.
Mary Shelley is not trying to reinforce the biblical thought of a forbidden knowledge, but is rather introducing the thought that science is capable of being very dangerous if it becomes divided from humanity.