Frankenstein's Dangerous Pursuit of Knowledge

Frankenstein's Dangerous Pursuit of Knowledge

  • Submitted By: WhiteRabbit
  • Date Submitted: 02/27/2009 12:59 AM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 950
  • Page: 4
  • Views: 4034

From an early age, Victor Frankenstein becomes obsessed with "natural philosophy" after happening upon an old book by Cornelius Agrippa at the age of thirteen. He immediately procures all the works of natural philosophers that he can get his hands on and studies them with an intense enthusiasm that can only be described as a compulsion. His obsession is narrowed further after he learns of "the philosopher's stone and the elixir of life" (23). Though he is unconcerned with the wealth aspect of alchemy, he hoped to "banish disease from the human frame, and render man invulnerable to any but a violent death" (23). His intentions, even those that concern "the raising of ghosts or devils" (24) start off good. It is only when he begins to think of absolutely nothing else, and pursues the natural with an unnatural obsession, that everything seems to spiral out of control.

Though he begins with Elizabeth to socialize with, he has little else besides family, and nothing else once he leaves for the University of Ingolstadt, especially after the death of his mother so soon before his departure. Neither able to grieve properly nor come to terms with his mother's sudden death, he throws himself further into his study of natural science (and creating life in particular, in part, perhaps, due to his wanting his mother back), his obsession not helped by the befriending of a teacher possibly just as devoted to the subject as he. "From this day natural philosphy, and particularly chemistry, in the most comprehensive sense of the term, became nearly my sole occupation." (32)

Victor Frankenstein's deteriorating physical state while working so hard to create his monster is vividly detailed. "My cheek had grown pale with study and my person had become emaciated with confinement...." (pg 36). The more that Victor excels in his endeavors, and brings his project to life, the more his own body begins to decay. Similarly, his mental state is equally in danger: despite...

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