Tags: Creative Writing Class For KidsMath Homework Problem SolverUniversity Of Montana Creative WritingEcclesiastes Essay TopicEducation Reforms In EssayBuy And Sell Business PlanArt Of Problem Solving Intermediate AlgebraCreative Writing Courses LeicesterApu Application EssayEssay Question For The Witch Of Blackbird Pond
By accepting that Victor’s work is inherently perverted and bound to end hideously, Mellor’s accusation leaves us wondering what exactly is meant by “unnatural.” Which real-life interventions are guaranteed to produce a freak?
While Mary Shelley’s momentous novel was published anonymously in 1818, the commemorations began last year to mark the dark and stormy night on Lake Geneva when she (then still Mary Godwin, having eloped with her married lover Percy Shelley) conceived what she called her “hideous progeny.”In May, MIT Press will publish a new edition of the original text, “annotated for scientists, engineers, and creators of all kinds.” As well as the explanatory and expository notes throughout the book, there are accompanying essays by historians and other writers that discuss Frankenstein’s relevance and implications for science and invention today.
It’s a smart idea, but treating Frankenstein as a meditation on the responsibilities of the scientist, and the dangers of ignoring them, is bound to give only a partial view of Shelley’s novel. Moreover, focusing on Shelley’s text doesn’t explore the scope of the Frankenstein myth itself, including its message for scientists.
In her revised edition of 1831, she emphasized the Faustian aspect of the tale, writing in her introduction that she wanted to show how “supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world.” In other words, it was preordained that the creature would be hideous, and inevitable that its creator would recoil “horror-stricken.” That wasn’t then a character failing of Victor’s.
This idea invites the interpretation that Mellor offers in the new edition: “Nature prevents Victor from constructing a normal human being: His unnatural method of reproduction spawns an unnatural being, a freak.”She sees this as a feminist interpretation (Nature being, in her view, feminine and inviolable), I feel that to the extent that Shelley’s book supports a feminist reading, it is not this, and to the extent that one might draw this interpretation, it is not a feminist one.
This is one of those stories everyone knows even without having read the original: Man makes monster; monster runs amok; monster kills man.
It may come as a surprise to discover that the creator, not the creature, is called Frankenstein, and that the original creature was not the shambling, grunting, green-faced lunk played by Boris Karloff in the 1931 movie but an articulate soul who meditates on John Milton’s Paradise Lost.
The moral and philosophical landscape it might have explored would be no less rich.
That Victor did not do this—that he spurned his creation the moment he had made it, merely because he judged it ugly—means that, to my mind, the conclusion we should reach is the one that the speculative-fiction author Elizabeth Bear articulates in the new volume.
Is it the case for so-called “three-parent babies” made by mitochondrial transplantation, a misleading term apparently invented for the very purpose of insisting on its unnaturalness?
Would the first human clone be the next “unnatural freak,” if ever that technology becomes possible and desirable?