Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Finding Humanity in Monstrosity

Science revolves around the idea of the unknown: The concept of exploring frontiers that have never before been encountered by other humans. Particularly in its fictionalized versions, the field presents the various endeavours of man in taking nature and manipulating it to create something new, ultimately playing God in the process. The morality of the act and the limits of humans are thus put into question.

Marie Shelley’s Frankenstein and its subsequent adaptations take this a step further by presenting the man-facilitated creation of another human being and the aftermath. Through the character of Doctor Frankenstein, we look at the lengths to which man will go for the purpose of satisfying their ego and discovering, regardless of whether or not others are harmed. As the inventor descends into insanity, we see how limits are completely disregarded and forgotten as he pursues his goal of venturing into the unknown. Furthermore, the story questions what comprises humanity, what makes up a human being. Because of this, the more emotional aspects of science are taken into account.

In adapting the source material, many new versions of the story saw the portrayal of the creation as a dumb creature, a counterpart to the book’s seemingly intelligent monster. Analyzing this decision, I believe that a number of interpretations can be taken into account. One can say that the monster was portrayed this way in order to recognize the fallibility of man and his abilities, and how science and technology can also have their faults. It can also be seen as a way of portraying how man’s desire for superiority is satisfied in the most gruesome of ways. In the end, Frankenstein pushes the reader to take a closer look at science, and to delve for humanity in the chaos that it can create.

Rillo 2013-14388

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