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What is the overall meaning of Frankenstein?It has to do with an essay that asks what...

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ash-o-ley | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 6, 2010 at 6:22 AM via web

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What is the overall meaning of Frankenstein?

It has to do with an essay that asks what irony contributes to the overall meaning of the novel.

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 6, 2010 at 6:33 AM (Answer #1)

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The irony in the novel "Frankenstein" is that while a human is trying to emulate God under a fit of hedonistic and scientific ambition and tries to create another human, it is the morbid and monstrous creature that comes as a result of this project who really shows the behaviors expected of a true and decent human being.

The creature goes through all the stages of need that every human being experiences: the quest for identity, the need for company, the want of connection, the desire for love, the love for philosophy and literature, the rage of injustice, the fear of the unknown, shame, and guilt.  His creator, however, aside from anger and fear, is not as three-dimensional as his creation. Could it be that, in the making of a monster, he created a jewel in disguise?

And yet, as much as he might want to be a part of a natural world, the creature simply cannot. The poor creature has every single human need and desire inside of him, but is invariably shun from the world due to its grotesque aspect, and to his horrible nature.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 6, 2010 at 6:48 AM (Answer #2)

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Part of the fundamental meaning of Shelley's work is an examination of science and its applications.  The premise of the work is the scientist who seeks to create life through experimentation.  Once Victor creates life via the monster, the fundamental questions become where the responsibility lies.  What responsibility does science have for the consequences of its creation?  Is there such a thing as "pure science" where real world implications do not apply?  Of the many meanings within the novel, the fundamental notion of scientific progress is examined and the cost of this advancement.

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