What sort of science is Victor learning from Agrippa?

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linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Cornelius Agrippa (1486-1535) was a German mystic who practiced a "science" that combined alchemy, magic, mysticism, and astrology. Two of his books are Three Books of Occult Philosophy and On Calling Spirits. Through the writing of Agrippa, Frankenstein becomes very interested in alchemy, which is a pseudoscience whose main object is to find a way of turning base metals into gold. You could say that Frankenstein adapted the thinking of the alchemists and instead of transforming other metals into gold attempted to transform a corpse into a living being.

An interesting story about Agrippa concerns sightings of him after his death:

There were rumors that Agrippa had summoned demons on his death bed, and that a black dog roamed the countryside as his familiar. The black dog appears in tales as Faustus, Mephistopheles, and even as a grim in the Harry Potter series.

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gbeatty's profile pic

gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Victor is primarily learning alchemy from Agrippa. One might wonder, since Agrippa also wove in mystical teachings with his science, if he also picked up traces of magic, or even mysticism, but the primary learning was alchemy, the pre-chemical art of transformation of elements.

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