One of the salient traits of VictorFrankenstein , the scientist, is his capacity to connect the observations that he makes of the world around him to his own personal ideas of how the world operates. It is as if Victor sees the world around him metaphorically, looking deeply into...
One of the salient traits of Victor Frankenstein, the scientist, is his capacity to connect the observations that he makes of the world around him to his own personal ideas of how the world operates. It is as if Victor sees the world around him metaphorically, looking deeply into the signs that living things send out as he thinks about ways to replicate them.
The incident of the oak tree occurs when Victor is a well-educated, well-brought up, and very curious 15-year-old boy who is already showing signs of his genius.
I beheld a stream of fire issue from an old and beautiful oak [...] and so soon as the dazzling light vanished, the oak had disappeared, and nothing remained but a blasted stump.
The disappearance of the tree, which was struck by lightning, shows Victor the power of electricity and the capacity of nature to both create and destroy. But what really impresses Victor is the result of the interaction between the oak tree and the force of electricity: it showed the power of nature to transform itself altogether.
[...]we found the tree shattered in a singular manner. It was not splintered by the shock, but entirely reduced to thin ribbons of wood. I never beheld anything so utterly destroyed
The concept of electricity was still new and enigmatic in the 19th century. The consequences of electricity were not entirely known, and the idea of capturing the essence of something so powerful was obviously impressive enough to have caused Mary Shelley to use it as a theme in the novel. Therefore, it is no coincidence that the character of Victor would have reacted the same way, wondering whether he could manipulate the power of nature, and wondering whether something so powerful could be the key to the creation of life.