Frankenstein Questions and Answers
by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein book cover
Start Your Free Trial

In Mary Shelley's novel, how does Victor Frankenstein fail to act ethically?

Expert Answers info

Walter Fischer eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2013

write4,086 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

In Chapter III of Mary Shelley's classic of Gothic literature, Frankenstein: Or, the Modern Prometheus, the author presents a surprisingly eloquent and somewhat prescient argument with respect to the moral boundaries that should, perhaps, confine scientific experimentation the consequences of which could harbor ill for the whole of mankind. It is in this chapter that Shelley's protagonist, Victor Frankenstein, ponders, if only briefly, the ethics underlying his determined commitment to develop the means of reanimating dead tissue. As the physically and mentally exhausted figure of Frankenstein relates his tragic story to Robert Walton aboard the latter's ship in the frigid cold of the Arctic, he qualifies the tale that follows with a warning against the pursuit of knowledge in the absence of any sort of moral compass:

"Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be...

(The entire section contains 556 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

check Approved by eNotes Editorial