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

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

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

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team