What was Victor Frankenstein's desire when he wanted to recreate life in humans?

Expert Answers
amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mary Shelley wrote this book in response to a challenge to "write a ghost story" with her friends one rainy day.  Her mind was filled with stories about scientists and their desire for knowledge and reanimating lifeless tissue.  She had a dream of a young scientist working feverishly to recreate life in a lifeless being and succeeding.  In her dream, the being shocked the young scientist so much that he fled, realizing too late that he had made a huge mistake.

Armed with this information, Mary began writing her book.  She incorporated other messages into the text (parent/child conflict, the idea of unconditional love and responsibility of parents to their children, abandonment, advancements in science and technology, etc.), but the birth of the story began with the idea that scientists may be pushing the envelope a little when they attempt to do things that we humans are not meant to do.  Creation of life is left up to the creator.  Obviously, when Frankstein "creates" life, he messes up by abandoning that "son" and opens himself up to the torture and pain that his vengeful son brings on his family and friends.

In the book, Victor pursues the idea of reanimating life as a result of the pain he suffers in losing his mother, Caroline.  She dies after several hard days of caring for Elizabeth who suffered from the fever.  Elizabeth recovered, but Caroline succumbed to the disease. 

lisbarbre | Student

It may seem obvious, but I think playing God. And of course, as Greek mythology teaches, when the hubris of humans makes them think they are equal with the gods, only bad things will happen.