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Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and the Enlightenment

How is Mary Shelley's Frankenstein a myth for modern man and science?

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Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is both a response to enlightenment scientific ideals and an anticipation of 20th century scientific practice. In order to think about how the text is a comment on modern science and modern man, it may help you to think back to the things you've learning about the Enlightenment itself. How was the Enlightenment different than the time before? Because it marked the development of one major idea: that one could learn something about an object by examining it. It sounds simple, but this was a radically new idea. Scientists like Francis Bacon, Thomas Sprat, Robert Hooke, Robert Boyle, among many others, believed that it was possible and right for humans to seek a dominion over things (which included lesser creatures, i.e. nonhuman animals). They believed that you could obtain a perfect knowledge of an object if you could examine it closely. Tools like microscopes were a way of perfecting humanity itself, because they improved the capacities of the human senses. They believed that if you could sensually grasp objects, you could understand them, and thus control them.
[Side Note: Thinkers like Adam Smith, John Locke, and Rousseau all believed you could apply these ideas to ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in the context of the Enlightenment. I discuss the ways in which Shelley in addresses ideas of scientific experimentalism, experimental philosophy, and enlightenment ideas of human nature.

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