Nearly 200 years ago, Mary Shelley described how Victor Frankenstein achieved the seemingly impossible in creating life and how afterwards both he and his creation hurtled into a downward spiral. “Frankenstein” was the first piece of literature that would later become part of the science fiction genre through its protagonist’s use of science, but it is also the ethical and moral issues in the said use as well.
The central moment story is well-known thanks to films and other popular adaptations, though the details are different. Victor Frankenstein, the supreme student of science, forms a creature over two years through obsessive work but only upon bringing it to life does he realize how monstrous he has formed it. The shock of his actions cause his health to fail him and he never truly recovers as his creation ever continues to plague both his mental and physical health until he dies of exhaustion. Yet, Frankenstein’s creature is equal shocked, first at his own existence and then with the realization that he is not human and monstrously so.
The unnamed creature’s struggle towards humanity, achieving language and in-depth thought, is rendered in the end useless without the added element of social involvement with a humanity that shuns him including his own creator. Without the connection to humanity, the creature turns against it and begins taking his revenge the members of the human race most treasured by his creature. After Frankenstein’s rejection to give his creature a female counterpart to share his life, the creature deprives his creator of his new wife. Yet after the death of his creator, the creature seems to realize how human he had become with his utter disregard for life that many real people achieve on their own.
While the book is from a different time and standard of literature that make it strange when compared to current books, “Frankenstein” has an element that keeps it as relevant today as it did back when Mary Shelley wrote it. The ethical and moral dilemmas that not only science but everyday life presents to us can take us down many different paths that include the flawed creator or a monster amongst them.