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Hanno 1 Frankensteins Faulty Pursuit of Knowledge Inspired by the mysterious beauty of nature, Victor Frankenstein decides to create a human

being. This dangerously beautiful pursuit perpetuates his self-ruination, destroys his integrity, and illuminates his inability to control neither nature nor his creation. To emphasize Frankensteins self-destruction, Shelley highlights Victors intelligence as she compares the danger of his knowledge to a tree destroyed by lightening. The clash of positive and negative energies to form lightning parallels the positive and unanticipated negative forces that drive Frankenstein to create a human being. In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley symbolically illustrates Frankensteins inspiration to create a human being through the image of lightning striking a tree, but quickly transforms this beautiful image to reflect his self-destruction. Shelley highlights Frankensteins awe of a thunderstorm that approaches his house as young teenager. He explains I remained, while the storm lasted, watching its progress with curiosity and delight. As I stood at the door, on a sudden I beheld a stream of fire issue from an old and beautiful oakthe oak had disappeared, and nothing remained but a blasted stump (Shelley 22). Frankensteins mind ignites with intense curiosity to understand this destructive phenomenon, which parallels the lightning igniting then destroying the tree. This experience nourishes his amazement, wonder, and sudden desire to understand the beauty and power of the natural world, yet foreshadows dangerous consequences of the pursuit and fulfillment of this desire. The lightning sparks his creativity as he abandons his study of Cornelius Agrippa, Albertus Magnus, and Paracelsus (22) to pursue mathematics, and the branches of study appertaining to that science, as being built upon secure foundations (22-23). He suddenly interests himself in the concrete, rather than abstract principles of life. As a result of rigorous studying, he discovers a way to create and give life to a human being.

Hanno 2 His overzealous desire to satisfy his craving for knowledge leads Frankenstein to focus on the completion of this project and to isolate himself from his family to complete it. Although he successfully creates a human being, he immediately resents it when the creature comes to life. His obsession with building the creature blinds his ability to see the negative consequences of possessing the power of nature. Fearing his creation, he exclaims I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate bodybut now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart (35). Unable to endure the aspect of the being [he] created (35), Frankenstein flees from his home and believes he escapes the wrath his creation. He fails to realize the consequences and responsibilities of possessing the power of nature. Frankenstein feels burdened by the creatures murder of his little brother William, the courts condemnation of Justine as the boys murderer, and later the death of Elizabeth. Guilt possesses him, but he still fails to unveil his secret, monstrous creation to anyone. Frankenstein attempts to avoid the creature like he avoids the responsibility of the deaths of William and Justine. Inevitably, the creature finds Frankenstein and demands that he constructs him a mate. To prevent further disaster, Frankenstein reluctantly agrees, but soon realizes his inability to satisfy the request. Unlike the initial creation, Frankenstein thinks about the consequences of creating a second creature. He examines his conscience and wonders [e]ven if they [the creature and his new mate] were to leave Europe, and inhabit the deserts of the new world, yet one of the first results of those sympathies for which the daemon thirsted would be children, and a race of devils would be propagated upon the earth, who might make the very existence of the species of man a condition precarious and full of terror (121).

Hanno 3 For the first time, Frankenstein considers the impact of this creation upon humankind and decides to cease the creation of the mate. Frankenstein responsibly makes a logical decision by examining the consequences of building a second human being before its completion. The creature, however, relentlessly haunts Frankenstein physically, emotionally, and mentally because of his uncompassionate resistance. Frankenstein displays his self-inflicted pain as he reverts back to his original inspiration of the lightening-struck tree and exclaims I am a blasted tree; the bolt has entered my soul (116). Mary Shelley suggests that lightning once inspired Frankenstein, but now shocks him internally. He feels like the tree destroyed by lightning rather than energized by it. This image serves as a perpetual reminder of Frankensteins initial pursuit of knowledge that agonizes and eventually destroys him. The creature haunts Frankenstein as Frankenstein tries to kill him. The creature dramatically devastates Frankensteins life and others he loves, which causes Frankenstein to sulk in his pitiful existence as a brilliant, yet ignorant man. Frankenstein fails to understand the consequences of creating a human being. The beautiful image of lightning striking a tree once inspired Frankenstein, but quickly disgusts and overpowers him when his creation comes to life. His irrevocable mistake wreaks havoc on his life, his family, and his friends as he conceals his guilt for the creatures actions. This secret and the creature himself emotionally devastate, mentally drain, and physically exhaust Frankensteins ability to experience happiness. To highlight Frankensteins horrific experiences, Shelley uses the beautifully dangerous lightning bolt to reveal the irreversible power of nature in his life.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Dover Thrift Edition. New York: Dover Publications ,1994. Print.