Frankenstein’s Anti-Enlightenment Theory. The Age of the Enlightenment considers knowledge power. This theory focuses mainly on science and reason. Romanticism began to take root shortly after 18th century. Many liberal activists and writers valued an era that stressed individualism, inspiration, as well subjectivity. Mary Shelley was the author of Frankenstein. She is also one of these writers.
Frankenstein’s actions show the flaws in Romanticism’s ideals. Shelley thought the Enlightenment was self-centered. This archetype is characterized by egotism as well as the belief that everything in the universe is good. The Enlightenment was a time for scientists to explore the limits of human knowledge and advance scientific reasoning. Many tried to discredit others’ natural abilities. Victor, a egotistical personality, is intended to represent an Enlightenment thought leader. Ingolstadt professors warn him not to ignore the consequences of his plans to create a superior, stronger, human-like creature. He believes that “a new species will bless me as its creator, source; many happy and outstanding natures would owe my existence to me” (page 40). Victor is punished for his shortsightedness in the end. Victor created the monster to symbolize Europe’s industrialization. The plot thickens and the monster commits a rebellion by killing Victor’s brother William. This is where the story reaches its climax. It shows what happens when you imitate God’s unique ability in creating life.
Victor doesn’t care about the consequences. Victor doesn’t consider the consequences of his actions. This helps Victor to realize what he really wants, that he is actually worth something. Victor is confronted by the monstrous in Montanvert and asks for a female. Victor creates a female version of the monster out of sympathy. Victor decides to not continue the project, a sign of Victor’s Romanticism. The monster vows to kill Victor and his family in response. Shelley, likewise, believes that Enlightenment was a failure that devalued the worth of the poor. The poor are represented in this novel by Elizabeth, Justine, as well as other women. The leading female characters of this novel, including Justine and Elizabeth, were not aware that Victor was created. They represent the ideal of Romanticism and the best that the world has to offer in love. Victor’s powerful women Elizabeth and Justine do not know the extent of Victor’s evil. They are not suffering.
The Age of the Enlightenment saw women and the poor as possessions. They were considered to be less socially well-off than the rich and men. Shelley debunks the notion that the monster can thrive only if he has a female counterpart. This novel examines society through a different lens. It is Shelley’s perception of female characters in Enlightenment societies, and the role they play in society. Robert Walton, however, is Frankenstein’s male lead character. Walton is the voice of reason in this novel. He helps Victor recover from his struggle with death and life. Victor’s tales about a monstrous creature who completely destroyed his life are told to him.
The Enlightenment is Victor’s nightmare. It destroys all good things and gives Victor knowledge that leads him to suffering. Mary Shelley was a famous English novelist who is known for her Gothic novels. Romanticism can cure this suffering by bringing individualism and inspiration to life.