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Word Count: 786
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley From the Age of Enlightenment arose the belief that reason was the answer to all of mankinds problems Recent breakthroughs in the sciences not only allowed for a greater understanding of the world but more importantly instilled the belief that no feat was out of reach Mathematics provided man with certain knowledge Structured rational thought overcame the injustice of superstition and bigotry and revealed truth This mind-set reigned supreme throughout the eighteenth century However in 1818 when Mary Shelley published her renowned first novel a new way of thought known as Romanticism had emerged to challenge it This movement shied away from a fixation on reason and the pursuit of knowledge Instead it focused on mankind in his primal nature stressing the value of emotion the spirit and the potential to flourish by staying true to the natural order of man and his relationship to the universe and himself In her imaginative novel Frankenstein Mary Shelley champions nature and the natural The first character and the novels protagonist Victor Frankenstein initially harbors an innocent interest in science but this interest soon develops into an obsession with conquering lifes mysteries He recounts this effort to Robert Walton a sea captain and explorer who like Victor tries to surpass natures limitations in the pursuit of knowledge Through Victors account and the effect it has on Robert Shelley reaches several conclusions all bearing evidence to Romanticisms influence Shelley discloses the theme of her book when towards the beginning of his tale Victor advises Robert Learn from me if not by my precepts at least by my example how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow 54 In Robert Victor sees many of mistakes responsible for his lamentable past Foremost was his ardent desire for the acquisition of
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