Comparison between Frankenstein and "the birthmark"

Essay by askas1B+, March 2008

download word file, 3 pages 3.0

The Industrial Revolution that was happening in the early twilight of the 19th centuries changed the world forever. The introduction of science as a possible cure for all became apparent. Many fascination inventions such as steamboat, cars and electricity were created and the outlook for the future was bright. However, because of this, many scientists turned a blind eye to the dangers of knowledge and unwittingly caused many sorrows in their process to become "god". Such examples are introduced in the following two stories: Frankenstein and "The birthmark". In both stories, the author created a character that was to symbolize the scientists of the early 19th centuries who believed that anything was possible with science. In "The Birthmark", Hawthorne's character Aylmer tries to remove his wife's birthmark with his use of science but ends up killing her. While in Frankenstein, the protagonist Victor attempts to use science to create life but ends up destroying those there were closest to him.

There are many similarities between the two stories, especially between the characteristics of Victor Frankenstein and Aylmer. Both men have a deep passion and love for science that borders on obsession. One of the prevalent themes in both stories is the danger of playing god. In Frankenstein, Victor attempts to go beyond accepted human limits and access the knowledge of life and therefore becoming godlike. The story begins with Walton's letter to his sister. From the letter, we are introduced to the danger of science. Victor tells Walton, "You seek for knowledge and wisdom, as I once did; and I ardently hope that the gratification of your wishes may not be a serpent to sting you, as mine has been." (pg 31) The theme of destructive knowledge is then developed further throughout the story as the tragic events and...