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The Pursuit Of Knowledge in Frankenstein

During the nineteenth century, romance was a basis of many stories for many
authors. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley expresses the ideas of life during this age in her
gothic romance, Frankenstein. A theme is a major idea displayed in a work that is
connected to the work in many ways. Many themes are found throughout this novel, one
of which is the pursuit of knowledge. Throughout the story, the three major characters
display a strong need to accomplish their goals in order to gain fame. Robert Walton is in
search of the north pole for fame, Victor Frankenstein is in thought of creating a
human-like monster for fame, and his monster is able to learn by observation for
acceptance among the human race.
First, the pursuit of knowledge is shown through Robert Walton in his journey to
the North Pole. As a strong ship captain, Walton feels this trip will provide him with fame
among all in his home land. Because of his high ambitions and need for accomplishment,
Walton becomes lonely and longs for an associate. While trapped on the ice, Walton finds
a man and allows him to tell his story of why he is lost so far north. With Walton’s
pursuit, Shelley begins the novel.
Second, the pursuit of knowledge is displayed in Victor Frankenstein. This
brilliant science student dreams of creating the first living being in his laboratory. With his
strong drive, his dream is accomplished, he said, “the beauty of the dream vanished, and
breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.” (55) Due to his dream, and the horror of
his monster, Victor’s hope for everlasting fame is turned against him and the monster kills
his friends and family. Due to all of the stress from continual work, Victor’s pursuit
eventually leads to his death. Just before his death however, Victor tells Walton important
advice, “seek happiness in tranquillity and avoid ambition, even if it be only the apparently

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The Pursuit Of Knowledge in Frankenstein. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:12, October 03, 2015, from