Dr. Sutton's Technology and Society Course Discussion Center

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QUESTION:

Dr. Frankenstein said that he wanted to stop death so that people would not suffer.  Given such humane motives, why did so many bad things happen?"

Robert Sutton

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"The road to hell is paved with good intentions," as the old saying goes. Dr. Frankenstein was so blinded by his want to stop death he didn't stop to think of the "side effects" of his actions. He wanted to stop death and was on the right track when he re-animated the frog in Mary Shelley's movie version. In a sense, like happens everyday in ERs around the globe with people who flatline, the electricity was applied to the frog and he was brought back to life just as people are brought back to life when the electric jolt from the paddles jump starts someone's heart. When Dr. Frankenstein diverted to piecing together a human being to bring to life, he was no longer trying to stop death but create life. There is a big difference. With all of the mechanisms (chemistry, physics, etc.) that he used he, in essence, gave birth to a child. A full-grown child that would still need to be cared for and taught. Dr. Frankenstein lost sight of his original mission by this maddening new obsession, and in doing so, he did not "look before he leaped." He did not take into account whether or not the being he created would, in fact, be a person with feelings and emotions or even with learning capabilities, for that matter. My opinion, he did not just leap, he jumped off a cliff without looking to see how far a drop it was. Just as in today's world, a person needs to stop and think things through from every angle before deciding on becoming a parent (creating a life). The kind of impact on the person's life, other's lives, and the child's life that the decision would have would need to be considered before any action is taken. Dr. Frankenstein did not take any of these things into consideration and just as most "dead beat dads" do not take responsibility for the lives they helped create, he walked away from the life he created. He had the idea that his creation would end up dying without care, so he just turned his back on it and walked away from his responsibility to follow-up on what he had created, just as a "dead beat dad" walks away without looking back. Dr. Frankenstein may have realized his vision stopping death if he had stayed with the idea of re-animation of life instead of re-creation of life.
Shari Fowler <tigerrse@bellsouth.net>
- Monday, February 21, 2000 at 20:19:04 (EST)
Dr.Frankenstein as a youth was filled with ambition and had a zest for knowledge. He became a brilliant man and desired to use the knowledge that he had attained over the years for the betterment of mankind.When life dealt him some bad luck, all of young Dr.Frankenstein's good intentions were nolonger for the good of mankind. After the loss of his mother all of his good intentions turned to selfish intentions. Young Dr. Frankenstein's intentions were to defy God as we know him, or whoever he or she is to you. Frankenstein vowed to cheat death by creating life. To create life is defiling God's law because God can only create life as we know life to be. Therefore any life that man creates is filled with deformity and all he has produced is some working body parts and bad consequence are inevitable.
Robert Johnson
- Tuesday, February 22, 2000 at 16:15:36 (EST)
In this life,man is appointed once to die.there is no escaping death and life is filled with vanity and vexation of spirit.Many days many sorrows.
Marie DeBose <mdebose27@hotmail>
- Wednesday, February 23, 2000 at 11:09:54 (EST)
Although Victor's intentions were humane, the outcome of his actions was not humane. The "people" he re-animated were hideous creations--outcasts of society. Victor did not stop to think of how these creatures would be accepted, if at all. He did not even seek ways to improve the appearance of Elizabeth after he saw what the monster had looked like. He was driven by his desires and there was no room for logic in his decision making process.
Latanya Bland <tovabland@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, February 23, 2000 at 14:49:53 (EST)
Although Victor's intentions were humane, the outcome of his actions was not humane. The "people" he re-animated were hideous creations--outcasts of society. Victor did not stop to think of how these creatures would be accepted, if at all. He did not even seek ways to improve the appearance of Elizabeth after he saw what the monster had looked like. He was driven by his desires and there was no room for logic in his decision making process.
Latanya Bland <tovabland@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, February 23, 2000 at 14:50:55 (EST)
The world would be a very crowded place if no one died. Was Victor's intention that only the rich, wise or only his loved ones would never die? We aren't told this, so we really have no way of knowing if his intentions were noble. He devoted so much time and energy to this study that it became all consuming. In time nothing but the science, the knowelge itself, was important. It overshadowed even his own health. Shari said he walked away from his creation, but I believe that in the movie version we saw in class, he believed the "being" had died when it was struck on the head with a large wooded beam. He thought he had closed the door on all of this when he returned home. The door was opened again with the death of his brother William. As the Bible says we will reap what we sow, or as in today's language what goes around, comes around, either way think about what we are doing. Take the time to think about what our actions might bring about, and try not to let it consume us. We want to achieve good, not be controlled by our own ambitions.
DAbbott
- Thursday, March 09, 2000 at 13:01:40 (EST)
In response to DAbbott, if you will, recall in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, after the beam hit the "being" and Frankenstein presumed it dead, that Frankenstein laid down to sleep. He was awakened by a storm and saw the "being" standing there. The "being" proceeded to chase Frankenstein around the loft and ended up tearing the door off its hinges and leaving. Frankenstein knew good and well that the "being" was alive. He assumed that the being would surely die from the colera epidemic (I think that's what it was). So, in my defense, Frankenstein did walk away.
Shari
- Tuesday, March 14, 2000 at 15:43:17 (EST)