Ever since time immemorial, man has strived to continuously improve his life and the general standards of living. This has led to a myriad of inventions some of which positively influence human lives with others resulting in tremendous distractions. The advent of technology has not only simplified life but also resulted in negative implications (Shurtleff 100). Singularity has become a paramount driver of change in transforming every aspect of human life, from sexuality to spirituality. The term ‘singularity’ was conceptualized as a future period during which the world will experience an unprecedented technological change that will ultimately result in an irreversible transformation of human life (Kurzweil 393). Today’s digital era is characterized by an array of human-created technologies whose purpose continue to expand rapidly. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the author of the Frankenstein, clearly illustrated the limitations of technology and its irreversible implications. Frankenstein is a gothic novel that illustrates how Frankenstein attempts to invent immortal human beings led to the creation of monsters. Even though Frankenstein had the best intentions of eliminating the aspect of human death, his experimentations led to the introduction of a monster species that aggravated more destructions. From the story, it is clear that the real monster was Frankenstein, a scientist who ambitious nature overshadowed humanity.
Frankenstein, the main character of the story, desired to conquer death through his long-term scientific experiments. Even though Frankenstein’s intentions were clearly noble, his attempts to introduce human immortals instead resulted in the creation of monsters. However, Frankenstein is unpleased of his creation whom he later regards as a monster because of his physical traits. Frankenstein’s dissatisfaction is described from his own words,
“How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavored to form? His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but this luxuriance only formed a more horrid contrast…..” (Shelley 53).
Frankenstein depicts the character of a monster as he directly contributed to destructions and death. Humans are characterized by human emotions, biological intelligence, rationality, and social attributes. However, if one fails to have either of the traits, he/she is deemed inhuman. The term ‘inhuman’ denotes a lack of humanity and great cruelty. Even though Victor Frankenstein is a human being because of his physical appearance, he is deprived of human emotions, rationality, and logical sense (Shurtleff 100).
A vast majority of people perceive a monster to be a deformed, hideous, nonhuman creature. However, a monster is any creature that lacks any shred of humanity and behaves monstrously by performing acts that are meant to harm and deteriorate the quality of human lives. A human being can be equated to be a monster based on his/her behavior and character. From the novel, one learns of Frankenstein’s innate desire to utilize his scientific experimentations to create an immortal being. His desire overshadows both his rational and logical thoughts on the repercussions of creating the creature. Frankenstein was blinded by his own ambitions of creating a person of his own. Even though Frankenstein intentions were good, he had not considered the negative consequences that would arise with his innovation. It is for this profound reason that he remained mum after realizing that the monster he created murdered his brother William. Frankenstein acted in a monstrous way when he failed to protect his loved ones from the wrath of the monster. He also sought to avoid any blame when he decided to keep quiet about the events that led to his brother’s death.
“I stood fixed, gazing intently: I could not be mistaken. A flash of lightning illuminated the object, and discovered its shape plainly to me; its gigantic stature, and the deformity of its aspect, more hideous than belongs to humanity, instantly informed me that it was the wretch, the filthy daemon, to whom I had given life. What did he there? Could he be (I shuddered at the conception) the murderer of my brother?” (Shelley 86).
From the story, the monster felt a deep lack of love ever since it came into existence. Frankenstein’s dissatisfaction with his own creation is depicted from how he treated the monster. Just like a child reaching for their parent, the monster also tried to reach out to his creator when it stretched out its hand to hold Frankenstein. Frankenstein remains cold towards his creature who clearly needed love, care, and friendship. Frankenstein’s creation who has been labeled as a monster because of its abnormal and horrific physical appearance portrays a sense of humanity. The monster felt no sense of belonging in a society that despised his existence. His creator, Frankenstein anticipated the death of the monster to relieve him of guilt and disappointments. Below is Frankenstein’s statement,
“My promise fulfilled, the monster would depart forever. Or (so my fond fancy imaged) some accident might meanwhile occur to destroy him and put an end to my slavery forever” (Shelley 184).
Even though the monster sought to gain Frankenstein’s love and attention, Frankenstein treats it with despise and hatred. Frankenstein ignores the monster’s good deeds and labels it as an in a despicable creature. Because of Frankenstein’s continuous ignorance the monster was provoked to perform inhumane and perform dreadful deeds. At the end of the story, the monster revealed his feelings to Walton as they stand over Frankenstein’s corpse.
“Think you that the groans of Clerval were music to my ears? My heart was fashioned to be susceptible of love and sympathy, and when wrenched by misery to vice and hatred, it did not endure the violence of the change without torture such as you cannot even imagine” (Shelley 272).
From the above statement, it is clear that the monster, like all human beings, just needed to feel loved and appreciated. However, Frankenstein and his family treated him with disrespect and hatred. For this reason, the monster felt abandoned, despised, and exiled from the rest of the society. It is for this profound reason that the monster took matters into his own hands to avenge every mistreatment that he was forced to endure. The creature portrays a human character as he possesses consciousness and free will. If the monster had received fair treatment, love, care, and kindness, then it would not have opted to kill or destroy anything valued by man.
In conclusion, Mary Shelley depicts a world where an individual’s humanity is overshadowed by his desires and great ambitions. In addition, the waves of technology advancements continue to have social and moral repercussions on man. The exponential rate of information technologies is further expected to encompass all human knowledge and proficiency (Kurzweil 394). Just like Frankenstein who did not foresee the repercussions of his creation, so do men also fail to notice the unforeseen negative implications of creating Artificial Intelligence systems, robots, among other inventions.
Shelley, Mary. “frankenstein.” Medicine and Literature, Volume Two. CRC Press, 2018. 35-52.
Kurzweil, Ray. “The singularity is near.” Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2014. 393-406.
Shurtleff, D. Keith. “The effects of technology on our humanity.” Parameters 32.2 (2002): 100.