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TitleThe threats of science in Nineteenth- Century England as Reflected in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and H.G. Wells' The Island of DR. Moreau
Author Anant Utchin
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SUMMARY

This paper explicates how both Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and H.G. Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau present the downsides of science in the context of the scientific phenomena and the revolutionary and threatening ideas in science in the nineteenth century. In Shelley's novel, science, as represented by the protagonist Frankenstein, who is himself a natural philosopher, challenges both the Christian God and the Romantic god, that is, nature. Amidst his arduous scientific undertakingof infusing a spark of being into a lifeless matter, Frankenstein neglects the sublime nature and deteriorates its law by blurring the boundary between life and death. Looking forward to being revered as the sole creator and source of his own creature and therefore assuming God's role as the Life-Giver, Frankenstein's overreaching mission can also be deemed as blasphemous. Furthermore, the failed product of Frankenstein's science or the hideous creature, with both his physical and intellectual strength and his capacity for vicious deeds, even bears the possibility of bringing about the apocalypse. Connecting Shelley's novel with the Vitalism Debate in the early nineteenth century, we can resectively pair both Frankenstein and his creature with the vitalists' orthodox notions and the materialists' rebellious and blasphemous ideas on both the source of life and the development of the mind. Similarly, in Wells' novel, science, as represented by the protagonist and vivisectionist Moreau, is also depicted as profane and threatening. Moreau demolishes the territory between humanity and animality as he blasphemously creates human beings out of animals, forcing them to live in the same tormenting state as human beings', where they would have to constantly suppress their primordisl, animal urges. Together with the face the Moreau's hamanised animals or the Beast Folk are themselves subject to degeneration, this undecidedness between animality and humanity, intensified by the face that all human charactern in the novel possess some animal characteristics, can bear evidence to the fin-de-siecle fears of devolution and extinction, which were the results of Charles Darwin's blasphemous and highly revolutionary theory of evolution.


Shelley Marry Wollstonecraft 1797-1851. Frankenstein Wells H. G. (Herbert George) 1866-1946. The Island of Dr. Moreau English literature -- 19th century

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