Pursuit of Knowledge

Pursuit of Knowledge

There are several themes in the story Frankenstein, but in my opinion the most important is the theme of the pursuit of knowledge. In the text Shelley showed many examples of the importance of pursuing knowledge. She showed Victor dedicate his life to science, and valued knowledge more than anything.


"The labour of men genius, however erroneously directed, scarcely ever fail in ultimately turning to the solid advantage of mankind." ( Pg. 33) This quote is saying that geniuses rarely ever fail when making an advantage to mankind. Victor believes that his next experiment, creating the creature, will be a breakthrough in the science world and will help mankind.

"So much has been done, exclaimed the soul of Frankenstein- more, far more, will I achieve: Treading in the steps already marked. I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation." (Page 47) This quote Victor is saying how he will pioneer a new way, this means he is going to start a new chapter in the science world. This text is showing the importance of pursuit of knowledge, Victor is going to try something no one else has done before.

"I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs." (Chapter 5) This quote is when the creature just awakens, it is connected to the pursuit of knowledge because Victor finally creates the thing he has been longing for.

"I was delighted when I first discovered that a pleasant sound, which often saluted my ears, proceeded from the throats of the little winged animals who had often intercepted the light from my eyes." (Chapter 11) This quote is when the creature discovers the music that the birds sing. This is directly related to the pursuit of knowledge because it shows the creature being eager to learn his senses. He is happy with discovering all these new things he has never done before.

"One day, when I was oppressed by cold, I found a fire which had been left by some wandering beggars, and was overcome with delight at the warmth I experienced from it. In my joy I thrust my hand into the live embers, but quickly drew it out again with a cry of pain." (Chapter 11) This quote shows the creature discovering fire for the first time. He reaches his hand in the flame and quickly pulls it out do to its burning. This is showing how the creature is discovering all new things to him, he is learning like all humans do.

"This reading had puzzled me extremely at first, but by degrees I discovered that he uttered many of the same sounds when he read as when he talked." (Chapter 12) This quote is showing how the creature began to learn to talk. He listens to the cottagers read, and understands that when they communicate they use the same words as they read. This directly relates to the pursuit of knowledge because at first it confused the creature, but with continued effort he learned.

Real World Connection

In the modern day, the pursuit of knowledge is more prevalent then ever. We can look at two specific things, Jonas Salk creating the polio vaccine and the evolution of Drones.

In the case of Jonas Salk the pursuit of happiness was much different than that of Victor Frankenstein. While Frankenstein thought his creation would help the greater population, he was incredible wrong. In the case of Jonas Salk, his vaccine helped and is still helping millions of people. Both Salk and Frankenstein where very ambitious and that is the root to creation. You must believe that what you will create will help the greater good. Like Frankenstein, Salk didn't create this vaccine over night. He spent years perfecting this, which is a huge pursuit of knowledge. In this era knowledge is power, and in this case was able to cure a terrible disease that caused thousands of deaths.

As you read Frankenstien you realize sometimes a creation always doesn't help people, it actually hurts. This is the case with modern drones. The creation of drones is a project hundreds of years in the making. The drones we use today are much different than the drones we used in the 1800's. Like the creature modern drones are killing machines. Do to the pursuit of knowledge we have been able to create the most deadly "soldier" in modern war. Sometimes creation isn't used as it was intended to. Like the creature, Victor thought the creature would bring the world good. He was advancing in science and wanted to have a major breakthrough. This is in the case of the CIA, the original drones created where used only for surveillance. But, as time increased, and the threat of another nation came to light, scientists created a "creature" necessary for their cause. I don't support the use of drones in modern time, but I do respect the advancements in the science world that they created.


Through out history their has always been a desire to improve the knowledge that we learn. Frankenstein is the perfect text to display this. It shows the simpleness of knowledge. The creature pursued knowledge to survive. Learning to talk, read, stay warm ect. While, Frankenstein wanted to improve science in a new light with a new creation. But we can learn a huge lesson that pursuing a new front of technology or science doesn't always help it can hurt.
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The importance of Knowledge and Education.

In the graph above you clearly can see the importance of higher education and improving your knowledge.


"What Is Happening to America's Less-Skilled Workers? The Importance of Education and Training in Today's Economy." The Brookings Institution. 2 Dec. 2011. Web. 23 Mar. 2015. <>.

"Jonas Salk." PBS. PBS. Web. 23 Mar. 2015. <>.

"History of U.S. Drones." Understanding Empire. 21 May 2012. Web. 23 Mar. 2015. <>.

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein. Charlottesville, Va.: U of Virginia Library, 1996. Print.