Frankenstein: The Portrayal of Science

Contributor: Emily Love. Lesson ID: 10946

Without science, where would we be? From aspirin to A-bombs, science has run the ethical gamut. Frankenstein is a scary case of the need for wisdom. Examine scientists and draw your own conclusions!


Literary Studies

learning style
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


The famous science fiction author Isaac Asimov once stated, "The dangers that face the world can, every one of them, be traced back to science. The salvations that may save the world will, every one of them, be traced back to science."

How can this seemingly contradictory idea be true? Write down an explanation of this quotation in your own words.

Asimov's quote introduces the dual nature of scientific discovery.

On the one hand, scientists have been responsible for the development of dangerous toxins and weapons of mass destruction. On the other hand, scientists are responsible for finding the cures for diseases and creating inexpensive methods to purify drinking water.

Eighteenth and nineteenth-century Europe was fascinated with scientific exploration and experimentation, which clearly influenced Mary Shelley's tale. The beginning of Victor Frankenstein's tale focuses on his introduction to the world of science and his obsession with bestowing the spark of life upon his creation. His obsession would have resonated with many of Shelley's readers. Read the article The science of life and death in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein by Sharon Ruston ( to learn more about the beliefs of the time period.

While Shelley's portrayal of Victor's scientific pursuits may have resonated with her audience, she does not absolve him of wrongdoing. He throws himself into his experiments while thinking only of the possible glory, not of the possible negative outcomes.

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