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FrankensteinAnnotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds$
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Mary Shelley, David H. Guston, Ed Finn, and Jason Scott Robert

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262533287

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262533287.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

Frankenstein Reframed;

Frankenstein Reframed;

or, the Trouble with Prometheus

Chapter:
(p.231) Frankenstein Reframed;
Source:
Frankenstein
Author(s):

Elizabeth Bear

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262533287.003.0010

The common interpretation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as a cautionary tale is not inaccurate but incomplete; Victor Frankenstein’s fatal choices are not in his desire for scientific knowledge, but in his willful avoidance of knowledge about consequences of his actions and their effects on others’ well-being. Shelley parallels Victor with the Greek immortal Prometheus, but this trickster figure is ultimately not an apt parallel for Victor, who undertakes his research in the spirit of self-aggrandizement and narcissism, rather than a desire to improve people’s lives, or even curiosity about the inner workings of the world around him. Victor’s failure of empathy and his myopia about consequences make Frankenstein a powerful parable about responsibility and the need for scientists to engage in careful moral and ethical introspection about the broader ramifications of their work.

Keywords:   Ethics, Morality, Prometheus, Monstrosity, Christianity, Otherness

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