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fRANKENSTIEN AND (THE STATE OF NATURE)
Transcript of fRANKENSTIEN AND (THE STATE OF NATURE)
By: Jonathan Bate
These are the 3 main points that are made by Jonathan Bate
Mary Shelly's Frankenstein begins with an Enlightenment quest to master nature. For narrator Robert Walton knowledge of the earth also means to conquest on behalf of his nation. The creature is first seen through Walton's eyes, Frankenstein believes his role is the son of enlightenment intent on the conquest of nature's secrets. The onset between Frankenstein's higher education into the mastery of nature coincides with the death of his mother and his departure from home. Science is set in opposition to the female principles of maternity and natural landscape. Frankenstein realizes by creating the creature he has destroyed the feminine principle of nature. The creature desires a mate to try and regain a form of a community. Frankenstein denies the creatures request, but later changes his mind in fear of creating a race of destructive supermen. In reality Frankenstein is the reason the creature is a monster is because he failed to name him and treats him as such. Finally the creature returns to the state of nature
Bate drew a connection between Frankenstein's creature, and the novel's narrator, Robert Walton. Bate says that Walton will always be a "wonderer" or an "alien," and the monster obviously has the same affiliations.
Bate states that the first sighting of both the creature and Dr. Frankenstein himself was made by Robert Walton. This allows for an interesting juxtapostion. Walton and his crew first saw the beast, who was large and brute-like. Frankenstein on the other hand, from first glance even, seemed sophisticated and educated. This set up the whole premise for the book Frankenstein versus the beast.
Bate finally says that Frankenstein's beast has no chance of success from his creation. He says that the evolution of human institutions goes as such: "first the forests, after that the huts, then the villages, next the cities, and finally the academies" Since, though, the beast was born as the creation of Frankenstein and the academies, the creature has nowhere to go but down, The monster never had a chance.
Frankenstien represents: Englightenment
Creature represents: an embodiment of the state of nature
The creatures request for a mate symbolizes a desire to regain some form of community
The creation of the creature destroys mother nature
A provost of Worcester College and Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford
Frankenstein committed transgressions against the monster and the human condition. The original sin from the novel was committed by Frankenstein himself, and that was his trying to "cheat death through knowledge instead of intercourse".