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by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein Exploration Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (chapter.paragraph)

Quote #1

But success SHALL crown my endeavours. Wherefore not? Thus far I have gone, tracing a secure way over the pathless seas, the very stars themselves being witnesses and testimonies of my triumph. Why not still proceed over the untamed yet obedient element? What can stop the determined heart and resolved will of man? (Letter 3.4)

What can stop them? Well, the forces of nature, for one—like an impenetrable ice sheet. Also, giant reanimated corpses. Those can stop man, too.

Quote #2

My temper was sometimes violent, and my passions vehement; but by some law in my temperature they were turned not towards childish pursuits but to an eager desire to learn, and not to learn all things indiscriminately. I confess that neither the structure of languages, nor the code of governments, nor the politics of various states possessed attractions for me. It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn; and whether it was the outward substance of things or the inner spirit of nature and the mysterious soul of man that occupied me, still my inquiries were directed to the metaphysical, or in it highest sense, the physical secrets of the world. (2.4)

Somehow, we think Victor would have been better off memorizing train schedules or all the batting averages of the major league players. The "secrets of heaven and earth" are pretty heavy for a kid.

Quote #3

Such were the professor's words —rather let me say such the words of the fate —enounced to destroy me. As he went on I felt as if my soul were grappling with a palpable enemy; one by one the various keys were touched which formed the mechanism of my being; chord after chord was sounded, and soon my mind was filled with one thought, one conception, one purpose. 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. (3.15)

The obvious problem here is the "deepest mysteries of creation": Shelley seems pretty convinced that we should let them stay mysterious. The second problem is the "one thought, one conception, one purpose"—it sounds like Victor really needs a hobby other than digging up corpses.

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