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by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein Life, Consciousness, and Existence Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (chapter.paragraph)

Quote #1

One man's life or death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of the knowledge which I sought, for the dominion I should acquire and transmit over the elemental foes of our race. (Letter 4.21)

Uh-oh. It's never a good sign when you start telling your sister that it's not a big deal if someone dies, as long as you fulfill your scientific goal. Walton is about two and a half steps away from full-on mad scientist, here.

Quote #2

The innocent and helpless creature bestowed on them by heaven, whom to bring up to good, and whose future lot it was in their hands to direct to happiness or misery, according as they fulfilled their duties towards me. (1.6)

When Victor talks about his childhood, he suggests that parents play a big role in how their kids turn out, either "to happiness or misery." Sure, blame it on your folks. Everyone else does.

Quote #3

The modern masters promise very little; they know that metals cannot be transmuted and that the elixir of life is a chimera but these philosophers, whose hands seem only made to dabble in dirt, and their eyes to pore over the microscope or crucible, have indeed performed miracles. They penetrate into the recesses of nature and show how she works in her hiding-places. They ascend into the heavens; they have discovered how the blood circulates, and the nature of the air we breathe. They have acquired new and almost unlimited powers; they can command the thunders of heaven, mimic the earthquake, and even mock the invisible world with its own shadows." (3.14)

M. Waldman claims that modern scientists have pretty tame goals compared to the ancient alchemists, but to Victor this is staggering stuff: they're unlocking the secrets of existence. (Can you imagine what he'd do with an iPad?)

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