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by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein Science Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (chapter.paragraph)

Quote #4

By one of those caprices of the mind which we are perhaps most subject to in early youth, I at once gave up my former occupations, set down natural history and all its progeny as a deformed and abortive creation, and entertained the greatest disdain for a would-be science which could never even step within the threshold of real knowledge. In this mood of mind I betook myself to the mathematics and the branches of study appertaining to that science as being built upon secure foundations, and so worthy of my consideration. (2.10)

Something about the way Frankenstein describes this makes it sound like he's a player jumping around from woman to woman looking for one who's "real." (Judging by the way he wants to "penetrate" the secrets of nature, this might actually be a workable analogy.)

Quote #5

Besides, I had a contempt for the uses of modern natural philosophy. It was very different when the masters of the science sought immortality and power; such views, although futile, were grand; but now the scene was changed. The ambition of the inquirer seemed to limit itself to the annihilation of those visions on which my interest in science was chiefly founded. I was required to exchange chimeras of boundless grandeur for realities of little worth. (3.12)

Frankenstein doesn't want to sort fruit flies; he wants to find the secret to immortality. (He should have stuck to fruit flies.)

Quote #6

"The ancient teachers of this science," said he, "promised impossibilities and performed nothing. 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 introduces Frankenstein to modern science: we may not be able to turn metals into gold, but we do know how circulation works.

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