Mary Shelley – Cloning

In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the topic of cloning and the moral issues relating to it become prevalent. First of all, the creature in the novel was in essence a human clone. The creature was created by Victor Frankenstein in attempt to help humanity by searching of a way to perpetuate life and eliminate death. Ironically, Victor Frankenstein creates a being that takes life away making him, in a way, the real monster of the story. Mary Shelley explores the mindset of society by portraying the way society treats a product of scientific knowledge,such as the practice of human cloning.
Shelley depicts society’s reaction to the creature that Victor Frankenstein created as negative, and displays Victor’s reflections on the problems that his creature creates for him. Shelley’s position on cloning is that the possible “benefits” are not reliable enough to overcome the bad and thus, making the practice of cloning negative. Mary Shelley begins her novel with a well-known quote from John Milton’s Paradise Lost, “Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay/ To mold me Man,/ did I solicit thee from darkness to promote me? This rhetorical question made by Adam, a creation of God, epitomize the creatures feelings toward his creator, Victor Frankenstein. The creature is comparing himself as to both Adam and Lucifer, or Satan, as he is shunned and left in abandonment by his own creator, though he strives to be good. Because of the isolation and loneliness that the creature had to deal with, it caused him to turn evil and eventually, into a murderer. Eventually, it also led to Victor Frankenstein’s ruin in attempt to rid humanity of the creature when ironically, was for humanity in the first place.
This reveals man’s attempt to play God, to create life from nothingness, can lead to horrible results. Mary Shelley’s novel is also reference to as the “Modern Prometheus”. Similarly, Prometheus and Victor Frankenstein both attempted to create something to benefit humanity; however, their creations ended up harming themselves and this led to their own destruction. Prometheus stole fire for man, trespassing on “immortal territory” and resulted in having his liver eaten out every night for eternity. In comparison, Victor Frankenstein suffered from prolonged torture and guilt due to his creation murdering all of his loved ones.

Both characters go too far and does not accept their own limitations. Similar to Prometheus, who was tied up to a rock, alone in the middle of the sea, Frankenstein feels left out by society and cannot run away from his situation. Victor Frankenstein’s dream is to create a whole species that will bless him, a species of wonderful, perfect beings : “A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me”. In addition, it seems like Victor Frankenstein wanted to create the creature to praise him more than to improve and help human nature.
Even though, while Frankenstein had a good motive when creating the creature, he failed to ask himself if the creature himself would want to be brought into the world. On the other hand, he refuses his responsibility and flees from the creature after bring it to life. He leaves the creature alone and does not understand the fact that he as the creator is a father and his responsible for his creation. Frankenstein does not teach the creature how to deal with the badness of society and how to treat other human beings.
He does not teach the creature from right and wrong and should have accepted the creature as a human, not a ugly monster. Eventually, the creature is, in a sense, corrupted by society, while Frankenstein deserts him due to fear of the creature. Therefore, Victor Frankenstein can be portrayed as a “monstrous” instead of the creature itself. Even at the end of the novel, he does not learn to accept his own failure of moral imaginations and dies without understanding the nature of his own guilt. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a great depiction of how science advancements, such as a the practice of human cloning, can go wrong.
Even though Frankenstein is a fiction novel, contents contained in Frankenstein can well compare to the situations that we have in society today, especially in the field of science. Although some may say the practice of cloning could be used to find about many genes that can cause possible diseases, improving the quality of foods that we eat, and obviate the human aging process; however, it is scientifically proven that 90% of cloning attempts fail to produce viable offspring, cloned beings tend to have weak immune functions, higher rates of infection, develop diseases, alter normal human lifep, and more.
Relating to Frankenstein, the novel displays how discrimination and tension would arise in the world if cloning were to take place. Human cloning would tear apart the world, and would result in to winning side, just one distraught world, similar to lives of people that were taken away by the creature in Frankenstein. Therefore, if Mary Shelley were to live in the present time, today, she would not approve of the scientific practice of cloning. The “beneficial” evidences that are believed in the practice of cloning can not overcome how disastrous the world would become if science were to take use of cloning.

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New York University
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