Frankenstein Reanimation Essay

This essay has a total of 655 words and 4 pages.

Frankenstein Reanimation



Frankenstein: Reanimation

In the story Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, a mad scientist named Victor Frankenstein is
intrested in natural philosophy. One day when Victor was fifteen, he saw lightning strike
an oak tree, and blast the oak tree in half, leaving nothing but a stump in its place.
This event caused him to begin studying natural phenomena, especially the subjects of
electricity and galvanism, two very new and exciting subjects of science in the eighteenth
century. From the study of electricity, Victor soon learns the secret of reanimation, and
brings a creature to life using old and rotten body parts. Many things influenced what
parts of science Mary Shelley used in her story, at the time; electricity was a new thing.
It was energy, and it effected non-living things in ways never before seen. The body uses
electricity through the nervous system to send signals to muscles, therefore, in the
eighteenth century the act of running an electric current through a dead body part caused
a reaction that was considered to be “Amazing”. Usually the muscle would just simply
contract or expand, causing an arm, leg, or any other body part to seem as if it again was
alive. People where facinated by this new phenomenon and often it was thought that it was
magic because of the fact that it could kill, however, it also seemed to be able to
restore life. Galvanism was common practice, and many people applied electric current to
objects to see what the reaction was, after it was figured out that if you ran an electric
current through dead tissue it would react, the association of life force and electricity
was born. The uneducated people of the eighteenth century looked at this and put two and
two together, and begain to believe that electricity was the key to life.

During the eighteenth century and the Industrial Revolution science, chemmistry, and the
origin of life were some of the major preoccupations of society. Mary Shelly incorporated
all of these popular scientific fields into her novel as a way to comment on the
fascinations of her time. Also, with these new concepts, the story of Frankenstein could
be, somewhat explained. This is important because it made people actually think about the
concepts involved in the reanimation process. In the story Victor never shows the reader
exactly what he did to bring the creature to life, however, the story does hint at the use
of electricity, and so most people today are under the impression that Victor does use
electricity to bring the creature to life.

Frankenstein was written as part of a ghost story writing contest between Mary Shelley,
her husband Percy Shelley, and their friends. At the time that Shelley was writing
Frankenstein, a newly investigated phenomenon of science seemed to suggest that
reanimation was possible, that phenomenon was electricity. Electricity could affect the
human body even after death, and it seemed to have the properties necessary for
reanimation. This allowed for a simple explenation of the reanimation process that was
criticle to the story of Frankenstein. If the creature came back to life, and could not
be explained by the current knowledge that people had of science, it might seem to
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