The Plague and Frankenstein The quest for understanding is eternal and practically perpetual. Individuals devote their lives to studying and advancing their understanding, but their advancement is constantly held in check by society and individuals who studied prior to them. Numerous books have actually been composed which explore the result knowledge and its constraints can have on society.
This paper will focus on Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus.
Although these 2 novels were discussed 100 years apart, they still exemplify many aspects as to why knowledge has restrictions. While Defoe’s Journal centers on how to avoid and cure the pester, with a heavy emphasis on religious beliefs, Shelley’s Frankenstein has little to no religious affiliation, and focuses on how science and understanding can potentially lead to wicked and misfortune. The plague was a serious and destructive illness which impacted Europe numerous times throughout history; each time eliminating everyone who came down with the disease.
Individuals are fortunate enough today to have a cure for this illness, however throughout the 1700s, there was no cure and extremely little knowledge about correct medical practices. Defoe discusses how indications were posted throughout London, declaring of individuals who understood of a cure or treatment for the plague, however some of these treatments “prepared their bodies for the pester, instead of protecting them versus it. “1 Burglars and pick-pockets robbed and cheated poor individuals out of their cash with frauds, sometimes even poisoning their victims with tonics or “physicks” that might include such poisons as Mercury in them. These scammers were all throughout the city, interesting the desires and abundance of the bad. There was no regulation of such service practices and ads made outrageous claims of complimentary help, only to trick the bad once they got there, forcing them to spend for what might (or might not) help them. These practices were rather terrible and unjust, but people were so afraid for their lives that they were willing to do anything which would allow them to live. Not every person in the city succumbed to these frauds.
Lots of people once they heard news that the afflict had reached London chose to run away and head to some far off town where they may be able to prevent catching the illness. This plight from the city was not only a rational choice, however a religious one too. Much argument in between people in London was stimulated about the spiritual validation for remaining in the city, and trusting in God to protect them where they were, or to leave London and “trust God with [their] security and health”. 3 For the main character in this unique, H. F. deals with this decision since he can leave London and live with his loved ones, and threat losing all of his possessions, however he ultimately chooses to remain, seeing his decision as remaining faithful to God. Upon informing his sibling of this choice, he discovers that the person, who he was going to delegate with his property during his leave, became ill with the afflict, only implementing H. F.’s sensations that he made the appropriate decision to remain in God’s faith. 4 Once the pester hit London with full force, the city was required to find a new method which to contain this illness.
Rather of looking to the filth with which individuals lived in, and relating to that it could be brought by animals such as rats, the town determined that each home was to be checked by doctors, and if the plague must be discovered within a home, the inhabitants would be locked inside your house, only to come out if they passed away or the disease had actually passed. Each home which the pester was discovered in had a red cross painted on the door, marking it for all to see, and a Watchman was assigned to make sure nobody entered or out of the home, and to run errands for the family if need be. This harsh concept caused lots of households to parish in their own houses, while others tried to leave by either sneaking out or attacking/threatening the watchmen. In the book Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus, by Mary Shelley, the underlying style is how understanding and power can lead to anguish and damage. In the book, Victor Frankenstein goes off to college and becomes consumed with numerous different types of approach and science. He ends up being soaked up in “the trick of life” and he eventually tries to recreate it. He is successful and brings life to a monster so horrible that even he can not bear to be around. Frankenstein tries to desert the monster which he produced, but he is never ever fully able to, as the beast follows and spies on Frankenstein and kills part of his household. Frankenstein is appalled that his production could have begun to cause such scary and discomfort to people around him, but is stressed that if he informs anyone about the beast which he has actually created, then he himself will look like a madman. The beast himself is excited for affection from people, but everywhere he goes, he is avoided and forced away from the town due to people remaining in worry of him.
The monster invests much time watching the actions of a household of peasants, where from his hiding place he has the ability to learn how to speak French as well as read. After some time he ultimately decides that they are a really compassionate family and that he should expose himself to them, upon doing this, they are disgusted and chase him away. The beast promises to get vengeance on Frankenstein and first starts by killing his little brother whom he stumbles across in the forest in Geneva. He then plants the child’s pendant on a buddy of Victor’s, to make her appear as the murderer.
She is tried for the criminal activity and hung for it. The monster understands that his only opportunity for happiness lies within Frankenstein creating him a female companion. He persuades Frankenstein to develop him a female saying that he will leave humanity alone permanently and go reside in some far-off land if he has a companion to go with him. 7 As Frankenstein has begun deal with his second beast in Scotland, he is reminded of how insane he ended up being when producing his first beast, and upon seeing his monster enjoying him through the window, Frankenstein freaks out, and ruins the 2nd body which he is developing.
The monster upon seeing this is infuriated and assures to kill the rest of Frankenstein’s family and friends. This guarantee holds true, for Frankenstein loses his friend that night, his partner on his wedding event night, and his daddy. Rather than heed to the monster’s wishes and create a spouse for him, Frankenstein was conquered with the guilt of the deaths of his monsters first two victims. He worries that in producing another, he will be developing a duo of evil that will wreak havoc upon the mankind.
For it was his fault in the first place which let his creativity obtain himself and he wanted to produce life for himself. This intense lust for knowledge which Frankenstein has eventually causes his death. He ends up being mad in his quest and ends up ruining everybody dear to him as well as himself in the end. Both The Journal of the Plague Year and Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus have heavy themes about understanding. Defoe’s Journal particularly concentrates on how illness was dealt with and what the approaches were to try to cure it.
The Journal also has a heavy religious force in it too. Individuals in the story along with the main characters, look towards Bible versus and quotes for guidance in their choice making. This is not the like in Frankenstein where the primary character becomes god-like himself with his creation of life. This major distinction is most likely due to the reality that the novels were discussed 100 years apart from each other and people’s views how religion affected their daily lives had actually greatly altered.
There is really little discussed in Frankenstein about faith at all. In each novel, there is excess understanding than what people have the capacity for; therefore in The Journal, London makes the extreme choice to lock people in their own homes in order to prevent the spread of the plague; while in Frankenstein, his ever relentless quest for understanding end up killing him and those dearest to him. The novels are practically a warning regarding what result knowledge can have on society and suggest, that as Socrates stated, “the only true knowledge is in understanding you understand nothing. “