Table of Contents
Science and technology are racing at an uncontrollable pace and the scientists are riding the tiger with no knowledge about the procedure for disembarking. Therefore, the merits of the scientific discoveries need to be evaluated constantly, as for their ultimate good for humankind. Science is an area full of uncertainties, and a thousand beneficial results can be nullified by one fateful wrong decision. John Leslie puts a warning question (1998), “Will the human race become extinct fairly shortly? Have the dangers been underestimated, and ought we to care?”(p.1)The characters of Prometheus and Victor Frankenstein substantiate this statement. Lack of communications exists between the creators of the weapons and their eventual users and the creators own no control over the end use of weapons that herald massive destruction leading to grave situations.
The character Prometheus needs to be analyzed in tandem with that of Zeus. Zeus is depicted as the tyrant of the worst order as he does not give due credit to the rules of friendship and he is devoid of positive qualities that make a good human being. His betrayal of friendship leads to the punishment of Prometheus, the man responsible for his win over the Titans. Prometheus assisted Zeus in the conquest over the Titans by employing wiliness. When Prometheus endeavored to employ astuteness to help humankind, instead, Zeus used his power to penalize Prometheus. On an occasion Prometheus says in desperation to Hermes, “In one word, I hate all the gods that received good at my hands and with ill requite me wrongfully.” (data.perseus.org, line 975)Time is one of the great tools with which God’s working needs to be understood. Prometheus is aware when to speak and when to remain silent and has the realization that the right time has not yet arrived to reveal his prophesy to Zeus. He values time and wishes to do right thing at the right time. The highlight of the character of Prometheus is that he is a symbol of shrewdness and intelligence and he is the embodiment of human progress.
Prometheus stole fire. Fire is also the spontaneous generator of emotions, passion, empathy, love, anger and hate, to list a few. Fire is responsible for destruction and it is the symbolism of war and bedlam. It brings nothing but ruin. Yet, Prometheus hazarded the rage of the Titans to bring fire to man. Fire expels the darkness. Fire cleanses and purifies. At the same time it is his inner fire that contributes to his determination and the strong inclination to achieve the desired goal. The divine power of gods is the product of fire with which they perform the seemingly impossible tasks. The artificial tools of fire created by humankind initiate destructive forces like rockets, atom bombs etc. which separate us from the natural world. Fire should not divide humankind from gods and nature. It needs to be the cementing force.
Victor’s main area of interest is science. Victor is born in a distinguished family. The supportive parents leave deep impact in the formative years of his childhood. He is known for his temper, profound passions and the craving to know more. He intensely desires to know the secrets of heaven and earth. He believes that knowledge is power. His creation of the monster throws several issues for which Victor is unable to find the solutions. Victor was so anguished about his futile accomplishments in the field of science that he preferred and welcomed the impending death. He was powerless to face the horrible consequences of his own creation. He realized that it was futile to pursue accomplishments without knowing their actual consequences. Anne K. Meller (1988) describes how the monster laments, “Everything is related in them which bear reference to my accursed origin; …. Hateful day when I received life”! (p.126)After interfering in the function of God, by creating the monster, Victor walks away from his responsibility of looking after it. Once the monster stands alive in front of him, insecurity seizes him and he runs for his life. Not caring for one’s offspring is serious moral lapse. Deliberate interference in that system is a monstrous approach as no one knows its ultimate overall impact. Each being in this cosmos is mutually connected, and interdependent, the details of which science is unable to comprehend at present. Elaborating this Merry Shelly (1984) writes, “I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation.”(p.33) In this decision, he is unmindful of the consequences that his monstrous knowledge may lead to. Power and knowledge—both are dangerous when they are not reined.
The modern scientists in the guise of Victor Frankenstein or Prometheus
Luis W Alvarez is an American scientist. He is the atomic bomb developer. Suffice it is say in his own words. Richard Rhodes (1996) writes, “That means the days of large bombing raids, with several hundred planes are finished. A single plane disguised as a friendly transport can now wipe out a city.”(p.18) His observations relate to the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Thirst for knowledge needs to be checked well in time, to prevent the tragic consequences for the concerned individual and the society as a whole. Imagine the scope of destructive of knowledge to the gigantic problem created by the nuclear weapons. In the case of Victor, the creator is the controller of the monster as well. It is a one to one issue. In modern warfare, multiplicity of creators and controllers is a serious problem. Victor follows his Professor’s mandate, and proceeds on the destructive course. Today’s nuclear scientist go by the policies and requirements dictated to them by the politicians of their respective countries, and are responsible to create the monstrous warheads, that may result in deaths of millions, even the extinction of the human race and other species from Planet Earth.
Third World War, God forbid, would be the last war on this Planet Earth. The scientists need to work with close understanding with the politicians to ensure that and the arms race must end with the initiatives of all concerned. The line of actions needs to be for destroying the existing pile of weapons to secure an arms-free world.
- Leslie, John (1998) The End of the World: The Science and Ethics of Human Extinction. New York: Routledge, Print
- Mellor, Anne K. Mary Shelley: Her Life, Her Fiction, Her Monsters. New York: Routledge, 1988
- Rhodes, Richard (1996) Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb. New York: Simon & Schuster, Print
- Shelly, Mary. Frankenstein. Bantam Classics; Bantam Classic edition, May 1, 1984. English, Print Citation URI: http://data.perseus.org/citations/urn:cts:greekLit:tlg0085.tlg003.perseus-eng1:964-1006 Web: Accessed on April 16, 2017