Man’s increasing control over and manipulation of nature has led to, among other things, the emergence of the “mad scientist” in popular culture. The mad scientist is typified by an eccentric or insane ambition, which is not always maleficent in nature, but is often self-destructive. This mad scientist motif is epitomized in Victor Frankenstein, and is particularly exemplified by Gene Wilder in the 1974 comedy Young Frankenstein. However, after reading the story itself one could see that Victor Frankenstein’s motivation for creating Frankenstein was not driven by insanity or madness but rather a lucid and arguably noble pursuit of knowledge that was thoroughly constructive in nature. He displays an almost childlike wonder in his pursuit of knowledge, and the reader can easily empathize with his ambition to learn the secrets of life. It is this fascination with life that drives him to create Frankenstein, rather than an insane or mad ambition to “play God”, as implied by popular culture. We do not see Victor separate from his humanity and become obsessed to the point of madness until after the monster’s creation. Victor’s unraveling is a consequence of his creating Frankenstein, not a driving force that motivates him to create Frankenstein. But even then, Victor does not qualify as mad scientist, as his obsession with killing the monster, although self-destructive, is still a lucid and sympathetic.

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