Revised.

Anne Mellor argues for two types of science, a ‘good’ one which only seeks to understand and describe the machinations of nature and the ‘bad’ kind which attempt to harness and control nature’s powers for the scientist’s own benefit. The idea which struck me most while reading her feminist critique was that of the scientist “substitute[ing] work for love”(Mellor 10). I believe this can be extended to say that the study of nature itself becomes almost a lover or sexual object to the scientist, in that all their feelings of love and sexual desire get, to use the Freudian term, sublimated onto their work. In this vein the difference between the two kinds of science become comparable to, respectively, a loving relationship, involving understanding and fascination, and rape, involving power and domination. I think Mellor’s analysis shows that in the post-enlightenment era, science was moving more towards the controlling and gaining power over nature, with the new advances in technology and industry, and this is supported by the sexual images of domination and subjugation created by “embued with a fervent longing to penetrate the secrets of nature”(Frankenstein 47)  and “pursued nature to her hiding-places”(58), and that scientists, such as Davy, sought to “interrogate nature with power, not simply as a scholar, passive and seeking only to understand her operations, but rather as a master, active with his own instruments.” The making of the Creature is an embodiment of this rape and violation of nature. This is evidenced by the repeated use of the word “ardour” for Victor’s passion for his work and quotes such as “to arrive at once at the summit of my desires, was the most gratifying consummation of my toils.”(57). This gives the creation of this monster sexual connotations as it is compared to reaching a peak, and called a “consummation”. The Creature is regarded as monstrous and horrifying because it is the result of this unholy act. Victor himself refers to his “profane fingers” but he cannot stop himself as he desires that power, he wants to “break through”(58) the bounds between life and death. This is also seen in how he becomes “insensible to the charms of nature” (59) signifying that he can no longer see its beauty and only seeks that power over ‘her’. The imagery of the line “The leaves of that year had withered before my work drew near to a close”(60) with the specific use of the word “withered” also lends itself to the idea that nature is violated and hurt by that act of rape which was the creation of the monster.

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