The infamous monster in Mary Shelley’s celebrated fictitious novel, Frankenstein, was created by Victor Frankenstein. There was no mention of God, Jehovah, or Allah. The time had come when man was able to create man. When asked about the birth of her ideas, Shelley blatantly stated that she was influenced by her dreams and father who was a philosopher (Wade 2010). To the horror of pious Christians and religious devotees around the world, even those who possessed no religious identity, Shelley had introduced human cloning to mankind. After the acclaimed success of the novel, there was only one thing to be thankful for: Victor Frankenstein’s laboratory recipe was not real, pushing away the notion of human cloning for a little while longer. Victor Frankenstein’s creation further proclaimed the fact that humans are incapable of cloning others, as the results will be disastrous. In fact, Shelley declared that she dreamt of the disastrous consequence of man taking over God’s role:
I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavor to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator the world (Wade 2010).
The notion of man taking complete control of his life has been alive since man’s creation. In fact, man is constantly attempting to find ways that will guarantee immortality, youthfulness and power over one’s destiny among other traits. In other words, man tries and fails repeatedly to be equal with the Creator, or God. The moment a child is born, the mother prays for a long and healthy life for her child and the prayer seems to turn into an obsession for the child over the years. Even though man is surrounded by death and must witness loved ones leave, he fails to remember that he must also leave one day. Instead, the sense for practicality is overcome by an idealist view and attempt at working towards dodging that day, or extending it yet another day. It is in man’s nature to be allured by dangerous knowledge and things that he does not possess. Similarly, Victor Frankenstein’s pursuit of dangerous and useless knowledge led him to the desire for power over life (Bennett 1998).
Throughout the novel, Shelley pointed out the uselessness of Victor’s pursuit and foreshadowed a destructive end because of two reasons: firstly, man, particularly Victor, is neglectful and seldom sets meaningful goals in life and secondly, man does not have the power to see or control the future. Victor did not know the purpose of his life and kept wandering aimlessly in terms of his education towards unbeneficial knowledge. Chasing a fantasy, he failed to realize that in order to create another human being, he must be an ideal man first. However, his very intention was anything but noble. Simply put, Victor Frankenstein was a bored scientist with a new obsession for power and a successful experiment. He simply wanted to revive old remains, without thinking ahead or making goals as to what the new being would do, what its identity would be and how it will survive in the world. What is more, in the rush to conduct his experiment, Victor collected random body parts from the graveyard for the creature. This repulsive act is proof enough of his intentions of cloning as a science play. Not only did he mix and match body parts, Victor chose the filthiest material: rotting carcasses. The choice of material further foreshadowed the creature’s hideousness along with its grave end. This was carefully drafted by Shelley who set up Victor for failure from the start by embedding in him a typical, bewildered and weak personality (Bennett 1998).
Furthermore, man cannot see what will happen even in the next moment. Shelley reminds the reader that despite man’s meticulous planning, it is God who can change those plans in an instant, thus declaring that God is the ultimate Planner and force that is in charge of human fate, and not another human being. Creating the monster was the easy part for Victor. The true test of “playing God” arrived when Victor had to treat the monster as a fellow human. He could not nurture or provide for the creation; in fact, he did not even know what the creation felt of needed. This was a test that Victor failed miserably further proving that man cannot handle creating life through cloning. The creation became a deathly force, which Victor had not foreseen. In fact, man does not have the emotional power to deal with the hideousness of creating life in such ways, as was evident in Victor’s state. He was unable to live with his guilt nor was he able to destroy what he had created. The creation outlived the creator, which was the biggest flaw of the cloning experiment. Paul Sherwin states in his analysis, “The final word and deed belong to the Creature, who vows to undo the scene of his creation once he bounds from the ship” (1981).
Overtaking God’s role will only result in devastating consequences for man. Cloning or creating life for the sake of experimentation is not only unethical and immoral, but it disrupts the natural balance in the world, ruining anything that comes in the path of the creator and creation, as was evident in Victor Frankenstein’s life. This effort of creating and playing God will only result in arrogance for man, and under its blindness, man will cease to see the line between necessity, morality and simply experimentation. Furthermore, man is easily influenced by the ideas around him and can become obsessed with a single notion if given enough encouragement. This was a great cause in Victor’s decision to create life as he was constantly engrossed in mystical, scientific and resurrection books (Shelley 30). Shelley stated his growing obsession with the human body, which foreshadowed his victory, arrogance and ultimately demise in the end.