Frankenstein and Percy Shelley’s Moral Science In his A Defence of Poetry and other Essays, Percy Shelley ified science, in the Speculations on Morals, into Metaphysics and Moral Science. While metaphysical science, according to Shelley, simply refers to “just classification” and labeling, moral science entails the harmonious arrangement of things that would result into the most happiness for humanity. In the subdivision ‘Moral Science Consists in Considering the Difference, not the Resemblance, of Persons.’ of the heading Speculations on Morals, Shelley expounds his concept of moral science by pointing out the fact that despite the deliberate uniformity of human actions for the purpose of attaining stability of human society, a closer scrutiny of them would reveal that every human act is different from others. The underpinning rationale for this difference is that every person is inherently unique and this uniqueness emanates from within and not from without and influences and colors his every act. A person’s uniqueness alters the nature of an action that differentiates it from otherwise similar actions of others. Shelley’s point is that moral science should focus on such differences rather than on their similarities.
Shelley’s views are aptly illustrated by the characterization of the monster in the novel Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus. Penned by no less than Percy Shelley’s wife, Mary Shelley, Frankenstein’s foray into the science of human creation resulted in a hideous and ugly creature feared by all. Despite its ugliness and its general reputation earning it the label ‘monster,’ the creature is revealed to be a sensitive, lonely and benevolent being capable of attachment and love even for its creator who has spent the rest of his life hunting it down to destroy it. When Frankenstein died towards the end of the novel exhausted and overpowered by the harsh climate of the North, the creature surprisingly deeply mourned his death and showed a side, during his conversation with
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