“there is no such thing as freedom of choice, unless there is freedom to refuse”-David Hume
In the Text “Frankenstein” Written by Merry Shelly there always seems to be one underlying lesson which is followed by a sense of wisdom that is here to be learned, and this is the David Hume’s theory of empiricism. Through out all the twists and turns in the text, this idea slowly develops and becomes more and more relevant until the text takes a U turn and starts working against Victor. This idea was shown through the explanation of David Hume theory of empiricism was shown through nature in Frankenstein.
The theory of empiricism exposed the true method, and idea of learning. Hume’s theory possed the idea that every piece of information that a person has learned can be traced back to one event in their life. When David Hume released this theory he basically defined the idea of learning. In the 18th century most people believed that your knowledge was acquired at birth, and was simply the luck of the draw. When Hume released his book on empiricism he received a lot of backlash, as his theory exposed the true fact that every one has wasted their life by relying on God to give them their knowledge, and it was hard for people to accept this.
“Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous.”- David Hume
After receiving the back lash Hume questioned weather or not it was worth pursuing his theory, but this quote explains how David recognized the potential, and the danger what was happening. Hume talked about how relying on a higher power to teach your child is no difference to abandoning them, and this is the reason he couldn’t give up on his theory.
Frankenstein is an extreme example of the importance of David Hume theory. All his life, Victor Frankenstein works for his creation. He wants to make the world a better place and he devoted his entire life to complete his goal. And he does. But right when he gifts the monster life, when it matters the most, he abandons the monster and throws it all away. This is an example of what was happening all over the world in the 18th century, and David Hume realized this. IF instead Victor stayed with his creation, and showed it how to live and how to act then Victor would have made a positive difference in the world. This is what Hume was trying to stop.
“Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them” – David Hume
This quote from Hume explains how the monster was created when Victor rejected him. Victor left the monster to fend for its self. This was the true reason the monster become the antagonist of this text, but as the monster was created by the abandoning from Victor, i dont think Victor become a protagonist until he confronted the monster and realized that he had to destroy it. This quote from Hume was shown in a positive way, and this is the only difference between David Humes theory and Frankenstein, as The theory of Empiricism was shown is a positive way, where as Frankenstein is a negative conflict which builds as the text progresses.
Mary Shelley shows David Hume’s theory in a very effective way. Rather than show the positives of Hume’s theory, she shows an extreme example of what could happen if David Hume’s theory was ignored and this was because it was a much more effective way of showing the importance of the theory. Shelly did an excellent job of combining David Hume’s theory of learning with nature in her text. When ever victor took another step to the creation of the monster, nature sent a sign to stop him, but they were all ignored. When victor abandoned the monster it was when Shelly turned the idea in the novel around, this was where every thing victor had worked for started to work against him. Shelly did this because, this was was when Victor broke David Hume’s theory by abandoning it. Shelly showed Victor was starting to understand what he did as Victor began return back to nature, when ever Victor met the monster, there would meet in a natural environment. Eventually this got through to victor as he came to the conclusion that he has to destroy his failed creation.
In the text “Frankenstein”, Shelly shows the importance of David Humes theory of Empiricism through the use of nature. She shows what could happen if the ideas of knowledge are ignored, and the consequences of abandoning a life. By implementing David Humes theory in this extreme example she Shows the true meaning of knowledge.