The Danger of Knowledge (Comparative essay Frankenstein vs Macbeth

1069 words 5 pages
The Danger of Knowledge

Aaron Rudyk
Mr. Brown
In Shakespeare’s play Macbeth and Mary Shelly’s novel Frankenstein it can be said that both protagonists come to an unfortunate end. What leads to Macbeth and Frankenstein’s premature demise? Victor Frankenstein and Macbeth both demonstrate that acquisition of knowledge is dangerous and to seek it for the purpose of power leads to destruction of life. Macbeth’s and Frankenstein’s knowledge leads to overwhelming ambition, to immoral decisions and the destruction of their reality.
Firstly knowledge leads to overpowering ambition. In the first act Macbeth is well-liked, King Duncan gloats: “He is full so valiant / and is a peerless
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Subsequently, Frankenstein’s immoral decisions lead to an infuriated Wretch that kills Frankenstein’s family and friends as revenge for abandoning him.
Lastly both characters state that knowledge has led to their misfortune. By the fifth act Macbeth has killed countless people and his actions have led to the death of his wife Lady Macbeth. During the final scene before his own death he proclaims “My soul is too much charged / And be these juggling fiends no more believed, / That palter with us in a double sense, / That keep the word of promise to our ear, / And break it to our hope” (5.8.19-23). Macbeth realises that the knowledge the witches have given him has led to all of his recent misery. Similarly Frankenstein says: “Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow” (Shelly 38). Frankenstein explicitly states that the acquirement of knowledge is perilous. He warns Robert Walton that seeking answers will only bring misery and a man is happiest in his own town appose to traveling the world in search of glory and power. Also implied is that he has tried to become greater that nature meaning that he was overextending himself for power. Frankenstein warns even further: “I have