Wednesday, October 16, 2019

A comparison of Francis Bacon and Mary Shelley's views of science as Essay

A comparison of Francis Bacon and Mary Shelley's views of science as expressed in The Sphinx and Frankenstein, respectively - Essay Example Bacon theorized that science is a means to solving two riddles, one being the nature of things and the other the nature of man. His ideas for a way to solve these riddles are very similar to the widely utilized scientific method, believing that matter can be studied and understood by observation, trial, and error (Bacon). Bacon manifests his vision of science in the mythical Sphinx. The Sphinx is a monster with the head and voice of a young woman, the feet of the griffin, and wings of a bird. The creature and her riddles represent the riddles of science and how searching for the answers can either tear apart a man or cause a break through by answering the riddle and subduing the Sphinx, or quenching the man’s immediate thirst for knowledge. The man who finally defeats the Sphinx, a man with high intelligence and clubbed feet, demonstrates the need for patience and taking things slowly when confronting the riddles of science. If a man showed ignorance in the face of science, if he failed to answer the riddle correctly, the Sphinx would rip him apart. The griffin claws of the Sphinx represent the way that the pursuit of answers can take sharp hold in the human mind, effectively ripping it apart if the answers are not found. In the same vein, the face and voice represent the beauty of science and the wings are indicative of how the answers of science spread and fly quickly to the far reaches of the Earth (Bacon). Her riddles originate from the Muses, where the questions are ambiguous and have no emotional subtext. Once the riddles reach the Sphinx, they contain the unbiased cruelty of the pursuits of science, where the questions themselves do not care regarding the havoc they can wreak on those who dare to try to solve them. Bacon has taken an ancient myth and applied it to the mysteries of the universe. Mary Shelley’s view of science relates to Bacon’s in that she also viewed

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