Throughout the novel Frankenstein there is a pervading theme of the quest for knowledge, which still continues today. Victor attempts to surge beyond accepted human limits and access the secret of life, just as many genetic scientists are trying to do today. Likewise, Walton attempts to surpass previous human explorations by endeavouring to reach the North Pole. This ruthless pursuit of knowledge proves dangerous, as Victors act of creation results in the destruction of everyone dear to him, and Walton finds himself perilously trapped between sheets of ice.
I think that although we may have the knowledge to do something, it doesnt mean that we must do it, if it has moral or other implications. For example we know how to make a nuclear bomb, but should we ever use it? Another issue that the novel raises is the issue of moral responsibility. We need to care for humanity as a whole, not just ourselves. We in the rich West have money food and shelter while those in other lands such as Ethiopia are starving.
In these modern times, we also have a responsibility to care for and sustain the environment, not to abuse the gift of nature. This is in contrast to the deforestation of Amazon Rainforests in Brazil, where millions of trees are cut down every day for the Western worlds timber and paper needs. We are even more aware of the damage to our environment now because of the scientific progress we have experienced since Shelleys day. Frankenstein refuses to take moral responsibility for his creation. Today, people emphasis their rights over their responsibilities.
Perhaps even more than in Shelleys time, we need to encourage moral responsibility in our individualistic society, where most people seems to be looking out only for themselves. Another final issue raised by the novel is the issue of prejudice. An example of prejudice is anti-Semitism: prejudice towards Jewish people. Anti-Semitism was a tenet of Nazi Germany, and in the Holocaust 1933-45 about 6 million Jews died in concentration camps and in local extermination pogroms, such as the siege of the Warsaw ghetto.
In Eastern Europe, as well as in Islamic nations, anti-Semitism still exists and is spread by neo-fascist groups. In spite of the globalisation of our world, through air travel, TV and the Internet, since Shelleys day, we still have many examples of prejudice and discrimination against those of different appearance, colour, race, intelligence, sex, age from ourselves. Throughout the novel, the monster is rejected and exiled because of his appearance, when deep down he was an intelligent, thoughtful and emotional being.
No one could see past his horrific appearance to reveal his personality and thoughts. To be a victim of prejudice is demeaning and makes the person feel worthless. Despite this, the Monster fights on, trying to befriend people until he finally gives up and decides that the best thing to do would be to die. This type of attitude and feeling is something that people should not have to deal with in such a multi-cultural world we live in, for we are all human beings.