Frankenstein’s Monster and the Three Laws of Robotics

Initially, Frankenstein’s monster adheres to principals similar to Asimov’s three laws of robotics:

““Be calm! I entreat you to hear me before you give vent to your hatred on my devoted head. Have I not suffered enough, that you                   seek to increase my misery? Life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend it.                                        Remember, thou hast made me more powerful than thyself; my height is superior to thine, my joints more supple. But I will                                not be tempted to set myself in opposition to thee. I am thy creature, and I will be even mild and docile to my                                                         natural lord and king if thou wilt also perform thy part, the which thou owest me.” [page 114].

Compare this quote to Asimov’s three robotic laws:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law
Much like a robot, Frankenstein’s monster is a creature that is more powerful than a human. Yet his creature decides, quite on his own, to adopt a code much like Asimov’s robotic laws. In the beginning of his life, he had no desire to harm humans, even though his reception by humanity was brutish and cruel. Instead, the monster studies and admires humanity. Along with his study of the De Lacey family, he helps them with their day to day tasks. He chops wood and clears snow for Felix. With his great strength he makes the lives of his humans more comfortable. In many Sci-fi novels, this is much the intended purpose of robots; until of course, the robot goes postal and threatens to kill everyone.
In addition to helping the De Lacy family, the monster has an intrinsic understanding that he cannot harm his creator. He tells Victor Frankenstein that he will act as his loyal servant, if accepted.
Yet – much like many stories of Robots gone wild – the master realizes that his creation could create more copies of itself, and even destroy the human race. When Victor realizes this, he refuses to create “the bride of Frankenstein,” and furthermore, decides to kill his creation. While the creation is eventually killed, the trail of bloodshed results in tears for everyone.

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