Richard Selzer's "Imelda": An an Allegory of the Frankenstein Motif of "Playing God” College

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a story about Victor who uses scientific knowledge to create a monster. However, the monster turns against him, and it kills the people that he loves. The monster denies him peace of mind when it gets out of control; he swears to destroy it because it does not meet his expectations. Victor is remorseful for creating the monster; he laments that “I abhorred the face of man. Oh, not abhorred! they were my brethren, my fellow beings, and I felt attracted even to the most repulsive among them, as to creatures of an angelic nature and celestial mechanism” (Shelley 141). Richard Selzer’s “Imelda” is a story about a young girl who dies in the hands of Dr. Franciscus. Dr. Franciscus is a plastic surgeon who gives his patients and students the impression that nothing can go wrong with the plastic surgery procedures. Dr. Franciscus is a perfectionist; Selzer compares him with a monk to demonstrate his commitment to his work. Though a story with subtleties of its own, Richard Selzer’s “Imelda” is clearly an allegory of the Frankenstein motif of playing God.

Selfish interests motivate mad scientists that play God. In his journal, "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and the Fate of Modern Scientific Psychology."...

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