“Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley Essay
“Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley
No matter how much two individuals are alike, there are always traits that separate one from the other. In Mary Shelley’s novel “Frankenstein”, Victor Frankenstein and Robert Walton are both seekers of knowledge who are determined to succeed. However, while Walton is able to risk everything, Frankenstein soon realizes his errors in his frenzied obsession with discovery.
The novel begins with Robert Walton’s caring letters to his sister Margaret. Walton bids farewell to his “dear, excellent Margaret(9)”, and thanks her for her “love and kindness(9)”. His words display his love and affection for Margaret. Robert Walton, while seemingly unfeeling on his search for discovery, is tender to his beloved sister. In the same manner, Victor Frankenstein harbors love for Elizabeth Lavenza. Frankenstein creates a horrific killing creature, yet still has the heart to be affectionate to cousin. Even before Frankenstein looks at Elizabeth as his spouse, she was a sister to him, the same way Margaret is a sisterly character to Walton.
Loneliness is another aspect that Frankenstein and Walton have in common. Although loved ones first surround Frankenstein, the Creature soon takes out his anger of life and of Victor by killing all those close to him. After those unfortunate occurrences, Frankenstein is left lonely, with only one goal, to seek revenge on the Creature. Walton’s loneliness is clearly described in his first letters to Margaret.
Perhaps the most obvious similarity connecting Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein is their quest for knowledge, or “the country of eternal life” as Walton described in a letter to his sister. Robert Walton’s perilous journey to the Arctic is very much like Frankenstein’s search for the secret of life. Walton explores unknown territory in the north. Likewise, Frankenstein delves into undiscovered territory on a theoretical basis.
In the field of science, Frankenstein is very determined to achieve his goal. He describes his summer, as a time when he was “engaged, heart and soul, in one pursuit(34)”. However, as soon as his creation, the Creature, opens his eyes, Victor Frankenstein realizes his mistakes in going against nature, thus terminating his quest to revive life. Robert Walton, on the other hand, is still persistent on his expedition. He faces many obstacles like the numbing cold and abundance of ice, but Walton has not yet faced anything like the shocking creation of the Creature, that would stop him from his task. He continues
Another characteristic that separates Frankenstein and Walton is their ability to attain friends. Frankenstein is constantly surrounded by his loved ones, if not his father or Elizabeth, then it is his best friend Henry Clerval. Unlike Frankenstein, Robert Walton seems unable to make friends. In his second letter to his sister, he writes that he desperately “feels” the want of a friend(10)”. Victor Frankenstein, on the other hand, even finds a friend in M. Waldman, his professor. He is blessed with companions, though he soon loses them by the hand of the Creature. Meanwhile, Walton, having no friends finds one in Frankenstein.
Victor Frankenstein and Robert Walton, both looking to achieve one goal, have many traits in common. Yet, no two people can be exactly alike, thus they also have areas in which the other lacks in. They both have love, and seek the truth. At the same time, Walton and Frankenstein have very different personalities, shown in their ability to make friends, and both go through different lengths to gain knowledge. In the end, they both learn that knowledge is not everything, and sometimes turning back is not so horrible.