Frankenstein and Robert Walton

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Dangerous Knowledge—An Analytical Essay on “Frankenstein” The pursuit of discovery and knowledge are thrilling aspects of human achievement, but can also be very dangerous if not handled correctly. In Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” Shelley portrays these two aspects of accomplishment as dangerous, destructive, and even fateful. Shelley begins her novel with an ambitious seafarer named Robert Walton. Walton is determined to reach the North Pole, where he may “tread a land never before imprinted by the foot of man” (6). During his journey, he writes constantly to his sister, Margaret Saville. Unfortunately, due to the laws of nature, sheets of impassable ice enclosing on their ship soon interrupt Walton’s mission. Trapped, Walton meets Victor Frankenstein, another ambitious man who has been traveling by a dog-drawn sledge across the ice. Frankenstein is emaciated and sick from the cold, and Walton takes him aboard ship. Walton helps nurse him back to health, and hears the fantastic tale of the creature that Frankenstein created. In Shelley’s novel “Frankenstein,” Robert Walton, Victor Frankenstein, and the creature are portrayed with parallels and contrasts regarding their ambition for intellectual pursuit and glory—performing acts of great destruction, selfishness, and conceit. Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein are portrayed with parallels concerning their ambitiousness while causing fatal consequences. To begin with, Walton and Frankenstein are lonely—longing for friendship. At the beginning of the novel, Walton is desperate for a friend. In one of his letters to his sister, Walton says that when he does bathe in the joy of success, “there will be none to participate my joy” (8). Walton longs for a man with “tastes [are] like my own” (8). Frankenstein longs for a friend by creating his creature, which he hopes will “bless [me] as his creator and source” (34). Frankenstein wants to create his creature not only for companionship, but also for glory and...
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