The Importance of Companionship

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“In this prison it is only in human intercourse that I can pretend to find consolation” (Shelley 191), writes Mary Shelley on January 18th, 1824, to describe her extreme state of loneliness two years after her husband’s passing. This passage shows how lack of companionship can make the world seems empty, while an abundance of companionship will fill the lives of those who are so blessed to possess it. In many novels we can see how the protagonist always has their confidante, or someone who they will turn to when they are filled with despair and agony. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is no different. Each character has a need for the presence of a kind and loving soul in their life, or they could be turned into creatures of misery and anguish. It is strongly evident in the characters of Robert Walton, Victor Frankenstein, and the monster. Robert Walton repeatedly expresses the need for “… a man who could sympathise with me; whose eyes would reply to mine” (Shelley 4) to his sister, Margaret. He talks about how he “… bitterly feels the want of a friend” (Shelley 4), or a kindred spirit. Walton declares that a friend would balance out his ardent and impatient personality on his great journey to explore the North Pole and find an Arctic passage to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. He despairs that he shall never have a companion, but when he finds a man in search of someone, or something. In Walton’s excitement, he writes to his sister: “I said in one of my letters, my dear Margaret, that I should find no friend… I have found a man who… I should have been happy to have possessed as the brother of my heart” (Shelley 11). Sadly, the man Walton wished for as a friend had been broken by a lust for the knowledge of the unknown. Victor Frankenstein’s first recollections are of “[his] mother’s tender caresses and [his] father’s smile of benevolent pleasure while regarding [him]…” (Shelley 16). Up until this point in the novel, he talks about how he always has someone...
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