Comparison between Characters of Frankenstein
In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley combines three separate stories involving three different characters--Walton, Victor, and Frankenstein's monster. Though the reader is hearing the stories through Walton's perspective, Walton strives for accuracy in relating the details, as he says, "I have resolved every night,...to record, as nearly as possible in his [Victor's] own words, what he has related during the day" (Shelley 37). Shelley's shift in point of view allows for direct comparison and contrast between the characters, as the reader hears their stories through the use of first person. As the reader compares the monster's circumstances to those of Victor and Walton, the reader's sympathy for the monster greatly increases.
First of all, Victor and Walton made decisions that resulted in their misfortunes. Victor chose to create the being who would later destroy him and those he loved. He made the decision to give this being life without considering the possible consequences of creating life. Victor led himself to his own destruction. He had decisions--he didn't have to make the monster in the first place; he could have accepted and educated the monster; he could have fulfilled his promise to the monster regarding the creation of a female mate. However, Victor chose none of these options. Therefore, he must pay for the consequences of his decisions and actions (or lack thereof).
Just as Victor chose to create the monster, Walton chose to conduct a voyage to the North Pole. Though Walton suffered extreme loneliness, fatigue, hunger, and severe cold temperatures, these misfortunes were all the result of his own decision. He also felt that his purpose was worth experiencing deprivation of food, warmth, and companionship. Walton writes, "I had rather die than return shamefully,--my purpose unfulfilled" (Shelley 179). Thus, Walton chose to suffer, rather than head back home. Because these characters had choices, the reader's sympathy for them decreases.
The monster, however, had no control over his misfortunes. He was brought into the world with no one to give him knowledge, support, and guidance. He was completely deserted by his creator. When he tried to make friends, everyone either ran away from him or tried to kill him. When he saved a little girl from drowning, he was shot. He provided firewood daily for the De Lacey family, and they regarded him as "good spirit, wonderful" (Shelley 102). Yet when they saw this "good spirit," they deserted their house and the monster and never came back. The being was given no choices regarding these incidents. His rejection and misfortune was not caused by his actions, but rather his appearance, a physical trait that he cannot change. The monster's problem is that he is ugly--deformed. He did not choose to be physically deformed. He was created that way by Victor. Thus, Victor is ultimately responsible for the being's rejection. The reader...