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Importance Of Robert Walton's Letters And Himself In Frankenstein

1797 words - 8 pages

In the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Robert Walton is a ambitious character who desires to accomplish his dream from youth. Although, Walton only appears briefly in the book, he serves to be an important character. He is an important character to consider as he is a reflection of Victor Frankenstein's ruthless pursuit for knowledge. In this essay, I argue that the purpose for Robert Walton's letters being introduced in the beginning and the end of the novel is to allow the readers to develop a further understanding of dangers of irresponsibility associated with pursuit of knowledge. Consequently, Walton himself and his letters suggests that the tragedies can be prevented if individuals ...view middle of the document...

I agree with Marsh as I believe that the downfall of Victor was from his ulterior motive to "pour a torrent of light into [the] dark world" as "new species would bless [him] as its creator and source" (Shelley 54). From the letters alone, we do not know the book will entail this, however, Walton foreshadows the theme of pursuit of knowledge that could lead to downfall as Walton himself states the motive for the expedition as "[conferring] on all mankind to the last generation" (16). Both men are seeking for ulterior motive and as Marsh has argued we can presume the knowledge will lead to negative consequences.
As explained by Marsh, readers are often confused to read about Walton when reading Frankenstein(8) and I argue that the letters are used by Shelley to foreshadow the other two major themes of birth imagery and unpredictable events. As Walton prepares to depart for his expedition he writes that he does not have friends to "participate [his] joy" as he "[glows] with the enthusiasm of success" (Shelley 19). Unpredictably, this changes as he finds a man ,Victor, in a wretched condition in which Walton "[restores] him to animation" (25). One critic, Terry W. Thompson, suggests that Walton serves to be a reanimator of Victor as he "[brings Victor] back to sentient life in a dark and private chamber" (296). I acknowledge that Victor was brought back to life and the condition which he was reborn is similar to Victor's creation. Thus, I believe that the bond between Walton and Victor are strong, foreshadowing the birth of the Monster and the bond Victor shares with it. While Thompson emphasis Walton's pursuit of expedition to the recovery of Victor taking nine months, same gestation as a human fetus according to the old Roman calendar. I support this claim as Walton's "creation", Victor, was able to save Walton with his story of consequences that may occur when responsibilities and personal desires are not addressed. Victor believes that there is no purpose for life as he states "[I] have lost everything and cannot begin life anew" (Shelley 20). Evidently, I believe that Shelley uses the letters to give Victor a short-life, in which he can confess his sins through his story. Through the story, Victor is able gain accepted for his sins and die peacefully as he expresses his gratitude toward Walton for his "kind intentions towards so miserable a wretch" (Shelley 211), further foreshadowing the birth of the Monster who will too seek acceptance for his sins and physicality. The encounter between Victor and Walton aids to foreshadow the unpredictability of the story itself and the characters featured as Walton finds a "friend" that he desired but did not predict on his journey. Once Victor is restored to life, Walton admires him and states, " I should have been happy to have possessed as the Brother of my heart" (27). As Marsh claims, this sudden change in mood foreshadows the unpredictable thoughts that are associated with the thoughts of the...

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