What are the parallels, or lack of parallels, between Walton's and Victor's experiences and motivation; strengths and flaws? (1 1/2 - 2 pages) In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, there are many comparisons and parallels between the two characters, Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein, as well as some differences. The experiences they both have, give the reader an insight into what their strengths and flaws are as a character, and we learn about their similar motivations and determination to achieve their goals.
Both Walton and Frankenstein are curious people and value the same things, such as education, companionship and the thirst for more knowledge than the average person. But, at the same time, Walton and Victor have different characteristics and personal strengths which help to enforce to the reader, that they are still separate and unique characters. Throughout Frankenstein, we notice many similarities between Walton and Frankenstein. Their personalities are much the same, in that they are both determined, curious and have high expectations of themselves.
They have a constant seek for knowledge and wisdom and want to know and achieve more than the average person. For example, Walton wants to sail to the Artic because he wants to 'tread a land never before imprinted by the foot of a man', and become a famous explorer in history, for achieving it. Likewise, Walton is eager to be the first to create a creature not naturally, but scientifically and exclaims 'what glory would attend the discovery, if I could banish disease from the human frame, and render man invulnerable to any but a violent death'. They have both created goals that they can achieve personal glory from.
They both desire to be the ideal Romantic, and be respectable and well-known heroes. Because both Walton and Frankenstein are so keen for glory and to achieve what no other human has before, they both make rash decisions that result in their misfortune. Frankenstein created his monster but didn't think of the consequences before he achieved it. Instead of educating and caring for the monster, such as a parent should to their child, Frankenstein brought upon his own destruction and the death of his loved ones, by not helping the monster learn moral values.
Walton also makes a mistake in trying to prove himself, through his decision to conduct a voyage to the Artic. This is because on the way he suffers a great deal, from loneliness, fatigue, hunger, the cold surroundings but is too ignorant to turn back, 'I had rather die than return shamefully - my purpose unfulfilled'. The reader's sympathy for both characters, decreases because it was Walton's and Victor's choice that they suffered, and didn't think of the consequences before they went ahead.
Another similarity between two of Mary Shelley's main characters are that they are both close companions with females, their sisters, and it is to them who both characters tell their thoughts, ambitions and mostly converse with, throughout Frankenstein. Walton does not have a friend, and so it is his 'dear sister Margaret' who he writes to and tells of his tale. She is basically his only friend, who he can confide in and so through his letters to her, we find out more about his personality and ambitions. Victor Frankenstein is also great friends with his adopted sister, Elizabeth.
He too writes to Elizabeth and confides his worries and situation to her, similar to Walton and Elizabeth's relationship. There are many similarities between two of the main characters in Frankenstein, Walton and Frankenstein, and as the reader we wonder whether Mary Shelley intended for us to recognise these, so that we can see the ignorance of both characters, and therefore contrast it to the innocence of the monster. Not only are there similarities between Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein, but also some differences in the way they view themselves and how they deal with situations.
Their differences probably started because of their youth and how they were brought up in different ways. While Frankenstein had a very loving and educated childhood, surrounded by many scientists and literature writers, Walton lived a harder life and self-educated himself. Because of this, Walton is constantly putting himself down and exaggerating his faults 'Now I am twenty-eight and am in reality more illiterate than many schoolboys of fifteen. ' Walton is exaggerating this statement, because he wants his sister to feel sympathy for him.
Where as Frankenstein tells his faults as they are, and is proud of his childhood, because it was the perfect romantic youth, and therefore emphasises that. There is a significant difference between Walton and Frankenstein, and how they treat others, when they are adults. Even though it was Frankenstein that experienced a childhood filled with love and warmth, it is he who does not take care or nurture someone in need. Instead of showing friendliness towards the monster, Frankenstein abandons it and therefore the monster has to learn experiences by itself, and confuses itself between what things are good and what is bad.
The monster was born innocent, but it was Frankenstein's prejudice against the way the monster looked, as well as society's prejudice, that corrupted the monster's mind. But it is Walton, who had a childhood deprived of love and companionship, who shows true friendliness and kindness towards Frankenstein, when Frankenstein needed it most. Despite him appearing exhausted, smelly, dirty and like an old man lost in the Artic, Walton looks beyond his outside appearance and instead at the inner being of Frankenstein.
This is a significant difference between Walton and Frankenstein because it emphasises the difference between what Walton values and what Frankenstein values. Frankenstein is more organised and certain of his future than Walton is. Walton talks a lot about his goal to reach the Artic, and what he will achieve when he does, and makes the appearance of having an adventurous and heroic future ahead of him. But he focuses too much on having achieved the goal, than the little tasks he has to do, to reach it.
Frankenstein is a more focused, consistent and patient man than Walton, and achieves his goal of creating a monster early in the novel because he paved the way by researching and collecting materials. Although Frankenstein is a harder worker than Walton, it is Walton who is the more sensible when it comes to making a choice. Towards the end of Frankenstein, Walton realises the mistake he has made in trying to reach the Artic, and instead chooses to abort the journey with his crew rather than continuing onwards. He learns to value the concerns of everyone else, rather than continuing forward for personal conquest.
Frankenstein didn't consider the consequences for others when he created his monster, and therefore helped Walton to learn from his own selfish mistake. In conclusion, there are both similarities and differences between Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein, in the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Both have an inner spirit that is full of determination, pride, and the thirst to be the best, and achieve personal goals which will glorify their name. But on the inside we notice that they do have different values and morals, which explain to the reader a little more about each character, and that they are total individuals.