(855) 4-ESSAYS

Type a new keyword(s) and press Enter to search


            The book is structured such that Frankenstein (who remains unnamed in this first section) will be its primary narrator; Walton, who listens to his story, is thus the reader's stand-in within the novel. Since Walton is both Frankenstein's audience and his student, we may infer that we, too, are meant to learn something from the tale of Frankenstein. .
             A number of the book's central themes are introduced here. Walton's intense ambition to discover the unknown (to the point that he would sacrifice his life and the lives of his men at sea) indicates that he considers himself a kind of epic hero. He describes his voyage as both "glorious" and "magnificent"; it is therefore clear that, for him, it is equivalent to an odyssey. .
             Underlying his obsession with discovery is the desire for glory and conquest; in this way, Walton hopes to achieve immortality. He suffers from extreme hubris (the belief that he can be equal to a god) and considers himself invincible. He feels that destiny has chosen him, specifically, to complete this perilous journey. .
             The stranger's distress at the obvious arrogance of Walton's plans (he likens Walton's curiosity to drinking from a poisonous cup) is telling. From this, the reader may infer that Frankenstein believes indeed, knows firsthand that the quest for knowledge can lead to destruction. .
             Through the character of Walton, Shelley condemns both him and a society that insists that its young men conduct themselves as though they were gods. She condemns what might be called "the scientific posture": the belief that all boundaries must be transgressed, all mysteries laid bare, without regard for those who may be harmed by the resulting knowledge. .
             Walton and the stranger are positioned as doubles of each other. The stranger's utter devastation can thus be read as an illustration of what becomes of those who "succeed" in their pursuit of scientific knowledge. That the two men meet in a place of complete desolation (the Arctic Circle) is also significant.

Essays Related to Analysis

Got a writing question? Ask our professional writer!
Submit My Question