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I am wafted towards England, and towards you, I will not despond… Expressly deeply pained by his failed enterprise, Walton retains the ability to find solace in human communion.Though both men are similar in identity and enterprise, their treatment of friends precipitates starkly different fates; Walton survives to reconnect with society while Frankenstein meets a lonely demise.These ambitions to scientifically probe nature are driven by a common thirst for glory. Saville, “I prefer glory to every enticement that wealth place[s] in my path” (17).
Throughout the novel, Victor Frankenstein increasingly rejects his friendships and isolates himself.
The first stage in this process occurs after months of intellectual stimulation at college in Ingolstadt. which made me neglect the scenes around me caused me to forget those friends who were so many miles absent, and whom I had not seen for so long a time” (55 , 56).
But when the roles are reversed, and is described as “wretched,” he is given “soup,” shelter, and protection from being “tormented.” Through this uncanny juxtaposition, Shelley presents Walton as far more friendly and empathetic than Frankenstein.
In actively “attend[ing] on the man he animates, Walton, unlike Frankenstein, feels emotional attachment: “I begin to love him as a brother; and his constant and deep grief fills me with sympathy and compassion” (29).
Rather than a monetary reward, zealous curiosity and desire for glory motivate both men to set out on an enterprise; Frankenstein attempts to animate a man while Walton attempts to discover passage routes through the Arctic.
It becomes clear Shelley differentiates Walton and Frankenstein by only one character trait: their treatment of friends.Though Frankenstein declares, “Do not return to your families with the stigma of disgrace marked on your brows.Return as heroes,” Walton feels a social duty which overcomes his thirst for glory (217). Saville: “I have lost my hopes of utility and glory…Frankenstein is consumed by isolation; his companionship with society is all but obliterated by the close of the story.Walton, on the other hand, represents the perfect balance of isolation and companionship.This stark dichotomy revolves around the concept of friendship and how characters treat their friends.By juxtaposing Captain Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein, Shelley critiques isolationism and promotes companionship as vital to humanity’s prosperity.Frankenstein altogether loses contact with his domestic relationships as he becomes more engrossed in working on his creation: “I wished, as it were, to procrastinate all that related to my feelings of affection… Upon William’s death, he reaffirms this emotional and geographical detachment: “At first I wished to hurry on, for I longed to console and sympathise with my loved and sorrowing friends; but when I drew near my native town, I slackened my progress” (76).After his incredible inability to seek or provide consolation during William’s funeral and Justine’s death, Frankenstein severely deteriorates all social connections.(26–27)Shelley immediately likens Frankenstein to his own creation through the word “wretched,” and, in doing so, present an irony.Frankenstein deserts his “wretched” creation, who then becomes hungry and harassed by society.