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M. Waldman and the effect that his lecture and guidance has on Victor can be described by the literary term catalyst.
M. Waldman, a professor at Ingolstadt where Victor attends college in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, would typically be considered a flat and/or static character. In the sense that Waldman fails to change or be defined with great detail, he acts as a static and flat character. This said, the impact he has upon Victor proves to be far more important than a simple static character.
Although readers are not told much about Waldman himself, they are allowed to infer about the great impact he has on Victor and his desire to re-animate life. In fact, in chapter three, Victor enlightens readers about the true impact Waldman has upon him and his studies: “Such were the professor's words—rather let me say such the words of the fate, enouncedto destroy me.” The professor had been speaking about the power of the philosophers and their ability to perform miracles.
Therefore, Waldman does not only serve as a secondary character in the novel. He, instead, serves as a literary catalyst to Victor’s actions. Without the “pep talk” given by Waldman, Victor may have never ended up on the path which insured his own destruction.
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