Can you help me understand the following quote from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: "It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn; and whether it was the outward substance of things, or the inner spirit of nature and the mysterious soul of man that occupied me, still inquiries were directed to the metaphysical, or in its highest sense, the physical secrets of the world."

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In one of his final letters to his sister, the explorer Robert Walton, having rescued from the frigid Arctic Ocean the physically and emotionally exhausted Victor Frankenstein, and having found in this unexpected encounter a kindred spirit of sorts, offers an interesting prelude to the philosophical discussions that will follow as Mary Shelley's narrative shifts from Walton's travails to those of his guest:

One man’s life or death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of the knowledge which I sought, for the dominion I should acquire and transmit over the elemental foes of our race. 

Walton's obsession with his expedition, despite his despondency at having become mired in the frozen wasteland of the Arctic, suggests that he and Frankenstein have more in common than one might imagine based upon the little we know of Frankenstein at this stage of the story. Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus , is a far more complicated story than the many cinematic adaptations that have been...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 893 words.)

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