Explain in detail, why Mary Shelly sets the first scene on a glacier in the Alps (Sea of Ice scene) in "Frankenstein."

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amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The introduction of the novel in this way helps to set up the frame story and the parallel nature between Robert Walton, the ship's captain, and Victor Frankenstein.  The two meet when the crew members watch the creature on his sled and then two days later, Victor, half dead from the cold and starvation, is brought aboard.  The entire story is told to Robert Walton, who, through letters to his sister back in England, tells the story to the rest of us.  Victor agrees to tell the story to Robert when he realizes that Robert is suffering from the same blind ambition that he himself suffered.  Victor does not wish to see the younger man's life in ruins as a result of his ambition.  The two are very alike, and Victor would not want Robert to make the same mistakes he made leading Robert to lose everything and everyone he loves.

Therefore, after Victor dies and the creature appears and then leaves again, we, the readers, are quite certain that Robert Walton has learned a valuable lesson from his friend Victor Frankenstein.  He will turn the boat back and not allow a mutiny to take place on his ship.  There will be other times that he may attempt to find the passage through that will put his name in the history books...or perhaps there will be other ambitions to pursue.

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