How do Victor and Walton compare and contrast in Frankenstein?

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MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Both Walton and Victor represent Romantic ideals, and are guided by notions of science and exploration. Both men desire to explore the unknown and are inspired by grand ideas. Victor immediately understands Walton’s need for a close, spiritual friend. Walton is very aware of the terrible sadness that envelops his guest; he feels a kinship towards him, believing him to be a person of great intuition and judgment.

Walton and his new passenger are alike in other ways. They are both sensitive, compassionate men who began their respective adventures with lofty visions, excited at the thought of the great discoveries they intend to make. They were both willing to endure great hardship in order to achieve their goals, and they were single-minded in the pursuit of their objectives. As an Arctic explorer, Walton, much like Victor, wishes to conquer the unknown.

Walton is different from Victor is some crucial ways though. However, when he discovers Victor near death on the icy water, he listens to Victor's bitter and tormented tale of the creature. This makes him reconsider continuing his own mission, if it will put his own crew in danger. When the creature appears as Victor's is dying, Walton fails to destroy the creature, as Victor requested. Instead, he does what Victor continually failed to do: he listens to the creature's anguished tale with compassion and empathy. So, he succeeds where Victor fails.

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