Robert Walton is an explorer in the Arctic journeying towards the North Pole, even though his men urge him to turn back. He finds Victor Frankenstein nearly frozen and brings him on board to care for him, and that is how they meet. But why is it important that they have met?
The story begins as Victor recounts his life to Walton and Walton recounts Victor's stories to his sister through a series of letters. What we find from their meeting and their short lived friendship by the end of the novel is that Walton is very similar to Victor, and even to the monster as well. Like Victor, Walton is looking to achieve great feats and severely pushing the limits to do so. However, like the monster, he is lonely and longs for a friend. What better friend than Victor Frankenstein, a man who can really teach him a thing or two about pushing the limits? Walton learns from Victor's story and from his short encounter with the monster. He learns that severe consequences that can come from pushing the limits of exploration or acquiring certain knowledge and ultimately decides to turn back and abandon his suicide mission.
In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein creates a living being from stolen body parts. This monstrous being leaves Frankenstein's quarters and in time realizes how frightening he is and how alone he is. He begs Victor to make a mate for him and promises to leave humanity behind and live in seclusion. Victor starts working on making another creature, but is unwilling to finish it and leaves. Infuriated, the creature kills Victor's friend and promises to visit him on his wedding night. The creature returns to kill Victor's bride on his wedding night, thus leaving Victor as alone as he himself is. The loss of family members, friends and the love of his life infuriates Victor and he sets out in search of the creature to extract vengeance. He chases the monster, finally arriving in the Arctic, and this is where Robert Walton, a polar explorer, finds him - ill and adrift on a sheet of ice. Walton looks after him and learns about his story, after which Victor dies in his ship. The story is told by Walton to his sister through a series of letters.