In regards to Frankenstein, in what way is Victor's story affected by having Robert Walton tell it?In what way are Victor Frankenstein & Robert Walton alike and different?

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MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Walton’s letters serve to filter Victor's story through another perspective, adding a level of objectivity to the reporting. Walter also helps set a realistic tone for what is otherwise a completely outrageous story. After all, who would believe that someone could create life out of dead matter? Walton helps diffuse this sense of disbelief, as he is introduced as a pragmatic man, concerned with facts and the practical matters of his expedition. But he is also a Romantic adventurer, eager for the rewards of new experiences and sensitive to human emotions. This creates a practical lens Walton is established as a reliable reporter, so his description of his passenger as an honest, sincere man makes his bizarre story more believable.

Walton and his passenger share a common bond in their Romantic natures. Both men desire to explore the unknown and are inspired by grand ideas. There is also a strong emotional tie between the two, and they are both quite sensitive and sympathetic towards each other. Both Victor and Walton are typical Romantic characters. 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. 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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