The Role of Walton in Frankenstein

The character Robert Walton has many functions in the novel of Frankenstein. His role in the story, though relatively brief, is extremely important. He fulfills four roles. First, his own writings anticipate much of Frankenstein’s behaviour. Second, he sets the novel’s tone by introducing the themes which recur the most frequently. Third, he creates a structure through which Victor Frankenstein can relate his story. Fourth, he adds greater suspense and interest in the character of Frankenstein, and consequently in the novel’s outcome.

Primarily, Walton is almost Frankenstein’s double. Their characteristics are very similar. Walton, a voyager, whom, when the book begins, is traveling to the North Pole, has rejected a life of relative ease in England for one of discovery and excitement. He wishes, as does Frankenstein, to provide mankind with an “inestimable benefit” and, perhaps more importantly, to achieve great personal glory. Walton, like Frankenstein, also has an “ardent curiosity” to find out that which is unknown and it is perhaps this which drives Walton to the North Pole and Frankenstein to creating the monster. It may also be the case that the dreams of both of the men, and that they have desired the fulfillment of this...

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