In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley combines three separate stories involving three different characters--Walton, Victor, and Frankenstein's monster. Though the reader is hearing the stories through Walton's perspective, Walton strives for accuracy in relating the details, as he says, "I have resolved every night,...to record, as nearly as possible in his [Victor's] own words, what he has related during the day" (Shelley 37). Shelley's shift in point of view allows for direct comparison and contrast between the characters, as the reader hears their stories through the use of first person. As the reader compares the monster's circumstances to those of Victor and Walton, the reader's sympathy for the monster greatly increases.
First of all, Victor and Walton made decisions that resulted in their misfortunes. Victor chose to create the being who would later destroy him and those he loved. He made the decision to give this being life without considering the possible consequences of creating life. Victor led himself to his own destruction. He had decisions--he didn't have to make the monster in the first place; he could have accepted and educated the monster; he could have fulfilled his promise to the monster regarding the creation of a female mate. However, Victor chose none of these options. Therefore, he must pay for the consequences of his decisions and actions (or lack thereof).
Just as Victor chose to create the monster, Walton chose to conduct a voyage to the North Pole. Though Walton suffered extreme loneliness, fatigue, hunger, and severe cold temperatures, these misfortunes were all the result of his own decision. He also felt that his purpose was worth experiencin...
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...s s/he compares the being's sufferings and helplessness to the self-induced tragedies of Victor and Walton.
Works Cited and Consulted
Bloom, Harold. Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. New York: Chelsea, 1987.
Garber, Frederick. The Autonomy of the Self from Richardson to Huysmans. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982.
Marder, Daniel. Exiles at Home: A Story of Literature in Nineteenth Century America. Lanham: University Press of America, Inc., 1984.
Patterson, Arthur Paul. A Frankenstein Study. http://www.watershed.winnipeg.mb.ca/Frankenstein.html
Smith, Christopher. Frankenstein as Prometheus. http://www.umich.edu/~umfandsf/class/sf/books/frank/papers/FrankCS.html
Spark, Muriel. Mary Shelly. New York: Dutton, 1987.
Williams, Bill. On Shelley's Use of Nature Imagery. http://www.umich.edu/~umfandsf/class/sf/books/frank/papers/FrankWJW.html
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