Robert Walton’s Thirst for Knowledge in Mary Shelley´s Frankenstein Essay

Robert Walton’s Thirst for Knowledge in Mary Shelley´s Frankenstein Essay

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Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was written with the theme of the desire for knowledge at the heart of the book. Many of the character in the book are searching for knowledge, whether it is the knowledge of how to break the cycle of life, or the ability to read and understand, or even knowing what is at the North Pole. Robert Walton is one of the characters that falls victim to this thirst for knowledge. Robert Walton’s search for knowledge in Frankenstein leads him to not only discover the perils that come from his hunt for knowledge, but also learns a lesson about his own limits.
Robert Walton begins the book by writing to his sister and telling her about his voyage to the North Pole, she was afraid for him to leave because she didn’t want him to be in any danger. He is writing these letters to his sister and describing the ways that he feels about the exhibition to the North Pole, from the way that he is writing to her, it is obvious that he is enticed and seduced by the idea of learning more about the North Pole. He says, “I feel a cold northern breeze play upon my cheeks, which braces my nerves and fills me with delight. Do you understand this feeling?” (1). The North Pole feels him with tantalizing feelings of the unknown that fuel his urge to continue his mission to explore and gain all of the knowledge about it. Walton continues his voyage north and writing to his sister, where he informs her that His ship had been encased in ice the night before so they had not been able to move and then the next morning he finds a crew member talking to a man off of the side of their ship that was stuck on a chunk of ice floating in the ocean. This man was emaciated and covered in dirt and filth. He briefly talked to Walton about a “demon...

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...veryone involved and that loves Walton, he is not just putting his life in danger, he is also putting other peoples lives in danger and also causing emotional distress to the people that love him, like his sister. He learned of the perils that can come from continuing his search for knowledge, but the real lesson he learned from Frankenstein’s monster is that this conquest to acquire the knowledge of the North Pole was not worth the possible perils that could come from it. He learns that he has limits when it comes to the search; he was not willing to go against his crew’s command that they go back if they were released from the ice, and this shows that he has learned a lesson about his own limits. In the end, the message to take away from this is not to go searching for knowledge and expect everything to go perfectly and there be no perils that could come from it.

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