Are the characters of Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein similar or dissimilar.
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Are the characters of Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein similar or dissimilar In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein are the two biggest narrators of the story but their style of narration is entirely different. We are introduced to Robert Walton through a series of letters he is sending to his sister, a Mrs Saville. Through these letters we learn about his character, his objective and motives. The letters tell us of what is happening to Robert Walton and tells the story from his point of view. It is through these letters that we are introduced to Victor Frankenstein. As the two bond, Victor Frankenstein agrees to tell his story of how he has come to be where he is and how he is, desolate. Although the story is being relayed in a letter to Mrs Saville from Robert Walton the words are meant to be straight from Victor's mouth and the tale is written in a novel format i.e. in chapters. In Robert Walton's narrative we are constantly reminded that he is writing in the present, telling his sister his emotions he is feeling while writing and what is happening at the precise moment. Victor Frankenstein's narrative is different he talks precisely of all that happened to him in that time of influence and emerges you into that story. Occasionally reminding you that he is actually telling it to someone, that there's someone else listening to the story.
They both have a thirst for knowledge and will stop at nothing to obtain the information they strive for. Victor Frankenstein from a young child read the books of human philosophy and was constantly expanding his knowledge. Upon coming to the University of Ingelstadt he learns that the knowledge he has obtained is "out of date" and begins on a new search for information. He becomes obsessed with the human anatomy and decides to create and regenerate a dead body, patched together from various other human bodies. This project of discovering the ultimate knowledge leads him to create a being that in the end ruins his whole life and of those closest to him. In Robert Walton's words describing his goal, discovering the secret of the magnetic north, he reflects his need for the greater secrets of life. Again Frankenstein sees himself in the words spoken by Robert Walton, "One man's life or death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of knowledge". Between them there is a constant, "Seek for knowledge and wisdom". Robert Walton as a child wasn't educated but sought for wisdom by himself, in books. This is very similar to what Victor Frankenstein did, the books they read as children shaped their achievements and aims that we become (as the reader) so familiar with. In Frankenstein's case he discovers what he had strived for and found that it was more of a burden than a sense of wisdom.
His idol was Victor Frankenstein. He admired the wisdom and from the story told learnt from Victor Frankenstein's mistakes and took heed from them making himself just as wise and without having to go through the pain Frankenstein endured. Although Victor Frankenstein and Robert Walton are very similar in character and stature of the story (both being narrators) there are several significant differences between them. Both are discoverers and relative wise men but between them there is the role-play of mentor and student. Victor Frankenstein plays the role of mentor and is wiser from his experience, he tells the story of what happens to him. Frankenstein may have failed in his life but succeeded in saving Robert Walton, his student, from making the same life ruining mistakes that he did. Indeed they share the same character traits but between them when together there is a clear leader and follower but always a mutual respect. I come back to the original question, "Are the characters of Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein similar or dissimilar". Well I cannot answer this question without sounding ambiguous in either respect of saying they are similar or not. My conclusion is that in youth Victor Frankenstein was very similar to the character of Robert Walton but after his experience is not so. Upon telling his story he opens Robert Walton's eyes and Robert Walton reaches the same level of wisdom as Victor Frankenstein but without the loss of family and the heavy burden of sorrow. Are they similar? Yes they are but in different ways and at different times. 1
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