But when the roles are reversed, and is described as “wretched,” he is given “soup,” shelter, and protection from being “tormented.” Through this uncanny juxtaposition, Shelley presents Walton as far more friendly and empathetic than Frankenstein.
In actively “attend[ing] on the man he animates, Walton, unlike Frankenstein, feels emotional attachment: “I begin to love him as a brother; and his constant and deep grief fills me with sympathy and compassion” (29).
Another stark juxtaposition lies at the end of the novel when Walton’s ship is frozen into an ice sheet. Saville a deep concern for the welfare of others: “Be assured that for my own sake, as well as yours, I will not rashly encounter danger,” and “I shall do nothing rashly: you know me sufficiently to confide in my prudence and considerateness whenever the safety of others is committed to my care” (22, 23).
Accordingly, he consents to his crew’s request that the enterprise turn back toward England: “in justice, I could not refuse” (216).
Frankenstein is consumed by isolation; his companionship with society is all but obliterated by the close of the story.
Walton, on the other hand, represents the perfect balance of isolation and companionship.Frankenstein’s message to Clerval, “do not interfere with my motions, I entreat you: leave me to peace and solitude,” and his retreat to the remote Orkney Islands represents the final act in his self-extrication from society.This act of isolation precipitates the creation’s murder of Clerval, Frankenstein’s closest friend, and drives him to lament, “on the whole earth there is no comfort which I am capable of receiving” (183).(26–27)Shelley immediately likens Frankenstein to his own creation through the word “wretched,” and, in doing so, present an irony.Frankenstein deserts his “wretched” creation, who then becomes hungry and harassed by society.In their first dialogue, Victor yells at his creature, “Begone! There can be no community between you and me; we are enemies” (103).Shortly thereafter, he ventures to Scotland with Henry Clerval and delays Elizabeth’s desire for marriage and his father’s desire for his homecoming.Her message condemns gender roles within Romantic society and ultimately provides a paradigm for the malign consequences of isolation.The characters of Walton and Frankenstein are almost entirely alike.Throughout the novel, Victor Frankenstein increasingly rejects his friendships and isolates himself.The first stage in this process occurs after months of intellectual stimulation at college in Ingolstadt. which made me neglect the scenes around me caused me to forget those friends who were so many miles absent, and whom I had not seen for so long a time” (55 , 56).