Robert Walton in Frankenstein

Robert Walton

Robert Walton is a polar explorer who meets Victor Frankenstein in the Arctic. It is to Walton that Victor tells his story and he, in turn, writes the narrative down in a series of letters to his sister, Margaret Saville, back in England.

Walton has many similar characteristics to Frankenstein, being driven by a desire for discovery. He also suffers from loneliness - again, this is like Victor and, indeed, the Monster.

How is Walton like this?EvidenceAnalysis
AmbitiousWalton's ambitious nature is linked to Victor's. They are both pushing the boundaries of their desire for knowledge and will stop at nothing to achieve their ambitions. Both men defy the wishes of their fathers and leave behind a quiet domestic life to seek scientific fame.You cannot contest the inestimable benefit which I shall confer on all mankind to the last generation, by discovering a passage near the pole to those countries, to reach which at present so many months are requisite; or by ascertaining the secret of the magnet, which, if at all possible, can only be effected by an undertaking such as mine.Walton wishes to make a geographical and scientific discovery that he feels will benefit 'all mankind' not just immediately but for future generations. Walton's ambition also reveals his arrogance. Like Victor, he wants the respect and praise of his fellow humans and takes his crew into a dangerous situation in order to accomplish this. He feels that only he (or someone like him) will be able to achieve his goals.
LonelyWalton's ambition has taken him, literally, to the end of the Earth where he will have little human contact. Even though he has a crew with him he is remote from them and comes into conflict over the matter of turning back and going home. When Walton takes Victor on board he hopes that here will be a friend for him; he repeatedly refers to Victor as 'brother'.I desire the company of a man who could sympathize with me, whose eyes would reply to mine. You may deem me romantic, my dear sister, but I bitterly feel the want of a friend. I have no one near me, gentle yet courageous, possessed of a cultivated as well as of a capacious mind, whose tastes are like my own, to approve or amend my plans. How would such a friend repair the faults of your poor brother!Not only does Walton wish for a companion but one who has certain characteristics - 'gentle yet courageous, possessed of a cultivated as well as of a capacious mind'. He would want this person to agree or make minor adjustments to his plans but not, significantly, to stop him from pursuing his course. Essentially, Walton is looking for another version of himself - just as the Monster seeks a similar mate.