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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.
Though Frankenstein declares, “Do not return to your families with the stigma of disgrace marked on your brows.
Return as heroes,” Walton feels a social duty which overcomes his thirst for glory (217). Saville: “I have lost my hopes of utility and glory…
(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.
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).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).Though he does pursue an enterprise, he does not become wholly consumed by his isolationist ambition. How would such a friend repair the faults of your poor brother! The Captain desires companionship to counterbalance the “faults” of his zealous, isolationist ambition.Indeed, he strikes a compromise between isolation and society which ultimately forfeits his enterprise. For if enterprise goes unchecked and man isolates himself, both become an all consuming and destructive force — almost like the black hole of Frankenstein’s yin yang. Ironically, he seeks to become friends with Frankenstein, a man who has cast away all of his friends in favor of his enterprise.I removed him to my own cabin and attended on him as much as my duty would permit.I never saw a more interesting creature…I would not allow him to be tormented by [the shipmates’] idle curiosity, in a state of body and mind whose restoration evidently depended upon entire repose.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).These ambitions to scientifically probe nature are driven by a common thirst for glory. Saville, “I prefer glory to every enticement that wealth place[s] in my path” (17).Unaware of this statement, Frankenstein later describes his youthful mentality: “Wealth was an inferior object, but what glory would attend the discovery if I could banish disease…” (42).