Different stories, different people, same purpose?

In Shelley’s Frankenstein, she loves to use the method of storytelling within her own story. So far in our readings, she has done this with Walton to his lady friend, with Frankenstein to Walton, and with the creation to Frankenstein. The two latter situations are incredibly similar to each other. Both are telling their story so that their hearers will learn something. In the case Frankenstein to Walton, it was to advise him of the consequences of the consuming and obsessive ambition to gain knowledge. In the creation’s story to Frankenstein, the desire seems to be the same. The creation gives an account of events that have occurred since he was given life, although it seems more like a list of grievances.

Not only are the story-teller’s motives similar, but the hearers are similar as well. Walton’s reason for hearing Frankenstein was a mix of sympathy and curiosity. He thought to himself, “I felt the greatest eagerness to hear the promised narrative, party from curiosity, and partly from a strong desire to ameliorate his fate, if it were in my power” (p. 62). What is interesting to me, is Victor had practically the exact same response of sympathy and curiosity when his creation desired to tell his tale. Victor also thought to himself, “I was partly urged by curiosity, and compassion confirmed my resolution” (p.120).

I think these similarities confirm the idea that Frankenstein sees much of himself in Walton. Both are ambitious and are willing to sacrifice companionship in the pursuit of knowledge. Both seem to be very close with their families. So far, Shelley seems to be presenting identical people, but in different stages of life and their journeys to knowledge.

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