Curiosity

A major theme prevalent throughout the last section of Frankenstein is the idea of curiosity. The want and need to discover new ideas and objects is seen in the character Walton during his letters home to his sister. After hearing the story about the fiend, instead of wallowing in sorrow for Frankenstein or horrified by the atrocity of this monster, he is primarily concerned with how Frankenstein made this creature. Walton “endeavored to gain from Frankenstein the particulars of his creature’s formation, but on this point he was impenetrable” (Shelley 209). Frankenstein told Walton this story to share his past years’ misfortune, but Walton was still fixated on the one part of the story Frankenstein wanted to leave out. Walton, as a good friend, obviously cares about his friend’s tumults, but his curiosity gets the best of him.

Another part of the story where the readers see Walton’s curiosity is when the rest of the crew, if in danger, wants to turn their voyage southward. As Walton pauses to answer this demand, Frankenstein reminds Walton and the crew that they “were hereafter to be hailed as the benefactors of [their] species, [their] name adored, as belonging to brave men who encountered death for honor and the benefit of mankind” (Shelley 214).  Although this voyage presents so much danger and has a likelihood of death, Walton still wants to continue just for the sake of curiosity. He does not think about the cost, but about the new discovery he could make if he reaches the north. The strive for finding something new is so powerful and triumphs over all other emotions.

This theme continues when Walton sees the monster for the first time. He knew that the request of his friend was to destroy the enemy but upon seeing the fiend, he was “now suspended by a mixture of curiosity and compassion” (Shelley 217). Again, Walton knew what was in front of him and what he obeyed his friend he would do, but his curiosity transcended. This force of curiosity seems to overpower all, and make less of the other events in Walton’s past. This sense of curiosity can be applied to today’s technology, as each person strives to find something new, as it seems discovery is one of the most important parts of our lives.

3 comments
  1. I think you make a very strong point in this post. I definitely agree that Walton is incredibly curious and all of your arguments enforce that well. I find that curiosity not only plays a roll in Walton’s life, however, but also in that of Frankenstein’s and even the monster. I know that’s not what you’re responding to, but it’s something to think about.

  2. Ali, I agree with you that there is certainly a theme of curiosity, as both Frankenstein and Walton have expressed their curiosity to the monster. I believe that Shelly, by showing how curious people are and how people make the same mistake repeatedly, tries to warn people to be careful about the decisions they make and the danger technology can bring. I like how you draw a conclusion with our technology nowadays, since we never know the real potential of our inventions, like nuclear weapon and Internet.

  3. It is in one’s common nature to be curious because we constantly look for knowledge. Starting from the time we are young. we are curious about our surroundings and how and why things work. Yes, curiosity can be harmful to us, but it is part of our human nature.

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