passage near the pole
The Northwest Passage, and (to a lesser extent because less practicable)
the Northeast Passage, were major objects of exploration in the later
eighteenth century, renewed after peace returned to Europe in 1815 with the strong backing of
the British government as seemingly being crucial to Britain's domination
of the seas and to the commerce that held together the Empire. As with
other scientific aspects of Mary Shelley's novel, this ambition of
Walton's has a large cultural and political resonance.