Contents Index

this great enterprise

The seemingly admirable discipline by which Walton defers fulfillment and prepares himself for the challenge of his expedition may take on less favorable connotations once the reader has witnessed the introversion and compulsive self-denial into which Victor Frankenstein throws himself as he pursues his own ambitious project. Furthermore, the phrase itself, though seemingly innocent of allusive force, in the context provided by the diction of the ensuing paragraph takes on a mythological resonance. In the first book of Paradise Lost Satan, upon discovering himself on the floor of hell, discerns next to him Beelzebub, his associate in what he terms the "glorious enterprise" of the revolt against God:
     he whom mutual league,
United thoughts and counsels, equal hope
And hazard in the glorious enterprise
Joined with me once, now misery hath joined
In equal ruin.
-- I.87-91
This is the first of the many such deliberate and, in the aggregate, complexly interwoven echoes of Paradise Lost in Frankenstein.