the tenderest compassion
In the see-saw effect of her characterization of Victor, Mary Shelley
returns to the side of his character that Walton finds most attractive.
In an existential void himself, one created as much by his own chosen
withdrawal from social obligations as by the pressure of catastrophic
events, Victor is still able to sympathize with the plight of Walton and his
crew and to offer encouragement to their hopes. Perhaps what would most
easily explain this sympathetic posture, though it would not justify the
optimism he expresses to them, is Victor's own deep sense of helplessness
before an implacable force.