Curiosity: The Key to Discovering the Unknown
Looking back in time, people have always been galvanized to expand their horizons and explore new things. Such people were often seen as radicals or maniacs, but today we credit them for discovering new places and scientifically proven facts. The question is: Why do they do it? What motivates them to get up and venture into the unknown? One can infer that there are a multitude of reasons, but topping the list would have to be curiosity. The thirst for knowledge is what drives people to try and create something new and unseen. This inquisitiveness is seen in history, but it is also carried into fiction. Examples of this officiousness are demonstrated twice in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, by both Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein. Another real-life example can be seen in the settlers during the colonization of America. The people in each example all have varied reasons for their questioning, but they all share one significant motive – their relentless curiosity.
In the 1818 novel Frankenstein, written by Mary Shelley, the first character the reader encounters is Robert Walton, a young man who left his hometown in search for the North Pole. He is confident in his abilities to succeed on his treacherous expedition, sure that he will be the first to discover a northern route to the Pacific. Walton is motivated by the thought of being remembered as a hero for centuries to come. However, despite his superior confidence, Walton in plagued by his perpetual curiosity. In a letter to his sister, Margaret, he writes, “I shall satiate my ardent curiosity with the sight of a part of the world never before visited, and may tread a land never before imprinted by the foot of man” (Shelley 18). Walton is undoubtedly aroused by the thought of fame and fortune, but he also sets out on his journey to smother his continuous desire to know what he does not.
Continuing with Shelley’s Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein is also...