After I finished reading Frankenstein I couldn’t get over how important Walton was to the story. In fact, after the novel concluded I reasoned that he is the most important character in the novel; completely indispensable and actually in charge (so to speak) of the memory of the story as well as the story itself (i.e. the plot, progression, etc.).
To begin with, Walton is the only means by which we may familiarize ourselves with the story of Frankenstein, and the characters, places, and events surrounding it. We know of Victor and the monster because Walton decides to document the alleged story related to him by Victor. Walton’s character affords Victor’s story a very necessary degree of truth (if we are to take Walton as a reliable narrator to begin with) in that we assume Walton to be honest and, equally important, sane. Unlike the fatigued and downtrodden Victor, whom we know to be susceptible to fits and trance-like dreams where the boundary between reality and fancy is anything but clear-cut, Walton is the gallant and seemingly-auspicious explorer who, by way of his initial letters to his sister, gains our trust. Moreover, with regard to the story, and more specifically the monster in it, Walton serves as the only living person who can attest to the existence of the monster. This is crucial.
Consider the reliability of the story minus Walton. If it were up to me, I would much sooner deem Victor a rambling schizophrenic than take his word that the events he describes are completely true. If Walton were out of the picture I think the monster and Victor could be two separate persons (or personas) in the same body. There are numerous instances where Victor succumbs to fits or “[wild] dreams” while around that same time the monster is fulfilling his fiendish revenge. I know the times don’t necessarily match up perfectly, but it is worth considering. The very least we could draw from such an odd conclusion would be the degree to which the monster and Victor mirror each other, especially in their selfish demeanors and unrelenting ambition to achieve their goals; and physically they are perfect character foils, so perhaps the bestial monster is Victor’s alter-ego busting to break lose from the monotonous life Victor lives in the Swiss countryside.