I try in vain to be persuaded that the pole is the seat of frost and desolation; it ever presents itself to my imagination as the region of beauty and delight.

Walton is introduced as someone so ambitious to make a great discovery that he won’t pay attention to the dangers of exploration, even though he knows they’re there. This shows that he is like Frankenstein, who also does not see the danger of investigating the far reaches of the natural world.

I bitterly feel the want of a friend.

Walton longs for companionship. This line introduces an important theme of the novel: both Frankenstein and the Monster will be desperate for companions later on. Because he wants a friend, Walton is ready to like and sympathize with Frankenstein when he comes aboard. For that reason, we can’t place too much faith in Walton’s positive report on Frankenstein’s character.

I cannot lead them unwillingly to danger, and I must return.

Walton decides to abandon his voyage because he feels responsible for the safety of his crew. This decision points to the most important difference between him and Frankenstein. Both men are ambitious, but Frankenstein’s ambition matters more to him than his responsibilities, even his responsibilities to his friends and family.