In "Frankenstein" Mary Shelley intended for the reader to primarily see the story through the lens of Victor Frankenstein. It is clear throughout Victor's narrative that Shelley commits the story to be seen through the lens of Victor Frankenstein. The novel begins from the perspective of Walton but soon the voice shifts from Walton to Victor. From this new voice the narrative of Frankenstein's monster begins. Quickly the reader is shifted into this lens and remains uninterrupted throughout the remaining narrative. The reader is, from Victor's lens, intended to have a direct understanding of the story by analyzing the relationship of the narrative to his or her experiences and an understanding of the world. This intended lens, however, can be shifted away from Victor and be instead placed on Walton to illicit a different understanding of the novel. When looking at the novel through the lens of Walton, the reader must shift his or her perspective away from a direct understanding of the story and instead the reader will approach the basic events and motives presented by Victor as story-telling devices directed at Walton. From Walton's lens these devices are used not to develop Victor's narrative but instead to persuade Walton. The content of the narrative is then secondary to its effect.
An example of the effect of switching the character lens to Walton in the novel can be clearly seen when examining the role of exaggeration in Victor's narrative. The initial lens of the novel (Victor's) asks the reader to see Victor's exaggerations as a character trait which is bred in his childhood or through his obsessive mind. However when read from Walton's lens these exaggerations shift from a character trait and into a story-telling device. The exaggerations that a reader is led to believe are implicit in Victor's personality suddenly find new catalysts in Victor's motives for telling his story to Walton. Victor is using these exaggerations to dissuade Walton from making his journey through the Arctic. They are conscious desicions made by Victor rather than elements of the narrative. Another example of this can be seen when Victor describes his creation. Victor states that "no mortal could support the horror of that countenance. A mummy again endued with animation could not be so hideous as that wretch...It became a thing such as even Dante could not have conceived" (Shelley 55). Through the lens of Victor we see this quote as a commentary on Victor's regret in creating the monster. The exaggeration of the monster's ugliness allows the reader to get a full grasp of Victor's horror in his own creation. However, when the lens is shifted to that of Walton's point of view the exaggeration is interpreted differently. Instead of explaining his disdain for the monster, Victor is now using the monster's ugliness as a way to warn Walton of the consequences of obsessive creation or adventure.
When shifting the lens to that of Walton's point of view the reader also must see a shift in the way authority is used in the novel. Authority from the initial lens is used to express how Victor sees the world around him. Victor's interactions with his parents, Elizabeth, and his professors all provide strong context on which the reader can build Victor's motivations for creating the monster. However when the lens shifts to Walton's character we see Victor's commentary on authority as a device used to exlpain the role of power to Walton himself. Victor is now consciously choosing to include certain narratives regarding authority figures to illicit a specific interpretation from Walton. An example of this is when Victor recounts Justine's last conversation with Elizabeth. Justine is quoted saying "Dear Lady, I had none to support me; all looked on me as a wretch doomed to ignominy and perdition" (Shelley 90). Through Shelley's initial lens the reader will percieve this recollection as Victor's regretful recollection of a struggle with power. From Walton's lens though the reader sees a different motivation. Instead, Victor is warning Walton of the dangers of power. The power that Walton seeks may cause unintended consequences.
By the shifting the lens to Walton the truths or motivations implied throughout Victor's narrative seem no longer to matter. The main narrative plays a secondary role to the importance of Walton's interpretation of this narrative. Victor Frankenstein's narrative is no longer a story of his struggle with his monster. Instead the reader views the narrative as a necessary mechanism being used to caution Walton of the consequences of his journey. The content of the story no longer seems as important as the feelings that it evokes from Walton.