Exploration of the physical world serves as a metaphor for intellectual inquiry and discovery. Exploration is portrayed as dangerous and threatening to life, rather than as something simply good and uplifting for humanity. There is a general fear that certain knowledge may be too extensive or dangerous; it may, Frankenstein seems to say, bring about the destruction of humanity.
Walton’s desire for geographic exploration has the same potential for catastrophic results as Victor’s studies in alchemy and science. Shelley’s warning, therefore, extends far further than to purely scientific fields.