Frankenstein and Blade Runner Essay

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An author??™s contextual ideas and values may, to a certain extent, be shaped in a text to convey a representation of how future events may evolve in relation to society??™s current conventions. Through the changing contexts and values of the core texts, one may communicate the dangers associated with humankind obtaining and valuing an excessive acquisition of power and knowledge through science and technology which consequently result in a distorted view of humanity and a damaged natural environment. Similarly, the religious allusions and assumptions used in the texts can convey the potential misuse of science and knowledge and desire to create or usurp the role of god. Through a comparison of Mary Shelley??™s novel, Frankenstein and the film Blade Runner: The Director??™s Cut, directed by Ridley Scott, it is evident that the values and ideas of an author??™s context can be mirrored in their texts to depict the evolution of society and to challenge social conservatism.

Through the changing contexts and values of a text, one may communicate the dangers associated with humankind obtaining excessive power and knowledge through science which consequently result in destructive effects on humanity and the environment. In Mary Shelley??™s novel, Frankenstein, her personal values and the context of society are communicated through the interpretation of characters, themes and use of language. Shelley lived in the early 1800??™s where Romanticism arose as a reaction to the Enlightenment Era together with the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Romantics, such as William Wordsworth, went beyond the rationality of the Enlightenment and regarded humans as unique individuals. They associated science based knowledge as a way of enhancing one??™s powers of imagination and connection to nature. Shelley??™s Romantic ideals are represented through Victor Frankenstein??™s character as a Romantic protagonist. Frankenstein is a scientist preoccupied with obtaining a metaphysical ambition and was not satisfied with simply studying philosophy. This is supported as he states, ???It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn; ??¦ my enquiries were directed to the metaphysical.??? Victor becomes infatuated with the idea that he could obtain knowledge about concepts that would enable him to surpass human boundaries and the limits instilled by his society. By dedicated two years to him obsession, he lost him humanity as he neglected himself from love, his relationships with others and ???deprived himself of rest and health??™. As Victor states that he would ???gladly sacrifice (his) fortune, (his) existence, and (his) every hope to the furtherance of (his) enterprise??? it shows that he was fixed on his ???enterprise??™ and would not stop until he constructed a living being. This idea of excessive knowledge can be depicted in Shelley??™s own society as an interpretation of her age??™s scientific ideologies and her ???warning??™ to humanity and the reader to not abuse the power and knowledge they obtain.
Similarly, in Ridley Scott??™s film, Blade Runner: The Director??™s Cut, it represents a futuristic world constructed as a result on humankind??™s abuse of power, science and technology. Due to humankind??™s excessive exploitation of technology when creating ???replicants??™ that are ???more human than human??™, the value of humanity and the ???natural order??™ of the world has diminished Scott addresses the concept of a double irony because as humans become more technologically advanced, the less human we become. This is represented in the people of ultramodern Los Angeles as they are deformed and disfigured with limited emotions and relationships with each other.
An altered view of the ???natural world??™ is conveyed through Blade Runner??™s context, as the metaphysical and Romantic urge has been lost and replaced with an ???artificial world??™. This can be seen through the parallel of Frankenstein??™s monster and Roy, both whom are not naturally, by their contextual societies, considered to be human. The monster, even when constructed by Frankenstein with all ???features (chosen) as beautiful??™; when ???the dull yellow eye of the creature opened??™, he was seen as an ugly, ???demoniacal corpse??™. The monster was constructed using human pieces but is still considered to be imperfect due to his outside appearance. This opens us, as responders, to question what is it to be human because in contrast, Roy was created as a perfect being and perceived to be human because of his outside appearance. On the other hand, Deckard considers replicants to be inhuman as ???replicants are like any other machine ??“ they??™re either a benefit or a hazard. If they??™re a benefit it??™s not my problem.??™ Roy has limited lifespan making him less human and created through a flawed perception of perfection similar to Frankenstein??™s monster. This is ironic because Roy and the other replicants are portrayed as ???more human??™ and humane than humans in the film. This communicates that when humankind achieve a complex knowledge of science and technology and abuse their sense of power, they construct destructive, imperfect creations.
Scott uses the concept of a megalopolis to convey a sinister, depressing atmosphere and a dissolution of the natural world communicated through the ???mise-en-scene??™ of the opening credits where an extreme long shot of a dark and ominous city with explosions fire and musically when the rhythm is broken by an isolated fall, echoing effect. Ridley Scott released the Director??™s Cut in 1991 around the post-modernistic era which can easily be observed as a metaphor in the film. Scott also identifies the corrosive effects of capitalism and consumerism as key postmodern motifs. The world has now become degraded, debased and diminished communicating a warning to societies of the 21st century that if humankind continually abuses their power, their world will result similarly to Scott??™s replicant world. By exploring the idea of humankind obtaining an excessive power and knowledge of science and technology, one can convey a warning of its destructive effects on humanity and the environment. Through the changing contexts and values of a text, one may communicate the dangers associated with humankind obtaining excessive power and knowledge consequently resulting in irreversible, destructive effects on humanity and the environment.
Humanity??™s search for knowledge can be perceived through the religious ideals of a text and humankind??™s desire to create or become godly. Shelley??™s novel, Frankenstein was written with aspects of a gothic novel through its ???nest of stories??™ structure and gothic tone as well as portraying the neoclassicism movement and the ideas about culture and civilization??™s directions in the 18th century. Shelley grew up in an agnostic environment as her parents were not religious even though Christian ideals were prominent in her time and obviously she would have be imbued with, at least, the values or knowledges of her culture??™s underpinning. There was tension between the traditional belief of creation through Christ and the accelerating change into revolutionary views of humanity, society and politics. This idea of accelerating change is paralleled with Blade Runner as the urbanised world have lost a unified religious view as humanity has ???killed god??™ and has become fragmented whereas Frankenstein??™s context is united with a strong ideology.
Shelley represents her society??™s religious views through Biblical reference such as when the monster reads Paradise Lost, which in itself is, of course, biblically based, and speaks, ???Like Adam I was apparently united by no link to any other being in existence??? and ???many times I considered Satan as the fitter emblem of my condition.??? With the references to Satan and Adam, it depicts not only Shelley??™s religious society but also the godly belief that everyone was made ???perfect??™ in ???gods eyes??™. These references to the bible and Christ are also seen in Blade Runner with connection to Roy as he is represented as ???the prodigal son??™ by Tyrell, his creator. This parallel between Roy and the Monster is continuous throughout both texts representing the link they share being creations of their creator. This also mirrors the connection between creators in both texts through Tyrrell and Frankenstein.
In Frankenstein, the Promethean ideal reflects the Promethean myth that man has the power to create of become godly although the consequences may be destructive. This is reflected in ???When you try to play the role of god, you produce a monstrosity,??? because as Frankenstein creates this being, it results in destructive consequences as stated previously. The subtitle of Frankenstein is ???The Modern Prometheus???, which is a clear portrayal that the novel identifies human??™s ability to be above god and religion and act as the role of god. Frankenstein??™s obsessive search for knowledge reflects an aspect of the promethean belief and as he creates another life and takes the role of god. This can be seen in Tyrrell??™s character in Blade Runner as there is some god-like symbolism as shown in the Tyrrell Corp building as it is structured in a distinct pyramid, utopian shape portraying a Mount Olympus, god-like position that Tyrrell obtains. There are also many connotations Tyrrell as ???maker??™ and a ???God??™ when Roy states, ???Nothing the god of biomechanics wouldn??™t let you into heaven for.??? The used of the word, ???biomechanics??™ implies that Tyrrell is an amoral god that allows ???questionable things??™ which creates a parallel with the 20th Century??™s loss of values.
Tyrrell is the creator of ???human beings??™ in the form of replicants as ???a godlike science??? but his creations are imperfect, similar to Frankenstein??™s monster. These religious connotations expressed through Tyrrell and Frankenstein??™s godly power and knowledge can be representations of the author??™s social context. Frankenstein also displays an arrogance and selfishness in his work as he wishes to have control over others through his ability to create ???a new species (which) would bless (him) as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me???. Likewise, Ridley Scott has used the replicants and Tyrrell as a portrayal of the industrialisation of his society and how technology has challenged the power of god and man??™s overwhelming and arrogant dominance of his world.
When comparing Ridley Scott??™s film, Blade Runner ??“ Directors Cut and Mary Shelley??™s novel, Frankenstein, it is evident to state that the author??™s contextual ideas and values are portrayed to a certain extent and shape a text to convey a representation of society??™s current conventions and how they will affect future events. The depicted different changing contexts and values of each text communicate how humankind has obtained and valued excessive power and knowledge of science and technology. This knowledge and power consequently result in a distorted view of humanity and a damaged environment. Similarly, the religious ideals of a text can convey humanity??™s use of science and knowledge in their desire to create or become godly. The author??™s context has been mirrored through the evolution of their text and shapes the ideas and values conveyed.