Frankenstein and Bladerunner

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Both Shelley and Scott challenge the audiences perception of the human condition depict that being human does not necessarily guarantee humanity. Fundamentally, both texts examine the nature of humanity and who retains the right to determine someones nature, deeming them as either human or not. In both texts, the composers express an emotional awareness, which demonstrates that the monsters and replicants are, in fact, more humane, empathetic and just than those who themselves claim to be human. Both in Frankenstein and Blade Runner the creations are presented as blank slates which become corrupted because of the experiences that they are subjected to and their interaction a society who rejects them, as the other. Whilst within Frankensteins is Lockes Tabula Rasa, engraved within Blade runner is Descartes concept ???I think, therefore I am,??? as quoted by Pris. The use of intertextuality of such a well-known reference from Scotts contexts shapes meaning, conveying her pre-existing notion of identity. It also emphasises that as the replicants view themselves as equal if not superior to humans, then they eventually will transcend humans. They view themselves as human, and throughout the film are shown to exhibit humanity and compassion, whilst the humans do not. The use of a long shot in the scene where Zhora dies pans along the walkway, establishing an image in which humans continue to walk past a person who has just been shot without so much as blinking an eye. Murder is viewed as an act of absolute malice within Scotts context, and given that this is ignored depicts the loss of morality and humanity by humans. This further emphasises that being human does not necessarily guarantee humanity, which challenges the established values of Scotts context. Similarly within Frankenstein, it is evident that Shelley supports Lockes theory of the blank slate, and as the monster develops becomes corrupted due to his experiences and observations, which also enables him to develop emotional awareness. The daemon undergoes the stages of life as described by Locke, from infancy, psychologically, to the point of self-realisation where the fact that the creature is indeed a monster, is realised. He also experiences the stage of education through his contact with the De Laceys, which inevitably advances his language skills and the concept of morality. The monster is redeemed through literature, as Shelly employs intertextuality and biblical allusions such as in???God??¦ made man beautiful and alluring… but my form is a filthy types of yours, more horrid even from the very resemblance??? which is done in order to draw parallels between Frankensteins hope of scientific glory compelling him to produce a monster, and Gods creation of the archangel that becomes the rebellious Satan. Shelley alludes to Miltons Paradise lost, through direct reference and the sharing common ideologies, in order to portray to the audience that the creatures loss of innocence is responsible for the acts of pure malevolence that he has committed against his maker. This concept is patent throughout the text, as also portrayed in ???the fallen angel becomes the malignant devil.??? As Shelly parallels Frankenstein to the notorious text Paradise Lost, it becomes clear to the audience that it is not the creatures lack of humanity which has led to his ultimate corruption, but rather Frankensteins and the rest of societys lack of compassion towards the creature. As far as the creature can discern, humans are ambivalent, divided between beauty and deformity, goodness and moral weakness, benevolence and murderous egocentricity. The creature, like humans, is also divided as he starts off with the primordial innocence the Adam had too once possessed as portrayed in Paradise Lost, but metamorphoses into an outcast like Satan. The creatures isolation as a direct result of societys disregard and lack of compassion for the creature is also shown through Shelleys allusion to Paradise Lost, an explicit reference made in ???Satan has companions, fellow-devils, to admire and encourage him; but I am solitary and abhorred.???

Both composers question the inherent humanity of humans themselves, depicting the monster and the replicants as more humane than their creators and society in general. This questioning challenges the established values of their time. Shelley and Scott allude to Hobbes, who claims that man is inherently selfish and cannot live morally if left to his own devices, which is portrayed through both Frankenstein and Tyrell. The employment of the eye motif in both texts, effectively depicts this concept, as it conventionally represents the pathway to the soul. This raises questions about whether the replicants and the monster in both texts are human, in relation to the presence, or absence, of a soul. The eye motif also represents blindness to consequences, which is effectively represented within Blade Runner through the costuming of Tyrell and the consequential irony. Whilst the replicants within the film have perfect vision, Tyrell himself is subjected to he infallibility of human vision and the flaws a part of being human, represented through the uses of his glasses. This is ironic as, whilst Tyrell has the ability to perfect others through playing the role of God, he cannot perfect himself. As the replicants have the ability to clearly

Within Frankenstein, Frankenstein is haunted by the monsters eyes. Through the use of highly modal and descriptive language, the monster is dehumanised as his eyes are represented as inhuman, when in actual fact they are just like human eyes.

Whilst Frankenstein unjustly, and in the absence of compassion, rejects his creation in disgust; Tyrell plays with the lives of the replicants like chess pieces on a board that can easily be manipulated to benefit his own selfish desires, which is shown through symbolism. This use of symbolism demonstrates the worth of human life to the maker, and demonstrates his lack of compassion and empathy through conveying that human life can easily be manipulated and is unworthy of being shown humanity. This is similar to Frankenstein who, through Shelleys use of dehumanising language, evident in ???One mans life or death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of the knowledge??? also replicates a lack of human awareness to the sufferings of others as a consequence of ones actions. The ability of both humans, Tyrell and Frankenstein, to treat others with such a lack of empathy emphasises that being human does not necessarily guarantee humanity. In both contexts, being human had meant a yearning desire for the acquirement of an unlimited source of knowledge obtained through the pursuit of science. This pursuit, however, was not associated with the notion that this would be done at the expense of moral and ethical principles. In this sense, both composers has indeed challenged the views of their respective time periods in order to raise doubts within the minds of their audience of the value of knowledge, and whether it should be pursued at the expense of human compassion and empathy, described by Rousseau as a defining element of being human.

The concept of humanity and the defining elements of humans is embedded throughout the film of Blade Runner. This is demonstrated in terms of Rousseaus concept that man is brought into the world with two instincts: self-preservation and empathy. Scotts use of irony, in the sense that a replicant, Roy, inevitably teaches Deckard compassion and empathy, further emphasises to the audience that being human does not necessarily guarantee humanity. The ultimate transcendence of the replicants is conveyed through the use of symbolism, by Roys release of the dove into the blue sky. This is the first instance in the film that the audience views any blue sky, the mis-en-scene is usually marked by darkness and rain in a hazy atmosphere, which are elements of film noir. When the darkness is juxtaposed to the blue sky, it makes it seem as if, for the most part of the film, it was a continuous night, and that as Roy releases the dove, it signifies redemption and a new beginning, This compels the audience to question whether it is really Roy who does not of humanity or compassion, and whether the defining elements of the human condition as perceived by the audience are correct. When this is juxtaposed to the close-up shot of Roy as he bends over Pris, which allows the audience to see a single tear-drop fall from his eye, it further accentuates Scotts notion that being human doesnt guarantee humanity. This plays upon our emotions as the audience, so that we are compelled to feel compassion and sympathy towards the replicants. This is the first scene within the film, that the audience views some form of genuine human emotion. In Scotts context, for a person to question the morality, whether the current or future, of humanity was challenging the established values of that time. Through the use of elements of film noir, Scott is enabled to capture the poignancy of the future dystopian society which will be the result of a lack of morality. The raising of the doubt of pursuing science unrelentingly, defies the established values of the time, given that the pursuit of science held a lot merit and was highly regarded. Raising such doubts and portraying the consequences to be the loss of the fundamental elements of humanity led to a lot of criticism for the film, as it also had in Frankenstein, especially since a female had written such as gothic and dark novel for that time, challenging gender roles.

Shelley utilises techniques such as triple utterance and asyndeton, such as in ???I would sacrifice more fortune, my existence, my every hope, to the furtherance of my enterprise,??? to emphasise the lack of judgement and rationality in an unrelenting pursuit of science and knowledge, at the expense of morality and rationality. In Shelleys era, the consequences pursuing science largely ignored. The idea of the importance of rationality forms the basis of Shelleys mocking of Romanticism and many of the romantic poets, including her lover Percy Shelley. Whilst the gothic genre stems from the Romantic era, the idea of rationality and individual consciousness surpassing, in importance, the use of imagination is a contradictory view to her time. As Shelley challenges these values, and associates herself with the period of Enlightenment, she raises doubts in her audience intended to awaken them to the consequences of their actions stemming from Romanticism and the resulting moral and ethical ineptitude.

> Note: Can I talk about the idea that a women writing a sci-fi, gothic novel such as Frankenstein, challenged the established gender roles present in Shelleys time, and that she was effectively reprimanded and criticised for writing such as novel.
Chinese box-effect > epistolary (novel written through letters) and that not sure whether they are all worthy and truthful narrators of the novel.

Similarly within Frankenstein, it is evident that Shelley supports Lockes theory of the blank slate, and as the monster develops becomes corrupted due to his experiences and observations, which also enables him to develop emotional awareness. The daemon undergoes the stages of life as described by Locke, from infancy, psychologically, to the point of self-realisation where the fact that the creature is indeed a monster, is realised. He also experiences the stage of education through his contact with the De Laceys, which inevitably advances his language skills and the concept of morality. The monster is redeemed through literature, as Shelly employs intertextuality and biblical allusions such as in???God??¦ made man beautiful and alluring… but my form is a filthy types of yours, more horrid even from the very resemblance??? which is done in order to draw parallels between Frankensteins hope of scientific glory compelling him to produce a monster, and Gods creation of the archangel that becomes the rebellious Satan. Shelley alludes to Miltons Paradise lost, through direct reference and the sharing common ideologies, in order to portray to the audience that the creatures loss of innocence is responsible for the acts of pure malevolence that he has committed against his maker. This concept is patent throughout the text, as also portrayed in ???the fallen angel becomes the malignant devil.??? As Shelly parallels Frankenstein to the notorious text Paradise Lost, it becomes clear to the audience that it is not the creatures lack of humanity which has led to his ultimate corruption, but rather Frankensteins and the rest of societys lack of compassion towards the creature. As far as the creature can discern, humans are ambivalent, divided between beauty and deformity, goodness and moral weakness, benevolence and murderous egocentricity. The creature, like humans, is also divided as he starts off with the primordial innocence the Adam had too once possessed as portrayed in Paradise Lost, but metamorphoses into an outcast like Satan. The creatures isolation as a direct result of societys disregard and lack of compassion for the creature is also shown through Shelleys allusion to Paradise Lost, an explicit reference made in ???Satan has companions, fellow-devils, to admire and encourage him; but I am solitary and abhorred.??? Shelley effectively demonstrates to the audience Lockes theory in practice, and the idea that whilst the creature may appear to be inhuman, it is due to societys lack of humanity that it is so. The people who claim to be human within the text are depicted as inhumane and do not exhibit the depth of understanding and compassion conventionally associated with humans. This once again reinforces the notion that whilst people may appear to be human, this does not necessarily guarantee humanity represented by the humans lack of compassion and empathy towards the creature within Frankenstein.

Both composers do not only mock mankinds lack of humanity, but also their pursuit of science and the unrelenting desire for the acquisition of knowledge at the expense of their humanity and morality. Within both texts, Roy and the daemon are conveyed to both be victims of unrelenting scientific endeavours, which raise, within the audience, the same underlying moral and ethical concerns. Within Frankenstein, Frankenstein himself is portrayed to continuously breach the boundaries and limits of what would be considered appropriate in terms of scientific discovery by Shelley. The use of dehumanising language, evident in ???One mans life or death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of the knowledge,??? also replicates a lack of human awareness to the sufferings of others as a consequence of ones actions. It produces an image of a narcissistic Victor, who values the praise and the stature that will follow scientific discovery over the value of another humans life. It becomes starkly obvious to the audience that Shelley is disgusted by the untamed imagination and desire to pursue science. It becomes translucent that those who yearn to achieve the attainment of unlimited knowledge and endeavour to discover the ultimate secrets of science do so at the expense of their morals, values and ethics. Frankenstein becomes desensitised to the needs of those that surround him in, what is described to be a monster-like thirst for knowledge. Frankensteins monstrous habits such as how he???gnash[es] his teeth and his eyes become inflamed,??? forces that audience to see Frankenstein as an addict through his consistently ardent devotion to acquiring knowledge. Shelleys employment of highly modal and descriptive language expresses the value that science shouldnt be pursued at the expense of human morality. Shelley lived in a time period marked by their desire to play the role of God in creating life. New ideas and discoveries excited raw emotions and sparked fresh interest, reinvigorating those in her time period to continue their pursuit of knowledge at a heightened pace. Shelley was shocked by the inflamed inauguration in the pursuit of science and the untamed imagination of the Romantics. Through the use of imperative language and biblical references, she depicts a hyperbolic representation of scientists of her time. This explicit Promethean reference and the allusion to the egotistical god in Miltons Paradise Lost parallels to Victor who must suffer the consequences of ???collect[ing] bones from the channel-house??? to produce the monster. This squalid imagery challenges the unethical grave-robbing that was occurring within her time, reinforcing Shelleys value of the control of ones ego transcending the need to acquire knowledge.