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Frankenstein Compared to Blade Runner Essay


Mary Shelleys Frankenstein and Scott Ridleys Blade Runner, although constructed in different contexts, are both instrumental in demonstrating the universal notion of the nature of humanity. Through the literary discourse of Frankenstein, Shelley is able to draw from the contextual influences of the Romantic Movement and Enlightenment, therefore exploring the valued notions of excessive knowledge and the role of creator in establishing glory. These universal notions have been appropriated and shaped in Blade Runner, to therefore present the way in which the contemporary capitalised society of America has led to a futuristic world characterised by the consequences of excessive knowledge and usurping the role of creator.

Both Frankenstein and Blade Runner, although established within different contexts, communicate the universal notion that knowledge, beyond the morally conventional limits of society, initiates the human desire to understand and manipulate the natural world. In Frankenstein, Shelley draws from the philosophical, political and aesthetic values of the 18th century Enlightenment, to caution her audience that the desire for knowledge leads to destruction, which is apparent in the manic obsession that Victor possesses in creating life. Shelley draws from the characteristics of gothic fiction influenced by The Romantic Movement, through employing sinister connotations that forebode Victors downfall, the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out This portrays the reality that the value of creating life is unattainable, which is furthermore explored in Blade Runner, as Scott presents a world in which technology has eliminated the defining features of humanity. Shelley also alludes to The Promethean Myth and the symbolism of oppressing fire, the glimmer of the half-extinguished light to emphasise the danger of attaining knowledge beyond accepted boundaries. Shelleys admonition of excessive knowledge is explored additionally within Blade Runner. Blade Runner is dominated by capitalism and social hierarchy, therefore mirroring the values of the 18th century context of Frankenstein. Scott, influenced by the gothic-novel features in Frankenstein, has employed the style of film noir, by using a montage of sinister music, futuristic structures and melancholy colours. These filmic techniques present a society dominated by the consequences of the access to knowledge beyond boundaries. The notion of excessive knowledge is emphasised through the parallel between the fugitive replicant Roy Batty and the creature in Frankenstein, as both the creations are displayed as the living results of irrational scientific endeavours, incapable of identifying with the classification of humanity. This correspondence between the two texts is an integral aspect in considering the notion of knowledge within society, and how the value and obsession to be an over-reacher leads to the demise of the ostensible creator.

Both texts, influenced by the contextual period in which they were formed, present the value placed on the role of creator in establishing glory. Shelley, influenced by the philosophical enquiry into human creation evident within the Romantic Movement, has shaped Frankenstein to directly explore the notion of human beings usurping the role of creator, to therefore acquire glory. Similarly, Scott draws from the role of the creator, to depict a world existing with the consequences of human beings assuming the role of creator. Shelley alludes to the biblical creation story, I began the creation of a human being, to demonstrate how Victor has attempted to appropriate Gods legitimate role as creator, in order to receive glory; a new species would bless me as its creator.... Shelley, with the gothic elements of an irrepressible creation, biblically alludes to Adam in the creation story, I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel to present the notion that the creator has the responsibility of their creation, yet become ignorant to this because of the value placed on glory. Similarly, Blade Runner explores the notion of the creator to acquire glory, through presenting the audience with a catastrophic environment; the result of neglected responsibilities for the creation of relpicants. Similar to contemporary society in valuing capitalism and consumerism, Scott positions Tyrell symbolically above the congested little people, placing him on the equal level as the sun. This signifies a divine power, as Tyrell is the only being to have access to the only form of nature, which he has achieved through the manipulation of the creation process. Scott establishes a long viewed shot of Tyrell dressed in white, surrounded by long, cathedral-styled candles and pious music playing in the background, to illustrate that the capitalised creator has surpassed the traditional, religious role of God. Scott uses biblical connotations to depict Roy in black clothing, to symbolise the notion of Roy as the devil, with a parallel being formed through depicting Tyrell in white, thus signifying his role as God, the creator. This questions both the role of Roy and Tyrell, as it causes the audience to judge whether this depiction truly mirrors who the characters are, or if it is merely an instrument in denoting the corruption of Tyrell as God. The desire for revenge exists within both Roy Batty and the creature in Frankenstein, as both creations were abandoned by their creator. This highlights the notion that the creators within both texts valued glory, yet failed to accept the corresponding responsibilities of the role of creator.

Therefore, it is evident that both Frankenstein and Blade Runner, although composed in different contexts, explore the nature of humanity, in relation to the varying morals and views reflected through time. Both texts illustrate the value placed on excessive knowledge and the role of creator, to therefore establish an understanding of how context determines significance.

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