Frankenstein Bladerunner - Fiction Essay Example

Texts are inclined to represent their historical and social context as differing zeitgeists provide varying understandings of the repercussions of the desire for control - Frankenstein Bladerunner introduction. Frankenstein written by Mary Shelley initially in 1818 and Blade Runner directed by Ridley Scott in 1982 both make complex comments on the consequences of desiring control. Shelley reveals this through her emphasis on what is it to be human whereas Scott focuses largely on the impact of scientific advancements on society. However, the texts parallel in that both societies have become estranged as a result of obsessive knowledge pursuit and constant prejudice. Scott’s film is a contemporary evolution of Shelley’s revolutionary science fiction novel but both ‘Texts in Time’ depict issues of the 19th and 20th centuries which have formed the basis for the texts.

Shelley’s seminal science fiction text Frankenstein published in 1818 and revised in 1831 provides a profound insight into humanity as a result of its context and holds a warning against mankind’s desire for control. Shelley critiques Romanticism in Victor Frankenstein’s destructive dream for knowledge of “the world…a secret which I desired to divine” but reveals the Gothic influence through the monster’s revengeful quest to destroy his creator. The novel focuses on Victor’s Romantic passion and imagination to exceed the boundaries of humanity, veering from the formalities of Neoclassicism. Frankenstein features galvanisation as the vehicle for Victor’s desire to sacrilegiously create “a new species that would bless me as its creator”, initiating his destructive and god-defying role as “the modern Prometheus”, revealing humanity’s yearning for power. Shelley’s representation of context provides a foundation for her critique of humanity whilst depicting the consequences of obsessive knowledge pursuit.

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Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, composed in 1982 had a director’s cut released in 1993. The film draws largely from Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? as Scott’s film noir version involves Deckard battling artificially made replicants in a post-apocalyptic world, critiquing the 1980s’ scientific advancements. The film evolves Shelley’s seminal science fiction novel, creating an anarchic form of science fiction, Cyberpunk, with cybernetic beings and punk hairstyles and clothing. Scott creates a dystopic world of class struggle as ubiquitous “little people” are forgotten in the midst of economic rationalism whilst the 1980s corporate CEO figure Dr. Eldon Tyrell thrives, emphasising the repercussions of the desire for control. The 2019 version of non-homogenous Los Angeles is an Asian and Arabic dominated society as postmodernist influences rejected objective truth, embracing globalisation. Los Angeles now only presents an unnatural society; a product of humanity’s destructive search for control.

Both composers criticise unnatural scientific advancements and the alienating effects of this tampering. Frankenstein becomes alienated in his self-destructive pursuit to exceed human limits, ironically taking on the role of God, desiring to learn “the secrets of heaven and earth”, much like Tyrell in Blade Runner. Frankenstein immerses himself in his galvanistic creation, removing bodies from graves and assembling his monster using body parts from different people. Through this obsessive desire, Victor is portrayed as inhumane, his internal destruction “lost all soul or sensation but for this one pursuit” providing insight into his consequential fragility. Frankenstein’s “depraved wretch” questions Victor’s morality but the creation causes much devastation in his “eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind”. The scientific advancement questions Victor’s principles and his alienation is emphasised to be a result of his Promethean desire to be creator.

Alongside Frankenstein, Blade Runner addresses these issues but with greater emphasis on scientific advancement. Deckard becomes estranged from others in his pursuit to euphemistically “retire” the replicants, his alienation evident in the surrounding concoction of languages. The capitalist Tyrell Corporation tampers with nature by creating artificial replicants, with Tyrell deified as “the god of biomechanics”, being alienated from reality in his enormous Mayan-style building representing 1980s corporate greed. The motif of eyes symbolise humanity’s egotistical and self-glorifying nature, as do the eyes in Frankenstein, highlighting Tyrell’s moral blindness as well as Roy’s surpassing power “If only you could see what I’ve seen with your eyes”. Scott critiques the role of science’s tampering through the creation of the replicants through genetic modification. They are a product of Tyrell’s scientific desire for control but inequitably suffer the consequences of alienation.

The texts, through their dealings with society’s prejudice and the characteristics of humanity, portray the consequences of the desire for control. Both reveal that artificial creation is more human than the “unfeeling, heartless creator”, particularly Blade Runner’s replicants. Shelley presents the monster, in the allusion to Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’, as analogous to the benevolent Adam but as society’s prejudice is blinding, we see the monster’s Satanic nature “I ought to be thy Adam but I am rather the fallen angel”. Despite this, Shelley presents the creation as more human than Victor in his self-sacrifice “I shall…consume to ashes this miserable frame”. The monster shows genuine remorse for his actions “polluted by crimes” in his final speech, contrasting to Victor who created anarchy in his failed Romantic desire for “the elixir of life”. Shelley illustrates the contribution of society’s prejudice to the favourable depiction of the monster and questions human nature as she addresses the consequences of Victor’s desire for control.

Similarly, Blade Runner maintains its scientific undertone whilst addressing the desire for control through the premises of prejudice and what it is to be human in a capitalist world. Replicants are treated as inferior “skin-jobs” as the killing “was called retirement”, much like Frankenstein’s monster, accentuating the dystopia’s prejudice. Postmodernism is reflected in Scott’s moral reversal structure, presenting the replicants as superior beings through Christ-like imagery of the cross on the “prodigal son” Roy’s lips and the close-up of the nail in his hand whilst biblically alluding to Jesus. As the camera pans to Roy releasing the symbolically peaceful dove, a ‘TDK – so real’ advertisement is illuminated, ironically highlighting the replicants’ realism and contrasting to the 1980s’ consumerism. Scott emphasises the scientifically made replicants may be more human due to their emotional stance however, Tyrell’s inhumane desire for control is illustrated as they are subjected to society’s prejudice.

The ‘Texts in Time’ Frankenstein and Blade Runner each depict the consequences of an obsessive desire for control whilst providing insight into the human experience. The dominant Romantic and Gothic influences of Shelley’s era and the forces of globalisation and consumerism in Scott’s era allow the composers to present similar issues in different zeitgeists. Shelley focuses largely on the questioning of Victor’s humanity whereas Scott emphasises the destructive role of science and its repercussions. This illustrates that the texts are a product of their time; they illustrate moral values but have varying primary concerns which reflect their time period.

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