Shaped by their distinctly different contexts, Shelley and Scott strive to convey this notion, through bold cinematic and literary techniques, characterisation and themes, of the fatal path humanity has placed itself on. Mary Shelley’s seminal novel, Frankenstein 1818, is a moral fable combining conflicting paradigms of Romantic idealism and Enlightenment rationalism. Shelley delves into these ideologies in a classic gothic horror story that presents the unequivocal issues concerning the ethics and consequences of the pursuit of knowledge and scientific experimentation. Influenced by the increasing popularity of galvanism, Shelley effectively illustrates her apprehensions through the character development of Victor Frankenstein and his juxtaposition against nature. Victor admits his deep desire for ‘immortally and power’ through ‘penetrating the secrets of nature’, which is manifested in his technological innovation of the creature, highlighting the extreme yet realistic potential for technology to create human life.
Frankenstein driven by romantic imagery and set in historic context, that analysis the European divide in society perpetuated by superficiality. Contrastingly Blade Runner is consumed by commercialism that reflects the dystopian globalised world that omits normal societal values and morals. Both texts challenge the morality of artificial creation that is motivated by the characters' relentless ambition. The texts employ techniques such as allusions and tactical characterisation to depict the disconnection to nature and the manipulated visions of the characters as well as introducing the question of 'what it means to be human?' Character is emblematic of the ideas within the both texts.
The theme of disruption refers to the unbalancing of what is natural, a theme which is explored and opinionated in Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein (1817) and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (Director’s cut), where ‘disruptive’ actions of individuals, involving the exploitation of nature, bring about [ironically] the character’s own downfall, and more importantly, an undesired outcome whilst playing god. The critical theme outlined in both texts is humanity’s desire for power which leads to the rejection of our natural world, and this, by extension, means turning to technology and other unconventional methods in order to gain knowledge and distinction. Shelley specifically cautions against scientific advancement and the obsession which follows
The desire for social progression has always shrouded society. Both Mary Shelley’sFrankenstein (1818) and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) were produced duringeras of technological exploration. Through depicting technology breeching moral boundaries through context, characterisation and intertextuality, both Scott andShelley highlight the dangers of progression with the absence of ethical emotion – atimeless social issues which binds these two texts.Written during the industrial revolution and the emerging era of existentialism andexploration – Shelley’s Frankenstein can be interpreted as a warning to thetechnologically curious. This curious nature is personified throughout the protagonistVictor Frankenstein, who tragically falls victim to
In Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Dr. Frankenstein reveals to the world a new threat. His man-like creation is seen as hideously grotesque, and he grows to despise everything about its natural form. In my research, though, I have come to see a different side of the story. The theory I chose to expound upon is that Dr. Frankenstein's creation is not born a monster, but rather a form of life with a mindset and consciousness no different than our own, shunned by a society of labels and judgment. I became interested in this subject after seeing many cases of bias and ignorance of certain cultures of our own society.
The texts use a variety of literary and cinematic techniques to offer a fresh perspective on the implications of scientific disregard. The dangerous connection science has , and how we can affect that fragile link, shapes who we are, since nature is a core part of a human’s identity. There must be symmetry between science and nature and when nature is thrown out of balance, destruction follows until brought back into line. Shelley uses her text to influence her society, bringing to light that they must not take their environment for granted, due to the advances in polluting industries at the time . We see this emphasis on nature when Victor ascends the mountain ‘and the solemn silence of this glorious presence-chamber of imperial Nature was broken only by the brawling waves’ the use of descriptive imagery and alliteration shows how nature is sublime to humans, which ties in with the romanticism of the text.
Although contextual principles and ideologies evolve consistently alongside society, perpetual values regarding humanity and its profound interest in scientific progress continue to resonate over time. The didactical texts, Mary Shelley’s, ‘Frankenstein’, and Ridley Scott’s 1991 film, ‘Blade Runner-Director’s Cut,’ critique society’ definition of humanity and its values. When analysed in cohesion, the influences pertaining to the Romantic and Post-modernist contexts challenge the responder to question the ethical and moral concerns of its era. These include the violent, implacable and hubristic behaviour engrained within human beings, thus demonstrating the similarity between their respective contexts and textual mediums. Consequently, the nature of humanity and scientific progress are reflected through literary and filmic techniques, addressing the exploitation of mankind’s progress and ultimately questioning what it means to be human.
Her warning of the dangers of such actions is encapsulated within Victor’s concerning words of “how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge”, whilst Shelley’s use of a fragmented epistolatory narrative adds a disturbing sense of truth and realism, foreshadowing the dark consequences of Frankenstein’s actions. Shelley’s warning is evident throughout the novel which ultimately reflects her context through the concern of scientists within her era exploiting the advancements in science. It also reinforces the dangers of our humanity’s inherent yearning to play the role of the Creator. Such a warning also exists within Scott’s “Blade Runner” where the director echoes the rise of capitalist principles through the symbolic dominance of Tyrell’s towering dwelling, a reflection of both his desire for omnipotence and commercial power. Scott’s warning of the dangers of
yThroughout the exploration of the module “Texts in Time”, we observe the connections between texts and their reflections of the constancy in human nature, whilst shifting contextual perspectives are maintained. Such a connection is demonstrated in Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel “Frankenstein” (F/stein) and Scott Ridley’s 1991 film “Bladerunner”, where both composers present a cautionary tale, warning us of the implications of science and technological advances on humanity and thus reflecting their own fears in their respective contextual eras. It is through the analysis of such values and implications that we can see the constancy of human nature throughout time. Frankenstein is a gothic inspired, fragmented epistolary, reflecting the rebellion of the Romantic Movement, which advocated the power of imagination, and ones relationship to nature. The gothic convention of sublime nature is represented thematically, through forces of good and evil leading to vengeance and murder, as well as macabre settings of graveyards and charnel houses.
Identity is based on the individual characteristics by which a thing or person is recognised or known, and is impacted by various factors including human connections and the environment. A disruption of these stable elements ultimately fuels the loss of identity. Mary Shelly’s Romantic novel Frankenstein (1818) and Ridley Scott’s science fiction film Blade Runner (1992) demonstrate how a more profound and sophisticated understanding of disruption and identity arises from the consideration of the parallels between the two texts. Though Frankenstein and Blade Runner differ in context, they draw on similar philosophical and societal values of their time to simultaneously extrapolate the twofold themes of The Human Experience; what it means to be human, and the dangers of disrupting the natural order through technological advancements. Thus the linking premise is that dehumanisation or a loss of identity results once nature has been disrupted, and humanity becomes subservient to technology and scientific advancement.