“Gothic and Romanticism” – David Punter Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus and a Monster’s inevitable doom In Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, it appears that Shelley attempts to draw an important analogy between the lone genius Prometheus, the archetypal seeker after forbidden wisdom, and her own protagonist Victor Frankenstein, who also dares to transgress boundaries in order to create life. Thus the subtitle The Modern Prometheus. However, it is crucial to note the invariable difference between both old and modern Prometheus. Whereas old Prometheus suffers alone for his sin, in the case of Shelley’s Prometheus, Frankenstein, the monster involuntarily partakes in the sin, by being its final product, and therefore has to suffer too. To the reader, it seems that Shelly consistently reminds us of the lack of responsibility on the part of Frankenstein, and the monster’s inherent innocence, who is only made evil by his circumstances.
However, the values remain consistent and thus via the respective forms of the text, composers explore issues relating to humanity and unchecked science. Within each text, the composers similarly explore how when scientific endeavour is pursued without a moral frame, the consequences for creator and created, and furthermore humanity, are devastating. The impact on mankind is reflected as Victor Frankenstein brings his monster into existence. This is evident through the use of high modality as he says ‘a new species would bless me as its creator’ and ‘natures would owe their being to me’. Victor’s distant and cold language reveals his overwhelming hubris and reflects the conflation of scientific and Romantic paradigms.
By expressing a sense of rebellion against norms in society. Each character in there own way attempting to start a revolution. The ideologies of both the authors and characters portray romanticism almost to its exact definition. In an interview Chuck Palahniuk even said, “I’m a romantic. All of my books are basically romances; they’re stories about reconnecting with community”(Williams).
To what extent does the time in which the composers live influence their response to enduring human emotion? Our morality shapes us and forces us to explore new avenues, but our crude desire to unravel and expose the mysteries of life will drive and reveal a future void of moral and ethical compassion. It is this fatal warning which Mary Shelley and Ridley Scott seek to convey in their retrospective texts, Frankenstein and Blade Runner. Drawing upon their personal contextual concerns, both composers uniquely inform an ambitious humanity of that the implications of the ruthless pursuit of knowledge and our innate craving to penetrate the secrets of nature will inevitably drive humanity towards a dystopian future. 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.
The transient nature of humanity continually questions the ever-changing values and ethics in society. Although a contextual difference of 150 years, Mary Shelley’s gothic novel, Frankenstein and Ridley Scott’s science fiction film, Blade Runner focus on similar concerns and issues reflected by the zeitgeists of the people of their time. Blade Runner and Frankenstein illustrate the evolution of the role of women, the necessity of nature and parental responsibility through the manipulation of selective and skilful techniques. The women in Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein are conveyed as weak and helpless characters, a rigid dichotomy compared her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women that fight for gender equality and criticized the "false system of education" provided for women. The debilitated women in Frankenstein imitate what was socially expected of women in her time, while the monster demonstrates the only alternative available that is self-education.
“Powerful ideas never lose their relevance with time, even though the way composers communicate those ideas can change.” Discuss common ideas in Frankenstein and Blade Runner – Director’s Cut/Final Cut paying particular attention to the context of these two texts. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner Director’s cut (1982) are both cautionary tales that explore the concept of scientific and technological advancements and the dangers of excessive knowledge. In both texts, knowledge is misused for self aggrandisement and economic prosperity; as a result, the scientists must live with the consequences of their actions as they attempt to defy the limits of the natural world. Frankenstein’s literary context is based on Romanticism in the 19th century, with other elements such as Gothicism, which was also popular at that time. Blade Runner was released in 1982, in a period of rapid development in science, technology and commercialism.
Ray’s emotions and ‘human’ concern are voiced by his request “I want more life, fucker”, reminiscent of the Monster’s request on Mount Blanc. Tyrell states that Batty is the prodigal son, giving him a direct link to humanity as he Tyrell’s offspring. This allusion also strengthens the emotional power of Batty’s plight as he has suffered greatly in his quest for further longevity. Pris states, “I think therefore I am”, mirroring Descartes’ postulation of “cogito erg sum”. Descartes is also the appellation of Deckard, creating further depth to his ambiguous status of ‘humanity’ as the established definition of this is being able to think being deemed an exclusively human quality is subverted through replicants also possessing this
Although, highly engrossed in medieval concepts of patriarchy, Romantic poets like S.T Coleridge, John Keats’ fraction of work silhouettes range in the attributes of Feminism. They are; liberty of thought, freedom of expression and equality in social hierarchy with men. The role of women in society, in early 18th century and before, portrays a dismal picture as far as their liberty, social status and gender equality is concerned. Medieval culture, deep rooted in religion, had kept woman at bay from the mainstream economic, political and societal activities. She was a threat to the male chauvinism and was condemned as a weaker, inferior sort of being.
In early childhood, we learn that boys are different from girls. As young children, we conform to our own category of genders, male, female, or other. Generally, boys are interested in rough play and toys that are ideal for boys, while girls play dress up and play with toys that are ideal for girls. (Wade, and Tavris 91-3) However, not all children follow this pattern. Some girls may enjoy playing with boys’ toys and some boys might engage in playing house or playing dress up; at the same time both enjoy playing with their gender appropriate toys.
Robert Browning was born into this conservative time period, but was able to employ expressive freedom through literature. His dramatic monologue, “Porphyria’s Lover,” delves into the psychology of a patriarchal mind, illustrating the power struggle of a woman and her lover. Through the manifestation of the speaker’s mentality and motivation, Browning reveals the gross injustice of patriarchal society and male supremacy. In the latter half of the 19th century, Victorian ideals dominated the domestic sphere. To the Victorian, the home and family were sanctuaries where the impurity and vice of the outer world could not invade.