Blade Runner and Frankenstein

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Values are a direct result of context, thus a change in context leads to a development and alteration in values. Some values are timeless, however, just as those depicted in Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein and Ridley Scott’s 1982 film Blade Runner (Director’s Cut). These didactic texts are therefore still applicable to today’s society, as the moral lessons may be related to current societal values. Shelley’s Frankenstein and Scott’s Blade Runner present similar values, however they are explored in a different manner due to the contexts of their composers. Mary Shelley was raised at the end of the 18th century in a time before many major scientific advancements had occurred. Galvanism, however, was beginning to emerge while Erasmus Darwin took on evolutionary theories. There was a strong Catholic influence at the time which Shelley composed Frankenstein, thus her novel questioned the beliefs in society that life could be created by another man. Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner was released post WW2, during a period of rapid development in science, communication, technology and commercialism. The use of genetic engineering and artificial insemination which was developing was still questionable amongst the religious society.

Both texts investigate the concept of “man playing God”, that is, the rights and responsibilities an individual has in creating life in an “unnatural” way. Linked with this is also the theme of responsibility, which is evident in Frankenstein and Blade Runner as the role of the creator over his creation. Shelley’s Frankenstein and Scott’s Blade Runner also investigate the question of “what it is to be human”, that is, what qualities must an individual have to be classed as a human. This theme further explores the values of higher emotions such as forgiveness and humanitarianism. Finally, both texts explore the consequences that science can have on nature, and how this reflects the context of the composers. Thus both texts explore similar...
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