Mary Shelley’s gothic novel Frankenstein, first published in 1816, and Ridley Scott’s science fiction film, Blade Runner, released in 1992, share common themes and ideas as well as similar warnings based on the time period. Despite being produced nearly 200 years apart, both texts reflect upon the values of their times as well as raising concerns that are timeless. Both Frankenstein and Blade runner explore the implications of Science and technology, the relationships between the creator and creation and they also explore the notions of monstrosity and humanity.
Science and technology is a common concern shared in both Frankenstein and Blade Runner. As Shelly grew up in an intellectual, educated and scientific household, aware of contemporary experiments about the imitation and creation of life i.e. Galvanism and the experiments with the frogs. “He believed in natural philosophy.” She was able to have Victor study the works of Cornelius Agrippa, which is a mixture of the supernatural and science. These are melded with contemporary natural philosophy and a leap of knowledge that brings Victor to the point where he can re-animate ‘dead matter’, showing a mixture of medieval alchemy and modern science. This Novel Questions the scientific processes to uncover mysteries of the time and criticises the uncontrolled scientific experiments and the horrors of Vivisection “ I dabbled among the unhallowed damps of the grave, or tortured the living animal to animate the lifeless clay.” Sexual language is demonstrated, showing how nature is generalised, “They penetrate into the recesses of nature, and show how she works in her hiding places.” Similar to Victor, Walton wants to uncover and discover the unknown and is willing to sacrifice his life and the life of others. Mary Shelly explores how Science and technology influenced people of her time and tries to warn the audience of what could happen if science and technology isn’t morally controlled. By the time Blade Runner was produced, Ridley Scott assumes that the audience will accept that in 2019 technology might have developed to enable the production of replicates that are unrecognisable from humans through genetic manipulation, mapping of human genome and cloning. Although during the mid 20th century ‘optimism’ allowed people to believe that humans could eventually be able to do anything through scientific development, e.g. flying cars. The advances of science and technology are shown in a negative light and Ridley Scott tries to emphasise what will happen if society continues to not consider the long-term impacts of the advances of science and technology. Los Angeles 2019 depicts a world that has destroyed nature and civilisation. This is shown with the opening sequence of the long shot revealing a futuristic and industrialised landscape through the use of special effects including flying cars, electrical lighting and explosions. This post-modern world shows the effects of extremely dangerous advances in science and technology. Mary Shelly and Ridley Scot are both interested in what happening is happening within their time based on the advances in science and technology and both look at the consequences of what can happen if science is taken too far and is uncontrollable. The world that is depicted in Blade Runner has become the sort of world Mary Shelly would have disapproved – A romantic dystopia, where nature has been destroyed. Unlike Tyrell, Victor may not have been motivated by greed and profit but they both share a fear of the potential of what they have created. Similarly both texts continuously have the eye motif, In Frankenstein is the first indicator of life and horror: “I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open.” In the same way Blade Runner has a screen-filling eye in which appears in the opening moments of the film where both of these texts are used as warnings towards their audience of the dangers of seeking knowledge susceptible to corruption by...
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