Frankenstein and Blade Runner Essay

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“Although times change, human concerns about aspects of the world remain the same.” How do your prescribed texts considered together support or challenge this idea? Through the use of numerous techniques, the prescribed texts demonstrate that although times change, human concerns about aspects of the world remain the same, or very similar. This is apparent in a comparison of Mary Shelly’s novel, Frankenstein, and Ridley Scott’s film, Blade Runner. Techniques like imagery, atmosphere, camera angles and contrast, portray contextual concerns so that despite the texts being composed 164 years apart, we note parallels demonstrating that aspects of the world can remain very similar over time. In particular, the attitudes concerning the need for scientific responsibility, artificial procreation of humans and the human desire for status and wealth are trans-contextual concerns. Through the characterization of Walton, the narrator, and Victor, Shelley’s Frankenstein depicts the passions fuelled by desire for renown, that drive people to discover, reflecting contextual concerns over scientific irresponsibility. In 1818, there was excitement about both geographical and scientific discovery, with Walton symbolising the former and Frankenstein the latter. Walton’s “great purpose” of discovering a northern passage to facilitate trade parallels Victor’s desire to, “banish disease…and render man invulnerable”. Ironically, despite their voiced altruism, neither are responsible. Imagery depicts Walton endangering his entire crew with his ship trapped in, “irregular plains of ice…no end”. Fortunately, Frankenstein’s story alerts Walton to his irresponsibility and he returns his men to safety. A Revenge Tragedy convention, the deaths of innocents, highlights the destructive capacity of scientific irresponsibility. Frankenstein’s failure to uphold his patriarchal responsibilities expected of a man of his era causes irreparable mistakes bringing William, Elizabeth, Justine and Clevall’s death. Driven to, “unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation,” Victor seeks renown, evident in the high modality of his yearning for the, “glory” attending such, “discovery.” Ironically, “Unable to endure the aspect of the” Creature, he deserts it, failing in his patriarchal duty. Seeking vengeance for this neglect, the Creature’s innocence and initial goodness are warped. He becomes, “a monster” a metaphorical, “blot upon the earth” who is disowned by all, illustrating the dreadful consequences of scientific and social irresponsibility. Similarly, Scott’s Blade Runner illustrates how ongoing scientific progress facilitates consumerism without thought to responsibility. The early 80s saw people driven by image, and materialism facilitated this, fostering greed and the exploitation of the environment. Four replicants, considered mere products, are sentenced to die after only four years of life. They seek an extension of their life spans from their creator, Tyrell, a corporate feudalist without compassion. Ironically, his use of biblical allusion denotes his heartlessness, when he tells Roy, “You’re the prodigal son”, who must, “Revel in your time!” Tyrell’s image of fatherhood is a facade, rendering Roy's hopes an unobtainable abstract, just as the Creature’s desire for a companion and acceptance are unobtainable abstracts due to Frankenstein’s irresponsibility. Roy’s violent murder of Tyrell is foreshadowed by Rachel’s memory of the baby spiders killing their mother. Unlike the Creature, he kills his “father”, and his sarcastic tone to Tyrell, "Nothing the god of bio-mechanics wouldn't let you into heaven for?" simultaneously bites into Tyrell's beatific self-image and loose morality. Like Shelley, Scott uses Revenge Tragedy motifs to highlight the destructive nature of irresponsibility, evident in Roy’s murder of the innocent Sebastian. Just as the Creature’s vengeance dehumanizes him, Roy’s dehumanizes him despite...
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