A holistic understanding of a text can be only be pursued by the audience only when they are able to pinpoint the intended values of the composer and resonate these values with the time and context of the text. It is evident that through a comparative study of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein together with Ridley Scott’s 1992 film Blade Runner, despite the one hundred year gap between the two texts, the values each composer wishes to deliver to the audience echo the concerns of humanity and its susceptibility against themselves. Frankenstein explores how humanity’s obsession with scientific and medical developments in the 19th Century while Blade Runner explores the societal vales of consumerism and capitalism in the 20th Century. Evidently, it is clear through the comparison of the texts as to how the social values of each society bring detrimental outcomes for humanity.
A theme that is seen in Frankenstein is the danger of unrestrained scientific progress and creation, a theme most evident when Frankenstein bestows the “spark of life” upon his creature in his effort to “pour a torrent of light into our dark world”. Here Shelley alludes to the sciences of the period of enlightenment or in particular, Galvanism which held the belief that corpses could be reanimated through an electrical current, or “spark”. The characterization of Frankenstein serves to symbolize the desire of humanity to be able to create and control aspects of life which were limited to god. This becomes clearer as Frankenstein states, “A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me.” Here, Shelley uses a listing of descriptive language which embeds positive connotations in order to depict the naïve hopes of humanity’s desire to create and control life and nature. As the plot unfolds, it becomes evident that this desire only leads to false hopes as Frankenstein’s creation states, “You are my creator, but I am your...
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