Texts are inclined to represent their historical and social context as differing zeitgeists provide varying understandings of the repercussions of the desire for control. Frankenstein written by Mary Shelley initially in 1818 and Blade Runner directed by Ridley Scott in 1982 both make complex comments on the consequences of desiring control. Shelley reveals this through her emphasis on what is it to be human whereas Scott focuses largely on the impact of scientific advancements on society. However, the texts parallel in that both societies have become estranged as a result of obsessive knowledge pursuit and constant prejudice. Scott’s film is a contemporary evolution of Shelley’s revolutionary science fiction novel but both ‘Texts in Time’ depict issues of the 19th and 20th centuries which have formed the basis for the texts.
Shelley’s seminal science fiction text Frankenstein published in 1818 and revised in 1831 provides a profound insight into humanity as a result of its context and holds a warning against mankind’s desire for control. Shelley critiques Romanticism in Victor Frankenstein’s destructive dream for knowledge of “the world…a secret which I desired to divine” but reveals the Gothic influence through the monster’s revengeful quest to destroy his creator. The novel focuses on Victor’s Romantic passion and imagination to exceed the boundaries of humanity, veering from the formalities of Neoclassicism. Frankenstein features galvanisation as the vehicle for Victor’s desire to sacrilegiously create “a new species that would bless me as its creator”, initiating his destructive and god-defying role as “the modern Prometheus”, revealing humanity’s yearning for power. Shelley’s representation of context provides a foundation for her critique of humanity whilst depicting the consequences of obsessive knowledge pursuit.
Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, composed in 1982 had a director’s cut released in 1993. The film draws largely from Philip K. Dick’s novel...
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