Frankenstein: Dehumanizing Effects of Technology

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Both Mary Shelley’s 1818 gothic novel Frankenstein and Ridley Scott’s 1982 film Blade Runner explore the dehumanising effects of technology. Although the texts differ in context they connect through their exploration of transcendent societal concerns. A key theme explored in both texts is the dangers associated with unrestricted and dehumanising technology. Both texts depict characters corrupted and challenged by the dehumanising effects of technology, whilst simultaneously depicting settings and environments either on the verge of corruption or forever changed by technological advancements. A central theme shared by both texts is the dangers of unrestrained scientific progress. By not placing restrictions upon ourselves, we strive for the impossible and eventually lose our sense of identity along the way. In Frankenstein, the protagonist Victor involves himself with the contextually relevant Galvanism and infuses life into an inanimate body. It is this hubristic act of unrestrained scientific ambition that leads to Frankenstein’s downfall. Shelley uses allusions to emphasise this notion, such as her reference “a thing such not even Dante could have conceived”. This derives from Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, a poem recounting an experience of a man journeying through hell, similarly Victor’s hell is an existential one brought about by his transgression against a Christian natural order. ..This hell Similarly, Scott’s depiction of 2019, L.A as is an indictment of humanities environmental degradation. In the opening panning shot of the city scape, a lifeless city bereft of nature is depicted. Its decaying humanistic foundations are seen to be falling beneath the destructive nature of unrestrained technological advancements. The sky is a persistent night, neon lights proxy the natural light from the sun and acid rain falls to ground consistently throughout the film. These repeated visual metaphors are complemented by the synthetic soundtrack, creating a...
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