Humanity - Frankenstein vs. Blade Runner

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Both Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner are texts that explore what it is to be human. Many parallels can be drawn between the two texts even though they are set some two hundred years apart. The texts present a view that questions the morality of science that progresses unchecked. Is this what is to become of our society?

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is set in the eighteenth century romantic period in Europe, whereas Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner is set in the futuristic twenty first century. In both texts science and technology are explored and human identity is an important concept that is played out to a chilling end.

Within Shelley’s novel, Victor Frankenstein plays God to the monster. While creating the creature he believed that what he was creating what was the best for humanity although his ideas began to change when he finally stood back and viewed his work. The viewing of the monster is a moral setback for Victor and he finally understands that “the being whom I had cast among mankind and endowed with the will and power to effect purposes of horror”. He is morally affected by the creation that he has cast upon society and realises his error of judgement when the creature he has created kills his younger brother. Victor feels responsible and is eventually consumed by this overwhelming sense of guilt and remorse.

The creature that Frankenstein creates is an ‘abomination’ so repulsive to look upon as to cause horror. There is irony in this as Victor himself is internally consumed by an ugliness and revulsion, and he has created something that he cannot look at because of its external ugliness. Although on the inside the creature holds more human qualities than his creator.

The movie Blade Runner has parallels with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and is a modern day reproduction of sorts. The Tyrell Corporation creates the replicants (humanoid robots used as slaves), and this is where Tyrell, the head of the company plays God...
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