English Advanced: Module A (Texts Through Time) – Practice Essay
Whilst texts may be fabricated constructs of composers’ imaginations, they also investigate and direct the societal issues and standards of their period through the individuals they portray. This is clearly the case with Mary Shelley’s novel, “Frankenstein” (1818), which draws upon the rise of Galvanism and the Romantic Movement of the 1800s, as well as Ridley Scott’s film “Blade Runner” (1992), which considers the increase in the computing industry and the prevalence of capitalism within the late 20th Century. Both composers fundamentally warn us of the ominous outcomes of our desire for supremacy and uncontrolled technological development.
Written in an era of crucial technological progressions, Shelley’s “Frankenstein” uses the creative arrogance of the Romantic imagination to construct a gothic world in which the protagonist’s obsession with creation of a life has derailed the traditional lines of power and duty. Scott also draws upon components of his own context, including the development of capitalism, the hostile nature of uncontrolled technological progression and the disintegration of the natural world to position us to reassess the outcomes of overstepping our limits. Both texts were produced as reactions against the presiding ethical ways of thinking at the time, emphasizing the need to preserve our humanity in the face of uncontrolled scientific advance.
Shelley epitomizes the Romantic Movement as she warns her enlightened society of playing God. Her warning pervades through the individual character of Victor, whose self-aggrandizing speech “many excellent natures would owe their being to me,” represents a society obsessed with reanimation. Shelley challenges the ethics of her character’s quest for supremacy through his reflection “lost all soul or sensation but for this one pursuit,” as the juxtaposition of “all” and “one” underlines Victor’s extensive fixation on defeating...
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