Shelley’s Romantic novel Frankenstein (1818) compares and reflects values of humanity and the consequences of our Promethean ambition against the futuristic, industrialized world of Blade Runner (1992) by Ridley Scott. The notions of unbridled scientific advancement and technological progress resonate with our desire to elevate humanity’s state of being, mirrored amongst the destructive ambition to overtake and disrupt nature and its processes. The disastrous implications of overreaching the boundary between progressive and destructive power and knowledge are heeded through the ultimate and inevitable loss of self and identity, transforming humanity into a form of monstrosity.
Shelley heeds the destructive thirst for knowledge in the pursuit of superiority, foreshadowing the moral ramifications as a result of this unnatural intervention and disruption of both the physical nature and the innate spiritual self. The Promethean ambition possessed by man ultimately leads to loss of the essence of humanity in an attempt to usurp the natural order of the world. The connotation of the subtitle, “Modern Prometheus” foreshadows the heavenly retribution and consequences Victor Frankenstein has wrought upon himself in his obsessive quest for knowledge and power. His God-like transgression against nature through his ‘ardent desire for acquisition for knowledge’ unleashes a cycle of tragedy leading ultimately to his mortal downfall of mental and emotional instability. Shelley furthermore emphasises the cruelty of mankind when conscience and moral responsibility are abandoned through the symbolic creation of the Monster as the very condemnation of unchecked industrialized ‘progress’. The juxtaposition of the classical Promethean myth with the dystopic realm Victor Frankenstein has created is highlighted through the rejection of the Monster as ‘breathless horror and disgust filled [his] heart’, further underlining the moral irresponsibility Frankenstein has shown towards his...
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