* Analyse how Frankenstein and Blade Runner imaginatively portray individuals who challenge the established values of their time.
???Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.??? ??“ Albert Einstein
Mary Shelley??™s gothic and romantic novel ???Frankenstein??? and Ridley Scott??™s science fiction noir film ???Blade Runner??? both explore similar ideas, relative to the context in which they were both made. Both Scott and Shelley use their texts as a cautionary tale, warning human society of their inevitable downfall through greed, the exploitation of nature and the influence of science are slowly taking over the role of religion. Through the use of visual and auditory techniques, Scott demonstrates how nature and religion are absent in a world overrun by consumerism and technology while Shelley similarly uses imagery and allusions to hint at the consequences humanity will suffer if they attempt to better God through the manipulation of science and the exploitation of nature.
Humanity??™s rejection of the natural world in favour of the unnatural pursuit of technology advancement to stretch life is a major concern in both Frankenstein and Blade Runner. In Frankenstein, nature is an important aspect of a person??™s life and beliefs. Shelley conveys Victor??™s desire to conquer nature through the quote ???new species would bless me as its creator??¦many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me.??? The monster is then used as a metaphor for the unavoidable consequences due to the exploitations of nature. Shelley uses Frankenstein as a warning against the rising industrial revolution. Likewise, Scott uses Blade Runner to warn society against the exploitation or nature through the rise of consumerism in the 1980??™s, hinted in the film through the aerial shot of the large Coca-Cola sign. Also, the long shot of a dark dystopian Los Angeles in 2019 after the opening credits, is juxtaposed with jets of fire from oil refinery towers, which indicates to the viewer of the consequences of consumerism through the exploitation of nature. There is also a lack of natural imagery such as plants and animals seen in Blade Runner and the use of artificial lighting gives the world a very false tone, indicating to the audience that nature has been destroyed.
The idea that science is replacing religion is apparent in both Frankenstein and Blade Runner. Both Shelley and Scott use many biblical references to suggest that these new beings of science have replaced religion as a whole among society. During the time Frankenstein was written, the idea of evolution was proposed, which went against the church??™s view of existence. This radical thinking influenced Shelley as she used Frankenstein as a warning for what would happen if man promoted science rather than God. Shelley uses an extended metaphor as well as biblical references to portray the creator, Victor Frankenstein, as God while his creation as the fallen angel Lucifer. This idea is suggested by the monster in the quote where he states, “I am thy creature; I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel.??? The end of Frankenstein is seen as another consequence for defying God and religion and embracing science. Similarly at the time of the release of Blade Runner there was tension in relation to the cloning debate. Scott uses Blade Runner to warn against humanity??™s lust to better God. Scott manipulates Tyrell as God through religious references, such as the pyramidal shape of the Tyrell Corporation building and uses the extended metaphor to show the replicants as angels who have fallen from heaven, conveyed in the film as the ???replicants??? have returned to earth. This is evident in Roy??™s dialogue ???Fiery the angels fell.??? The juxtaposition of the dark landscape of the city with the bright lights of the Tyrell Corporation shows superiority between science and religion, as the concept of nature is challenged through the normality of which artificial lighting is used.
Greed and societal rank are both driving factors which make humanity of both societies self-destruct. Both Frankenstein and Blade Runner portray the creators as egocentric and unsympathetic to the needs and feelings of their creations. With the industrial revolution came great economic benefits. Shelley uses Frankenstein to warn society of the terrible nature of greed, as she uses a metaphor to convey that the consequences will ultimately ???pollute??™ humanity if they give in to that desire, in reference to the industrial revolution. Victor Frankenstein creates his monster because he wants to be the first to create life; he wants the fame and the self-satisfaction of accomplishment, ???Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world.??? Similarly Blade Runner shows the effects of the breakthrough in computers and how society is letting machines get bigger and better than humans, evident as Tyrell quotes “more human than human is our motto”. Tyrell is seen as a man who lacks insight, humbleness and empathy; he builds the replicants for money, purely out of greed and relishes in the spoils. Scott uses a low angle shot to demonstrate the enormity of the Tyrell building, emphasising Tyrell??™s greed to the audience, while the shadow of the building creates over the city portrays the consequences of this greed on society.
The comparative study of Frankenstein and Blade Runner in relation to their contexts, allow a deeper understanding of how texts composed in different times and contexts may reflect changing values and perspectives. Both texts share common ideas concerning the misuse of science and the effect it has on both religion and the natural world. It is evident that both Shelley and Scott use the social issues of their time to predict the course of society and the consequences that humanity will face as a result of failing to meet the established orders. Both composers utilise their characters to portray the challenging established values, in order to express their own opinion of the rapid evolution rate of their time.