Frankenstein and Blade Runner: Parallels

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Texts in time embody their social, historical and economical paradigms yet they transcend time as they appeal to universal concerns such as the effects of the development of science and technology on the human condition. Written during the early 19th century, Mary Shelley’s 1818 Gothic Novel, Frankenstein, the characterisation and destruction of Frankenstein’s humanity serves to highlight the dangers associated with ambitious exploitation of experimental science. Furthermore, the contrast between the creature and Frankenstein is the used to explore man’s moral limitations in the creator capacity. Similarly, in Ridley Scott’s 1982 noir film, Blade Runner: The Director’s Cut, parallels with Shelley’s novel are seen in his characterisation and ultimate annihilation of Eldon Tyrell, as well as his relationship with his replicants. Thus by examining how Shelley and Scott utilise timeless ideas within their Romantic and post-modern texts, we are able to come to a heightened understanding of the anxieties of their times.

Reiterating the contextual ideals of her milieu, Shelley presents a didactic, Chinese box-story which explores the ethical dilemma behind unchecked ambition in experimental science and its intrinsic transgression of nature’s boundaries. Shelley’s Prometheus Victor Frankenstein represents the hubris of blinded scientific pursuits and its interference with natural processes beyond human understanding; mirroring the paranoia of the Gothic Romantics and their fear of scientific discoveries. Shelley utilizes a juxtaposition of two different characterisations of Victors to portray her didactic message of the effect of man’s hubristic ambition for knowledge contextually symbolised by experiments such as Luigi Galvani’s on animal electricity. Shelley initially portrays Victor to show an innocent fascination with the natural world highlighted within the metaphorically charged hypotactic overstatements, “darkness had no effect upon fancy” reflective of her...