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Frankenstein/blade Runner Essay

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Mary Shelley's gothic novel Frankenstein and Ridley Scott's motion picture Bladerunner (Director's Cut) both portray several individuals who challenge the established values inbuilt within their own contexts. Both compositions are cautionary tales regarding the creation of life and the nature of humanity. The two texts offer many similar reflections, however, the language form, meaning and significance of each portrayal differs according to context. Analysis of each text's image of these characters offers the audience insight into the changing values and perspectives embedded in the nearly two hundred years between publications.

The consideration of context is necessary to understand the established values challenged within each text. Frankenstein was composed by Mary Shelley in 1818, in the middle of the Industrial Revolution, a time of technological innovation and chaotic social consequences. Frankenstein includes the values of Romanticism. But Frankenstein serves as a warning against the 'do-it-yourself' scientific progress that was taking place around Shelley. Similarly, the context of Bladerunner sets out a background of recognized values which its characters challenge. The years surrounding the making of the film, the later 1970s and early 1980s were years of global expansion in corporate capitalism. There were rapid increases in various technologies, notably the rise of computer and robotic technologies as well as beginnings of genetic engineering and the genome project. Bladerunner explores the consequences of Man overstepping the bounds of his existence and the moral dilemmas that arise because of science and technologies out of control development. Both texts were constructed within contexts that also adhered to Christianity.

Christian religious doctrine was deeply embedded within both 18th Century England and 20th Century America and therefore both contexts involve a well-established principle of a Creator whose ʻplanʼ is past the understanding or role of mere humans. Victor Frankenstein and Eldon Tyrell are both portrayed as individuals who test this value by presuming to take on the role of Creator, Frankenstein of the monster and Tyrell of the replicants. Both texts present the character's challenge of this value as a need for fame. Frankenstein has had similarities with John Milton's Paradise Lost, with Shelley depicting Victor's rise to a godlike role. The imagery in, "It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn" characterises Victor as disrespectful of God's Laws. Shelley also draws parallels between Milton's Satan and Victor, once he realises his foolishness: "All my speculations and hopes are as nothing, and like the archangel who aspired to omnipotence, I am chained in an eternal hell". The narrator Walton describes Frankenstein in terms that sound particularly like the fallen Lucifer of Paradise Lost. Frankenstein clearly try's to take on God's role, creating a man, but he has the devil's motives: pride and the will to power. Victor seeks the glory of being the creator of a new race of beings; "A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me". The similarities between Tyrell's character are evident. He is also constructed as having self-importance of religion. He is rich and powerful, and is visually placed above and beyond all others.

This superiority is displayed in the first scene of the movie, where an extreme aerial long shot displays the Tyrell Corporation's pyramid-like structure. The golden colour scheme and overpowering soundtrack shows Tyrell's



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