Texts in Time: Comparative Study- ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Bladerunner’
The novel ‘Frankenstein’, written by Mary Shelley (1818 ), and Ridley Scott’s film ‘Bladerunner’ (1982 ), are both texts that resolve and thoroughly explore the concern of the role of science and innovation in society and how it affects the mankind. Although they were composed in different periods, both texts were composed under the influence of commercial, scientific and technological revolution. Both ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Bladerunner’ resolve the concern of how science and technological improvements, such as Galvanism, have actually given human beings the capability to produce synthetic life and act as ‘God’.
As life is created, the concern of ‘what in fact is human’ arises, and as the relationships in between creator and production are seen, audiences are made to contemplate who demonstrates ‘genuine’ human qualities; the human creators or the scientific productions. Through a comparative research study of ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Bladerunner’, it is can end up being clear how Shelley and Scott were eventually alerting society of the alarming consequences that can come of unrestrained scientific and technological understanding and progress, and the ways those consequences can impact humankind.
The context of when the texts were composed greatly influences the main themes and concepts of ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Bladerunner’, in addition to how Shelley and Scott represent the clinical and technological problems of the time. The 19th century was a duration known as the Enlightenment Era, which encouraged reasonable idea and science was pursued in look for the unidentified. In response to the clinical nature of enlightenment, the Romantic Motion was born encouraging society, particularly authors, to use their creativities and checking out the unlimited possibilities of nature.
Shelley composed ‘Frankenstein’ in reaction to both of these periods and is shown by the method the protagonist, Victor Frankenstein, combines his fascination with natural philosophy and his desire to attain more than any other scientist, and use science to break the barriers of nature and produce life. His desire appears when he quotes “one idea, one conception, one function” and “Life and death appeared to me perfect bounds, which I should initially break through, pour a gush of light into our dark world. Other problems at the time of composure were the Industrial Revolution, where innovation boomed causing people being changed by devices, and the increase of Galvanism, where through electrical energy, life could be provided to inanimate things. Galvanism directly link to ‘Frankenstein’, as it is believed that is how he was brought to life. “I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might instill a stimulate of enjoying the lifeless thing that lay at my feet.” Although composed in an entirely various time period, ‘Bladerunner’ was likewise written in a time of excellent technological modification.
The computer market was on the increase, with computer giants IBM and Microsoft growing, and computer systems were not only being used for service and science, but were discovered in the majority of houses. Society was becoming capitalist, which resulted in mass consumerism and the upper classes living in excess, adding to a growing class-divide. Developments in the science field were quickly increasing which shows the setting of ‘Bladerunner’. In the opening scene, the audience is presented to a futuristic Los Angeles in 2019; a dark, rotting city illuminated by ad boards and large beams of unnatural light, with over-crowded, rubbish filled streets.
It is lacking natural charm, rather filled with rotting infrastructure. This artificial environment shows how society has actually used innovation to transform their environment, compromising their health and providing most of the human population worse living conditions. The class-divide becomes very apparent in ‘Bladerunner’ when the polluted, unclean streets of Los Angeles are contrasted with living conditions of Eldon Tyrell, the head of Tyrell Corporations and designer of the replicants.
In the future in the movie, JF Sebastian tells Pris “No housing shortage around here”, in answer to her questioning him about him living solitary in such a large structure. This comment strengthens the ways of society at the time residing in excess. ‘Bladerunner’ and ‘Frankenstein’ both raise the issue in whether it is ethical and appropriate for humans to ‘play God’ and produce life. In ‘Frankenstein’, Shelley utilized intertextuality to create a deeper significance of this issue, repeatedly describing the Greek ‘Promethean Misconception’ (which is the book’s subtitle) and ‘Paradise Lost’, which is the retold story of development form the first book of the Bible.
In the novel, Frankenstein’s creation concerns Victor, “Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay to mould me male.? “, a direct reference to the Promethean Misconception, in which Prometheus, the creator of people, is penalized for his actions. This parallels Victor’s scenario as he is punished psychologically and physically by the beast, which ultimately results in his death; “Despair had actually certainly nearly protected her prey”. Victor Frankenstein can also be paralleled to Adam in the biblical story of production. In the Garden of Eden, even when he was prohibited, Adam took fruit rom the Tree of Life in order to get more understanding, which connects to how Victor didn’t stop at anything to gain more knowledge, which had deadly effects. With prior knowledge of ‘Paradise Lost’ and the Promethean Myth, audiences can see the links between the 2 and ‘Frankenstein’ and draw the conclusion that Victor will spend for his careless actions. Abandonment is a typical theme shared by both texts, and winds up being the source destruction in both ‘Bladerunner’ and ‘Frankenstein’. The abandonment and of rejection of the creature requires him to lose faith in the human race and swear vengeance on Victor. Accursed developer! Why did you form a beast so horrible that even you turn from me in disgust?” and “You were my father … to whom could I use with more physical fitness then to him who had provided me life … unfeeling, heartless developer!” In Bladerunner, Tyrell was ignorant in just offering the Nexus 6 replicants a 4 year life span, which led the rogue replicants, Roy, Leon, Pris and Zhora back to Earth to ask for adjustment. Upon conference with Roy, Tyrell describes him as “the lost lamb”. Opposed to Frankenstein, Tyrell took pride in his development, Roy, as he was the supreme design of all replicants.
Lastly, the downfall of both the developers in ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Bladerunner’ was triggered by their failure to realise the potential of the science and innovation they were desperate to pursue and breaks bounds in. Victor’s beast and Tyrell’s replicants were advanced species to humans and had supernatural strength. Tyrell and Frankenstein also thought their productions to be objective beings, but throughout their experiences, became well-informed and discovered feelings; “Boost of understanding just found to be more plainly what a sorrowful castaway I was”.
With a boost in understanding, the productions had the ability to form their own viewpoints and feelings and they might identify for themselves when they weren’t being dealt with right. The creature and the replicants got the ability to hurt, and combined with their supernatural strength and abilities, became a risk to the mankind. Due to recklessness in attempt to make something “more human than human” and discover developments in the science and innovation field, Tyrell and Frankenstein put the presence of mankind at risk.
By performing a relative study on both ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Bladerunner’, the link between the role of science and technology to the context, characters and theme becomes obvious, enabling contrasts and parallels to be drawn in between the 2 texts. Through ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Bladerunner’, Shelley and Scott alerted society at the time to be mindful when having fun with science and technology, as humans can easily under mime its possibilities, some of which can be fatal.