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Frankenstein & Blade Runner

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Which Composer, Shelley or Ridley Scott best represents their values in their texts, Frankenstein and Blade Runner?

Discuss.

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Ridley Scott's 'Blade Runner,' are two texts from two different centuries but within both lye the same values, themes and issues. Apart from the obvious difference of one being a novel and the other being a film these two texts use a multitude of different ways to represent their themes. Shelley within Frankenstein shows her concern for rapid scientific advancement, the morality of humans and the responsibility of mankind. These concerns are also parallel with those in Scott's 'Blade Runner.' The techniques used in both texts are reflective of their context, such as the simple literary techniques used in Frankenstein through the motif of nature, multiple narrative voices and the unreliable narrator. Film techniques of the late 20th century are present within Blade Runner through the use of Lighting, Setting, Soundtrack and cinematography but other non-film-related are those such as irony and ambiguity. Both texts are able to strongly represent their values although 'Blake Runner's' values are harder to identify due to the ambiguity within the film.

During the writing of Frankenstein, its author, female Mary Shelley was 19 years of age. The world around her was changing and new ideologies and movements were occurring all through Europe and the world. The literary Romanticism period was developing which focused on the importance of nature, the sublime and a focus on the individual. This theme is present throughout the entire novel as it often is used to emphasise the emotions of characters and also by Shelley to suggest the power of nature for both beauty and destruction. Shelley often uses nature and its beauty as a restorative device for Victor, "When happy, inanimate nature had the power of bestowing on me the most delightful sensations. A serene sky and verdant fields filled me with ecstasy. The present season was indeed divine; the flowers of spring bloomed in the hedges, while those of summer were already in bud."

Shelley's world was moving forward into the direction of industrialization, exploration and scientific research. This is conveyed through characters such as Victor, Walton and Clerval who are all searching and exploring and attempting to make a discovery. Shelly questions and shows concerns through the novel about the developing scientific world. Through the irresponsible and immoral character of Victor she criticises the scientific branch within Europe. The context in which Frankenstein was composed has a large effect on the substance of the plot and characterization. It illustrates the growing need for discovery, the Romantic Movement and scientific advancement; all of which Shelley shows a concern for due to the lack of morality and responsibility present within the leaders and discoverers of her time. She inadvertently raises the question; how can scientific discoveries be made morally and with full acceptance of the consequences?

Released in 1982, Ridley Scott's 'Blade Runner' was produced as the US' economy was one of the most powerful in the world and huge scientific advancement was taking place such as the release of Microsoft products. The prospect of war between the US and USSR was a threatening reality and a nuclear arms race developed as well as a race for discovery. The world of Blade Runner reflects the fears of the time, the US being dominantly Asian due to globalisation and the over industrialization of the world leading to it becoming uninhabitable and therefore off world colonies were introduced. The world presented in this story reveals little evidence of social planning or environmental controls. It is a world in which value systems have fragmented and monolithic structures have replaced the natural world.

Scott's world is questioned and criticised through the film as he shows concerns for the snowballing technologically dependent world and the morality of humans as they push certain boundaries. He also raises a concern for the responsibility accepted or not accepted by the leaders of the world as they move forth so rapidly into new discoveries and unknown territories. This is represented in the bleak setting and the mental state of the humans as they are all seemingly numb. 'Blade Runner's' context is a large factor influencing the mental and physical state of the human beings and the world they inhabit within the film. Scott purposely characterizes the humans as bleak and unattached in order to question the scientific advancement of his world. Scott poses the threat that if the leaders of his day continue to immorally create new technology that it will lead to the destruction of the earth and the mental destruction of the human race. He casts responsibility onto these people as they will not cast it upon themselves and presents them with a potential consequence of their actions.

The world of Frankenstein shows its author Shelly showing concerns for the future of the world and the potential mistakes that might be made due to a lack of foresight. The novel illustrates Victor as an extremely intelligent person who is able to intellectually break barriers beyond those that have ever been broken and discover the source of life. "I became dizzy with the immensity of the prospect which it illustrated, as surprised, that among so many men of genius who had directed their enquiries towards the same science, that I alone should be reserved to discover so astonishing a secret." He then takes it a step further and without questioning the morality of his actions, he creates a human being. He does not truly contemplate or foresee the consequences of his scientific quest to create life, nor does he take the moral responsibility for his creation afterwards. These are the dominant concerns of Shelley throughout this text; due to our scientific advancement will the world lack foresight and immorally do something in the name of discovery and refuse to take responsibility for their actions afterwards? Victor has no moral compass, he does not care what the creature feels or wants he thinks only of himself and his gain or loss which causes the death of his loved ones. Is this not the peak of immoral behaviour? Victor continually justifies to the readers why he refuses to take responsibility for his creature, listing off pathetic almost shameful reasons that essentially add up to lead to the conclusion that his sole reason is that he doesn't want to incriminate himself and be punished.

Through Victor and his shameful, questionable and unlikeable actions and character, Shelley

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