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Bladerunner And Frankenstein Essay

1270 words - 6 pages

To what extent has your study of two comparative texts led to a greater understanding of the ways texts reflect the contexts in which they were composed whilst exploring universal concerns?

Whilst texts may be fictitious constructs of composers’ imaginations, they also explore and address the societal issues of their eras. This is evident within Mary Shelley’s compelling novel Frankenstein (1818) and Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic film Blade Runner (1982 director’s cut). Although these two texts are from completely different centuries, they both share many of the same values, themes and issues. These consist of the ‘natural world,’ scientific advancement and man’s hubris in playing god. ...view middle of the document...

Scott’s use of mise-en-scene assists in illustrating a world lacking nature, full of smoke, acid rain and continual darkness.

Written during the industrial revolution and a time of major scientific developments, including Galvani’s concept of electricity as a reanimating force, Shelley’s Frankenstein can be interpreted as a warning to the technologically curious. This curious world is personified throughout the protagonist Victor Frankenstein, who tragically falls victim to experimentation without boundaries. This was an attempt to foreshadow the potential dangers of unmonitored technological advancements. To reiterate this sentiment, Shelley also aimed to stress the divinity of nature in the face of technological dominance through elements of Romanticism. “The weight upon my shoulders was sensibly lightened as I plunged yet deeper into the ravine,” emotive imagery highlights the cleansing effect of the environment, juxtaposed against the oppressive nature of the technologically advanced city.
This idea of negatively depicting technological dominance is similarly displayed by Scott. As technology was booming due to the introduction of computer industries such as Microsoft post Vietnam War, Scott was influenced greatly by this event. Scott utilizes the advertisements of the “off world” to suggest components of consumer persuasion. The sheer dimension of the ads (which dwarf the people) as well as the repetition and the parodied tone of voice, comment on the insidious nature of this particular mode of social control. Here, the film highlights how modern consumerism distracts humans from issues such as environment, attributing it a role in developing the ignorance that could lead to a world depicted in Blade Runner. The repetition of the ads emphasizes shallowness, sameness and a lack of spontaneity while the mentioning of the “golden land of opportunity” and “chance to begin again” alludes to the need for an alternative to earth due to it being ultimately unable to sustain quality life. Jean Baudrillard, a 1980’s philosopher, commented on some of the most salient cultural and sociological phenomena for the contemporary era, including the impact of new media, information and cybernetic technologies in the creation of qualitatively different social order which relates to the advertising blimps and separation of Tyrell with teeming masses below, the separation of off world and on world and also the separation of humans and replicants.
Another idea present in Ridley Scott’s film Blade Runner and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is man’s hubris in playing god. Scott echoes the rise of capitalist ideals and the Wall Street mantra, “greed is good”, through the symbolic dominance of Tyrell’s towering ziggurat, a reflection of both his desire for control and commercial power. Tyrell’s egocentric nature is epitomized within the religious connotations of his residence, including his voluminous bed, modeled after that of Pope John...

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