The film Blade Runner by Ridley Scott and the gothic novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley reveal key insights concerning humanity through the contrasting texts. The composers successfully introduce and deal with the issues of humanity by challenging the established values of their times reflected to the responder through the provocative language and film techniques. Both texts are cautionary tales which explore insights of humanity revealing the greed for power and political control through science and technology, need for love and affection and a need for identity and self knowledge.
Both texts similarly explore the insights of humanity’s greed and urge for power to control through science and the consequences that follow. Composed in a time of major scientific development, Shelley’s concern on the rise of galvanism is reflected in Frankenstein. Initially, Frankenstein’s construction of his monster is out of scientific ambition and the acquirement for knowledge. However, Frankenstein is also motivated by his interest in his own scientific development to challenge himself, and not necessarily improve mankind.
This is seen through his reflection of himself as the “most wretched of human beings”. The dark imagery and tone set by the negative diction foreshadow the consequences of man trying to be god which result in the death of Frankenstein’s loved ones including Elizabeth, William and Henry Clerval. In contrast, Scott cautions of humanity’s greed for power and the severed relationship with nature due to it represented through Tyrell. The reasons for which Tyrell creates his replicants contrasts with that of Frankenstein’s, as his motivation is world, political and scientific domination.
The upward shot of the ziggurat of Tyrell’s tower gives an impression of the immensity and power of Tyrell and reflects humanity’s capabilities from greed. The consequences of Tyrell’s use of science and technology for his own selfish concerns on nature is presented in the opening scene through a long shot of Los Angeles, panning over the hellish landscape. Film noir techniques such as the disoriented visual schemes and shadows and explosions are incorporated into the scene to exemplify the destruction of nature.
This is further emphasized through the music of Vangelis. There is a contrast between Frankenstein’s and Tyrell’s motivation for creation, however, the consequences of the use of science are the same in both texts. Frankenstein is able to realise the immoral action of his scientific creation while Tyrell is unable to see the dystopia he has created which is represented by the ironic eye imagery of his glasses. Humanity’s need for love and affection is a critical issues and value examined in both Frankenstein and Blade Runner.
Although in both texts the monster and the replicants are not humans themselves, they present human qualities and seek for love and affection from families. However, they are unable to find this because of the dystopian worlds created by Frankenstein and Tyrell. The monster created by Frankenstein, innocent at first, is unable to find love and affection that he viewed in the family, but is instead chased out of the village. The monster’s inability to find this results in his “eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind”.
The strong negative diction emphasizes the monster’s pain and suffering due to his lack of connection to a family and leads to the revenge on Frankenstein. Similarly, in Blade Runner, the replicants created by Tyrell who are “more human than human” also have an emotional capacity. This is seen in the scene of Leon Kowalski’s interview when he angrily shoots the interviewer when he is asked to describe “only the good things” about his “mother”.
Being a replicant, he does not have a mother, and reacts with a greater emotional response, showing more compassion and love than the other human beings seen in the film. Both texts similarly give insight to humanity’s need for love and affection through the emotional responses caused by the created beings lack of connection with family. 3. Both the texts examine humanities need for identity and self knowledge. The monster in the novel, having emotional qualities, tries to understand his identity. The monster learns from the literature of Plutarch and milton and craves for relationship with his ‘fellow man’.
The monster perceives himself both “like adam” used in contrast to the symbolic refrence and imagery of ‘satan’ exemplifies the monster’s situation poised between two realms and makes him aware of his creator’s utter disdain for him. The monster who is essentially good and humble is corrupted by society. In scotts film, the replicants seek for a positive identity and self awareness but are unable to achieve this because of the dystopian world created by tyrell. In the scene where roy batty confronts tyrell in a quest for answer, tyrells extravagant bedroom surronded by lit candles is a stark contrast to dark gloomy setting of the film.
Batty is purposefully humanized throughemotions and says “i want more life, father” while tyrells cold response, “it is not something i can promise” highlights the lack of humanity. Battys murder of tyrell throughthe crushing of his eyes exemplifies his anger due to his lack of identity and self knowledge. The creators neglect yo their creations reflect ideals and notions of humanity for identity and self knowledge. Thus, it is our ideals and morals that shape our image of humanity.
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