Good morning/ afternoon miss, today I will be speaking about the themes of two texts and the context in which they were written. The two texts ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Blade Runner’ both embody themes of science, creation and nature that are reflected in the author’s life and what was happening in the world around them. By examining Mary Shelley’s life we can see many of the key themes of her time reflected in Frankenstein. The novel Frankenstein was written in 1818 and follows the story of a scientist, Victor Frankenstein and his quest for creating life.
However his experiment goes wrong as his creature goes on a rampage after he has been rejected. One theme from this novel that is part of Shelley’s life is the natural world. The theme of the sublime natural world was embraced by Romanticists such as Mary Shelley who, in their writing, glorify the natural environment. By showing nature as a powerful force it gives an idea that nature is a great and controlling force, somewhat god like. Victor, depressed after the deaths of William and Justine for which he feels responsible for, heads to the mountains. A cold… breeze… upon my cheeks … fills me with delight” is a shortened quote from Victor which expresses his feelings towards nature as a joyous one. The influence of nature on mood is evident throughout the novel and just like Victor feeling happy in the embrace of nature; the monster also feels his heart lighten as spring arrives after a being abandoned in the cold winter. “The weather became fine and the skies cloudless”. Contrasting to Frankenstein that explores the beauty of nature, Blade runner explores how when the natural environment fades the consequences for both humans and the planet are terrible.
Blade Runner is a film directed by Riddley Scott in 1982 and follows the story of a blade runner named Deckard as he sets out on destroying artificial humans known as replicants. In the 1980s many Americans, including Scott feared their country was in a great decline and depression of the war and industrialization. These somber themes are evident within the film. At the beginning of the film we see a montage of manmade buildings and structures that overwhelm the landscape as there are no natural elements.
Symbolism is very important in this opening scene as we also see setting in the background, the sun. The sun setting symbolizes the end of the earth and that humans are entering into the dark. Rain in many parts of this film and is used as a visual metaphor to suggest that nature is crying for its destruction by humanity. The effect of this impression is that when nature dies everything will mourn. The setting of this post apocalyptic film is not the only thing that has been urbanised. Many animals have been created artificially.
When Deckard first goes to Tyrell he is shown an artificial owl, to which he responds “must be expensive”. The repetition of animals being artificial and expensive highlights that nothing natural remains and that nature has been taken over by commerce. Scott uses the animals as a symbol to represent how artificial the world has become. Another theme that is evident in both Frankenstein and Blade Runner is science and creation. Frankenstein was written in a period of technological advancement where science was just beginning to take shape and the thought of recreating life was evident.
An event in Shelley’s life that impacted her was the work of Luigi Galvani who discovered that the muscles of dead frog’s legs twitched when struck by a electricity. This advancement leads Shelley to critique the ideals of science contrasting to the value of nature. Shelley is clear on her feelings about the use and abuse of technology. The reanimation of a man from the dead can be useful so we can always be with loved ones, but what responsibility should we take once we bring people back from the dead?
How far can we go in raising the dead without destroying the living? Shelley seems to portray the idea that man cannot handle becoming like God without difficulty. Victor Frankenstein learns all he can about the field of science, both before, during, and after his work at the university and is continuously obsessed with creating life. The effect of uses a character obsessed with creating life, then later rejecting it further shows how Shelley feels about miss using technology. Similarly to Frankenstein, Blade Runner also questions the values of science and creation.
Scott created his film when industrialization and when technology is rapidly becoming part of everyday life. As the creator of the replicants, Tyrell simply creates the androids for money and power then immediately outcasts them. Scott makes the company of Tyrell seem very dark and large to emphasize his power within the city. Both Mary Shelley and Riddley Scott draw inspiration from the events and other themes that are impacting their life, whether it is nature, the advancement of technology or creation issues at the time of writing.
Courtney from Study Moose
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