Frankenstein Blade Runner Essay Analyse how ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Blade Runner’ Imaginatively portray individuals who challenge the established values of the time. In your response, refer to both excerpts below. i) ‘Slave, I before reasoned with you, but you have proved yourself unworthy of my condescension. Remember that I have powers, you believe yourself miserable, but I can make you so wretched that the light of day will be hateful to you. You are my creator, but I am your master;-obey! ’ ii) the still of Roy holding Tyrell’s face
Through the relationship between the characters of Victor and his creature, Shelley challenges nineteenth century values about the role of science, the benefits of ambition and fame and the dominance of nature by man. Similarly Scott develops the characters of Roy and Tyrell to challenge the same assumptions about science and nature but he does so in a context of technological development that allows multinational corporations to exploit on a massive scale. Both texts also explore the larger issue of human values, asking what potential lies in a human and whether we can readily define human nature.
In Shelley’s novel, Victor’s portrayal challenges the assumptions of the previous eighteenth century that the progress of science is the most important human pursuit. He is the ‘The modern Prometheus” a Greek mythological human who stole fire from the gods and brought it back to earth. This story like Shelley’s questions the benefits and consequences of ambition. In Shelley’s Romantic context science is seen as a threat towards nature and Shelley conveys this threat through the hubris of Victor.
Shelley explores Victor’s blind ambition to “penetrate into the recesses of nature and show how she works in her hiding-places”. Victor’s character is seen as self-absorbed and his ambition is fueled by selfish reasons “A new species would bless me as its creator and source…would owe their being to me”. Victor’s character is obsessed to the point of moral blindness but when the creature is not perfect it quickly turns to hatred. Shelley’s imagery suggests decay rather than new life. “I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open… How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe”.
This characterisation of Victor and his lack of morals and blind ambition are all warnings against science and its unbounded progression. Similarly Roy’s confrontation with Tyrell, his creator, explores the powerful consequences of playing god with genetics, a new frontier of scientific experimentation. Scott challenges the established values, which worship science and the profits it can bring. Scott portrays Tyrell’s character as god-like, through the use of cinematic techniques, costume design and lighting. He is filmed from high angled shots empowering him in almost every scene.
Scott uses a series of shots of Tyrell corporation over shadowing Los Angeles to build the image of Tyrell’s power and how much it dominates all. This corporation fueled by ambition is linked to the issues relevant to Scott’s context, the drive of the capitalist world and what the consequences may be if this ambition is not met with moral guidance. Scott uses costume design, with the thick lensed glasses as a metaphor for Tyrell’s moral blindness. The motif of eyes, used throughout the film, represent the window to the soul and Scott is saying that Tyrell’s window is damaged.
Tyrell and Roy meet in Tyrell’s palace- like room, Tyrell is dressed in a huge kingly robe with candles bathing the room in a golden light, contrasting with the fake incandescent light that dominates the movie. Like Frankenstein’s creature, Roy has been made physically and morally superior to Tyrell his creator. In this scene the audience sees the creation come back to end the creator and the idea that science has progressed so far that is supersedes its creators is seen. This asks questions about the direction science should head in.
Through the development of Victor and the creature’s relationship, questions are raised about the responsibilities of the creator and what values make us human. Victor makes a creature that he abandons to the harsh world where he is not understood. This shapes the way the creature is developed and supports the ‘blank slate’ idea of Shelley’s context. Shelley challenges the values that assume we are born with a certain fate and those who are bad deserve bad lives. She puts forward the Enlightenment idea that humans are ll born with the potential to be good. Shelly shows this through the relationship between Victor and the creature, who both need love and compassion; aspects of human nature that are given through nurture. The creature had been capable of impulsive acts of kindness as he rescues a child from the river and does acts of kindness for the De Laceys. Shelley uses this to represent the potential for good in human nature and that people are not predetermined but can be turned to evil if neglected: “I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend”.
These are the results of Victor’s blind ambition, self pity and disregard for his responsibilities, all unfavorable aspects of human nature. With neglect, the creature is doomed to only find pleasure in the acts of hate towards Victor, but even these acts are not satisfying as he is morally just, causing the creature to be constantly unhappy. Similarly, Roy’s development from a child-like selfishness to maturity, capable of love and compassion, challenges the belief that science can control its creations and that they are only valuable for profit.
Tyrell’s corporation represents the greed and ambition that drives the world of Scott’s context, it represents the negative consequence of a world bent on profit at the expense of moral justness. The commercialization of science is seen as profitable, but as Scott shows, commercialization of science doesn’t take into account the act of giving ‘life’ and the responsibility due to the creation, it only works on profits and losses and as a result, the replicants are seen as a quantity. When science is commercialized, greed and ambition blind the morals that science needs.
Scott shows this through the act of Roy, like Shelley’s creature, killing his creator, in revenge for neglect. The replicants’ ability to absorb experience and change, challenges the values that assume humans are the supreme measure of everything. Scott draws upon modern psychology to portray the replicants’ development as a means of discussing human nature, Ironically the genius replicant Roy proves Tyrell’s slogan “More human than human” when he gradually develops into a better human being than the humans themselves. Roy is firstly portrayed as a child as he compliments J. F’s toys and plays a sort of hunting game with Deckard.
Like the creature Roy is new to life and “emotionally inexperienced”, but through his development of memories and experiences, he becomes “human”, learning empathy and love. This development in the replicants’ emotions is a strong parallel to the creature with the effects of neglect and the ability to be morally educated. The four-year life span is a guard against emotional development triggered by experience. Memories given to the replicants are “creations” that allow for control: “If we gift them the past we create a cushion or pillow for their emotions and consequently we can control them better. Roy’s development of love and compassion is expressed with Pris, this is shown through his howling and stuttering over her name after she has been killed. Roy also develops empathy which is seen in saving Deckard. Scott uses Roy’s monologue to fully express to the audience how Roy has become “human”. He does this through dialogue “all these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain” expressing loss and a desire to preserve memory. Through the metaphor of the dove ascending into the heavens, his spirit is released through the only living creature seen in the movie.
Both the novel Frankenstein, and the film Blade Runner imaginatively portray individuals who challenge the established values of the time; both discuss the role of science, the benefits of ambition and fame and the importance of nurture. The characterization and the development of relationships between creator and creature holds the key in both texts to not only challenging the contemporary values of the 19th and 20th century, but also issues and question about life and humans that have been dwelled upon over many centuries.