Who am I? What is an identity? Human identity is mixture of mindset, values, behaviour, skills, attitude and external appearance. Other human identity characteristics may involve nationality, family, gender, socioeconomic level and personality. All these are influenced by society and other social backgrounds. Each individual’s identity is unique, like a fingerprint. The purpose of this article is to consider the enduring significance of the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelly by exploring its connections to the more recent text, blade runner directed by Ridly Scott.
Through this I will be analysing the key concept; which in this case is human identity across both texts.
Despite the year gap, both texts challenge what it is to be human. Replicant Roy Batty was played by Rutger Hauer in the original Blade Runner, released in 1982. In blade runner the abstract of the future is bio-engineered humans or replicants as called in the film, who want nothing but to “live” longer; blade Runners simply “retire” or kill these replicants when they become a threat to society in this case become too much like humans or disrupt the natural order.
The nature of humanity is explored through both texts and represents the concepts of human a non-human. For example, when each of these characteristics’ such as nationality, family, gender, socioeconomic level, personality, external appearance, behaviour and values are viewed, a unique individual is formed.
However, in Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein’s creation is not identified by all of these characteristics. He is not defined by many of them because they do not exist in his life.
The domestic void in the creature’s life creates a barrier between him and the rest of civilization throughout the novel. Victor’s creation continually asks, ‘Who was I? What was I?’ and society answers with ‘wretch’ and ‘monster’ ; it is these responses that give the creatures identity. When it comes to nationality, every human bring posses a national identity and/or heritage, although Frankenstein’s “monster” as they call him does not have this privilege.
Where a person is born is important because they are born into a family full of national culture and ancestral heritage; this composes part of a person’s individual identity. When the blind man in the De Lancy family asks the creature, “are you French?”, the creation responds with “no”. this establishes that the creation or “monster” has no place of birth, no national identity that would give him an identity in a particular county. This also applies in blade runner (1982) directed by Ridly Scott.
The ‘replicants’ do no obtain a place of birth nor national identity when they were bio-engineered in Tyrells facility. In the film Blade runner, it does have a different perspective of what it means to be human, the psychological life, the mental states including dispositions, character and memories are mattered to be human, not whether one is a natural human or a bio-engineered replicant. This implies that Replicants, if it were to become conscious with memories and have the same mental states as us, should be treated as if they were human. Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard in Blade Runner 2049, which continues to focus on the moral question of replicants.