The Film Frankenstein vs. Blade Runner

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Shelley's Frankenstein and Scott's Blade Runner deal with very common subjects, including society, from different backgrounds, reflecting both their influences and interests during their lifetimes. In both cases, there was a significant social upheaval, which prompted the writers to formulate their theories from a variety of viewpoints. Although Shelley maintains that mankind is mistaken for their scientific intelligence, which attempts to imitate and even exceed God's knowledge, Scott maintains that it is vital to learn insight by discovery because it aids in the survival of the human race. The Replicants in Blade Runner as the creature in Shelley’s Frankenstein are similar because they were not created in a natural way; they were created through endeavors by human beings. The difference between them is that Shelley’s creature seems to be inherently evil and that is why it kills other people, while those created by Scott have human’s feelings and behave in a manner similar to that of people.

Shelley views science as an evil endeavor; it is disastrous to the survival of the human beings. Scott thinks that science is the basis of human survival since it helps people to survive. A good example is the presentation of artificial snakes and birds which are less expensive than the natural ones in Blade Runner. In this scene, Scott tries to show the benefits of the technology as it conserves life through the artificial snakes and owls. Shelley views science as used in the creation of human life as evil through the presentation of the creature that ended up killing all the family members.

Scott views science as the only hope for survival for the whole earth: he suggests that the future is depressing when Bryant says that anyone who is not a cop is a little person. After the words were said, a recurring search light and shadow bars moved through the faces of the characters. Shelley continues to describe the horrible death of the creature as one that occurred unnaturally with the limbs freezing, what depicts the two varied ways of approaching the aspect of science.

Question 2

As much as Shelley is wholly against the creation of artificial human life, the book shows that people can achieve a lot by being ethical and humane (Shelley, 15). One of the achievements that human beings are successful at is depicted through the eloquence with which the creature learns to think and understand language (Shelley, 142). Frankenstein depicts that the creature was immensely good at talking and learning the language he rivaled his creator. Through this, Shelley shows people can achieve highs in the artificial creation of the art of language.

Shelley shows that Frankenstein had an ability of speed and strength, the areas which humans can excel. The author seems to suggest that instead of trying to achieve more, it is possible to target speed and strength in the creation of beneficial beings on earth. On the other hand, Scott strongly suggests that human beings can go as far as they want with the endeavors; their creations are almost perfect as shown by the artificial snake and owl.

Question 3

In his article, Abbot argues that Shelley’s novel and Scott’s Blade Runner are different from the way they view artificial human life with the movie encouraging this endeavor and the book discouraging it due to its immorality. Abbot argues that the two works differ substantially mainly because the novel was written from the perspective of romanticism, while the movie was created in the postmodern world (Abbot, 340). Shelley approaches the aspect of life and its artificial creation from the point of view of being moral, while Scott analyses it from the capitalistic ethics (Abbot, 343).

The arguments made by Abbot support the thesis of this paper as the aspect of humanity is viewed differently by Shelley and Scott. Slade states that Scott makes science aesthetic (13). Shelley insists that human beings are destroying their lives because their endeavor to create artificial life is ungodly, immoral, and confronts spirituality (Abbot 343; Shelley 15). A good example offered by Shelley is where the creature created artificially ends up killing all the loved ones. Apparently, this is not a coincidental occurrence, but a punishment from God.

Abbot’s arguments support the thesis by claiming that Scott’s way of analyzing the artificial creation of life as a perfect knowledge is viewed from the postmodern point of view. Scott uses the example of Roy and Sebastian who are replicants with normal human feelings, what molds the audience to accept the fact the artificial beings are just like any other normal person. A similar argument is made by Abbot who claims that the onward search for knowledge is highly encouraged by Scott (Abbot 344).

Question 4

From the definition of humanism, Scott’s work is more humanistic because it values the human life and, thus, supports the processes of seeking knowledge in an endeavor to support and conserve this life. Scott presents the idea that people seek the knowledge what makes the creation of the artificial life quite rational. At the same time, free thought is only expressed through the ability of an individual to conduct research freely as suggested by Scott but discouraged by Shelley’s Frankenstein who views it as disastrous.

There is a need for humans to realize that it is important to develop the knowledge as this is the source of successful living in a competitive world. As explained by Slade, human beings have been forced to realize that there is a hierarchy of species and they are not at the top of the apex (Slade, 13). Scott presents the world where human beings appear as the only hope for the survival of others. The definition of humanity calls for a free thought supported by the search for knowledge and the rationality, which is supported by the fact that people seek the knowledge to save the life in this world.

Without knowledge, the human race would probably be extinct as it would be impossible to develop the technology needed to survive. Slade further explains that human beings are made by technology and advance on the same what they create (14). A good example by Scott is his representation of natural animals such as turtles and snakes being extinct because this is bound to happen (Slade, 14). The only way of salvaging this situation is to have the knowledge which will be used to conserve the knowledge or image of such organisms. For this reason, Blade Runner is more humanistic as its approach is to suggest the need for knowledge which ensures the survival of the human race.

Works Cited

Abbot, J. The monster reconsidered: Blade Runner’s Replicant as romantic hero. Extrapolation, 34.4 (1993): 340-351.

Shelley, M. Frankenstein. Toronto: Bantam, 1981. Print.

Slade Joseph. Romanticizing cybernetics in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Literature Film Quarterly, 18.1 (1990): 11-18.

October 20, 2022



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