Mary Shelley’s gothic novel Frankenstein and Ridley Scott’s motion picture Bladerunner (Director’s Cut) both portray several individuals who challenge the established values inbuilt within their own contexts. Both compositions are cautionary tales regarding the creation of life and the nature of humanity. The two texts offer many similar reflections, however, the language form, meaning and significance of each portrayal differs according to context. Analysis of each text’s image of these characters offers the audience insight into the changing values and perspectives embedded in the nearly two hundred years between publications.
The consideration of context is necessary to understand the established values challenged within each text. Frankenstein was composed by Mary Shelley in 1818, in the middle of the Industrial Revolution, a time of technological innovation and chaotic social consequences. Frankenstein includes the values of Romanticism. But Frankenstein serves as a warning against the ‘do-it-yourself’ scientific progress that was taking place around Shelley. Similarly, the context of Bladerunner sets out a background of recognized values which its characters challenge. The years surrounding the making of the film, the later 1970s and early 1980s were years of global expansion in corporate capitalism. There were rapid increases in various technologies, notably the rise of computer and robotic technologies as well as beginnings of genetic engineering and the genome project. Bladerunner explores the consequences of Man overstepping the bounds of his existence and the moral dilemmas that arise because of science and technologies out of control development. Both texts were constructed within contexts that also adhered to Christianity.
Christian religious doctrine was deeply embedded within both 18th Century England and 20th Century America and therefore both contexts involve a well-established principle of a Creator whose ʻplanʼ is past the understanding...
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