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Scientific Progression in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and the Film, Blade Runner

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Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” is an early 19th century cautionary tale examining the dark, self-destructive side of human reality and human soul. It is written in the Romantic era where society greatly valued scientific and technological advancement. Throughout the novel, Shelley expresses her concerns of extreme danger when man transgresses science and all ethical values are disregarded. The implications of debatable experimentation and thriving ambition could evoke on humanity are explored in the novel. Likewise, “Blade Runner”, a sci-fi film directed by Ridley Scott in 1982 is a futuristic representation of Los Angeles in 2019. The film reflects its key widespread fears of its time, particularly the augmentation of globalization, commercialism and consumerism. The film depicts a post-apocalyptic hell where bureaucracy and scientific endeavoring predominate in an industrial world of artifice and endless urban squalor.
“Frankenstein”, otherwise known as the “Modern Prometheus” explores the prominent theme of scientific progression and the transgression of science threatening religion in the post-Augustan age where society valued the power of the imagination and the spirit. Allusions to Coleridge works such as “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” act as an effective tool to re-iterate many Romantic values. Also, Shelley alludes to Galvani’s experimentations in the late 18th century to mirror that of Victor’s “infused spark of being” into a “monster of hideous proportions”. Shelley utilizes a framing device to parallel the expeditions of Walton to the trials of Victor through the use of Walton’s opening letters. Both men share an ambitious desire to achieve brilliance and fame such as to “discover the power of the needle…tread a la...


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...rayed as physically and mentally superior to humans. Paradoxically, most of the emotion displayed in the film is shown from the replicants, in particular when Roy experiences an epiphany “tears in rain” just before his expiration. This illustrates the replicants are in fact a manifestation of mankind in its purest form and the detrimental effects of the vices and follies of humanity.
In conclusion, both Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” and Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” are cautionary tales despite being written in different time periods. The central themes of scientific progression, science vs. religion and marginalization is explored within both texts, tied by various techniques to represent each text as a product of its time shaped by contextual values. Moderation within humanity is necessary to limit mankind’s transgression of knowledge and technological advances.


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