Mary Shelley nineteenth century epistolary novel, Frankincense (1818), and Riddled Coot’s late twentieth century post-modern film, Blade Runner (1992), bear striking accelerates when studied as texts In time, as they both aim to warn humanity about attempting to usurp of the role of God in creating life. However, their respective contexts mean that the way in which they present notions about humanity differs. Shelley and Scott have extrapolated their various concerns born from their respective contexts regarding the confusion and anxiety that results when mankind pursues heir knowledge without regard for their responsibilities.
Shelley presents us with humanity’s flaws, which are evident In the way they have neglected what they have created. Scott portrays a futuristic world that has become horrifically debased and inhumane, as mankind has failed to maintain the natural order after overstepping scientific and technological boundaries. Both composers conceptually focus on the parental duties of creators toward their creation and the consequences of abandoning them. Through their different styles and techniques relative to their captive audience, each composer is extremely successful In presenting the changing values and attitudes respective of their eras.
Shelley novel enlightens the reader to the changing values and perspectives of her era following the concept of Galvanism. Shelley didactic approach forms themes of obsession and dangerous knowledge” that exist as Victor attempts to surge beyond accepted human limits and access the secret of life in an attempt to create it. Victor recognizes the power he holds with his knowledge, and considers the dangers, eying, “when found so astonishing a power placed within my hands. I hesitated a long time concerning the manner in which I should employ it”.
This displays Victor’s conscience and his willingness to disregard it, leading to the destruction of his morals and ethics for the utilitarian greater good. The allegory of birth and creation is prominent throughout the novel. Victor succeeds in creating a ‘human’ life form. In doing so, he has taken over the roles of women and God. The nine-month gap between the when the first and last letters were composed, suggests that the novel Itself has undergone the gestation period, which Shelley believes Is necessary for all offspring.
Victors, “workshop of filthy creation”, metaphorically alludes to a ‘womb’, as it is where the creature is given life. Shelley use of allegories about creation enlighten us to how cruel mankind can be when conscience is discarded, thereby raising awareness of our moral accountability when we tamper with nature. Likewise, Scott highlights the consequences that emerge if science and technology are pursed without regard to the consequences for humanity. Instead of drawing on Romantic setting like Shelley, Scott echoes his context in his setting of a world devoid of nature.
From the very outset of the film, Scott aims to create a disappoints world that is dominated by overt materialism, much like in the sass when everything was becoming commodities. This is made evident in the opening scene through the evocative imagery of fiery explosions, to warn audiences against transgressing scientific and technological boundaries. Scott recapitulates this melody portray the foreshadowed world. Like Scott, Shelley utilizes the yellow-eye OTF to depict the contamination of nature.
This accentuates the anxiety that exists within society, as an outcome of mankind’s rampant attempt to commodity the world through technology. Scott applies camera pans of the Tersely Corporation to illustrate its Amman-pyramid structure, alluding to humanity being sacrificed for science. The structure is artificial exemplifying the lack of responsibility of the creative genius in Tersely and exhibits the changing values and perspectives of a society dominated by the “greed is good” mantra. In addition, the examination of the duality of Victor Frankincense and his monster may leave many ambivalent.
Shelley portrays Frankincense and his creation as two sides of a single being, forming a Gothic doppelgänger. Although the monster is physically abhorrent, he speaks eloquently and shows the very human characteristics that Victor lacks. The monster has moments of great intellect and rationality as he asks of Victor for a companion in the Alps, symbolic of the pinnacle of their emotion and closeness to God. Shelley employment of Romantic elements within the creature’s speech as he says, “I swear y the sun, and by the blue sky of heaven and by the fire of love that burns in my heart… Shows that apart from his horrific appearance, the creature is clearly superior to man. Thus, Shelley renders her teaching regarding the harm that results from pursuing ones creative genius, in a world where the value of science over emotion is increasing. Similarly, Scott also compels us to question who the ‘monster’ really is, as he illustrates the consequences of exceeding acceptable limits in the fields of science and technology. Roy Batty, a replicate, is presented as a physically attractive “monster” with Nordic blonde hair and piercing blue eyes.
His creator, Eldon Tersely, has physical defects indicated by his oversized prescription glasses. This is a metaphor for his shortsightedness due to his inability to see the ramifications of unchecked science. It is also symbolic of his lack of wisdom in enslaving the replicates, reinforcing the blurred line between humanity and monstrosity. In contrast, the creature in Frankincense is depicted as the hideous monster rather than the creator. Furthermore, the monster-like characteristics of Tersely are witnessed when Roy meets his “maker”.
Values of existence are exposed as Roy asks Tersely to extend his four-year lifespan, demanding, “l want more life… ” Tersely explains that this would be impossible, ending in a dismissive tone, and offsetting Ray’s anger with obfuscation. Trestle’s insensitivity transforms Roy into an executioner who kisses “the God of bohemianism” before crushing his head, biblically alluding to Judas’ kiss of betrayal of Christ and foreshadows Rosy later Christ-like role when he saves Decker’s life.
Therefore, we are enlightened to the lack of connection between the creator and his creation, illustrating Coot’s plea for humanity to take responsibility for their actions. Thus, Riddled satisfies the criteria in that he reflects his changing values and perspectives respective of his time. Although composed in different ages and contexts, Frankincense and Blade Runner are strikingly similar in content and values. Shelley and Scott aim to create tension between the creative genius and their responsibility through the themes of usurping the role of God and monstrosity versus