The impacting context on a text when it is created is strongly influenced by societal values, as well as the form and the features of the text itself. Mary Shelley's Gothic novel “Frankenstein”, published in 1818, and Ridley Scott's post-modernistic transformation, “Blade Runner - The Directors Cut” released in 1992, both contain similar themes and values, while reflecting very different contextual influences of the early 19th and late 20th Century.
Shelley's “Frankenstein” was primarily a moral critique of science and technological advancements, forewarning of the grim, unnatural world that could possibly become a reality. Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist has an obsessive desire to ...view middle of the document...
Deckard is a Blade Runner, hired to ‘retire’ Replicants found outside their stations. Roy Batty is the leader of a group of rebel Replicants, who escaped an off world colony and made it back to Earth to try and find the answer for more life, as a Replicants lifespan was only a mere four years. This created a foreboding symbolic reflection of great social and political flux during the 1980’s. Consumerism and strongly capitalistic policies of ‘greed is good’ were privileged within the society at the time. This is represented by the scale of the Tyrell Corporation, a monolithic building overshadowing the insignificant humans below. It showcases how big business dominates the new world, which results in the semblance of humanity who are left on the streets. From the opening scene, the high angle camera shots show fiery pipes spewing flames and pollution into the sky, highlighting the catastrophic effects that scientific advancement has had on humanity.
The respective settings highlight the ideas and values of each text, “Frankenstein” encapsulating scenes of the beauty of nature, “serene sky…verdant fields”, reflecting the Romantic ideals influencing Shelley at the time. While “Blade Runner” however, contains violent lightening, persistent rain and explosions of flames to further highlight the degradation of nature and how the same concerns about the world have evolved into a more stark and terrifying future.
Both texts contain warnings and predictions of the future of our society and our world if scientific endeavors and advancements are left unchecked, despite being influenced by very different contexts. The forms of each text also play a vital role in how the responder interprets the values represented and what effect the warnings have.
As a novel, “Frankenstein” is an example of the popularity of literary entertainment within the 19th Century, where intelligence and free-thinking were encouraged before the onset of technological advancement. Descriptive language is essential to setting a scene, and establishes a wide variety of interpretations. The epistolary narrative structure of Walton, Frankenstein and the Monster creates a more personal and emotional perspective, which heightens responder sympathy and empathy. The concentric narrative interdependency further involves the responder, positioning the perspective differently throughout each story. The film medium as mass entertainment became more popular to contemporary responders, with directorial intrusion positioning every detail as part of the mise-en-scene for a graphically driven world. The layered effect of the film signifies a deeper meaning to the text, as well as the surface action within the plot. Cinematic style is a major concern for the film medium, using technological innovations in “Blade Runner” to showcase visual proof of man’s ability to mirror God and imitate the natural world, an important thematic concern within the text.
The theme of ‘playing God’ is one encapsulated...