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Module A Comparative study of texts: Blade Runner and Frankenstein
Transcript of Module A Comparative study of texts: Blade Runner and Frankenstein
Devolution Of Man Value 3: Regression in Humanity Value 4:
Identity Value 2)
Hubris of Man This unit requires students to explore texts in relation to context.
This includes study and use of the language of texts, consideration of purposes and audiences and analysis of context, values and attitudes conveyed through a range of texts.
Students examine ways in which social, cultural and historical context influence aspects of texts or the ways in which changes in context lead to changed values being reflected in texts. or The Modern Prometheus (1818) By Mary Shelley Frankenstein Frankenstein is a novel elucidated in an epistolary form, and recollected through various perspectives. In a series of letters, Robert Walton, the captain of a ship bound for the North Pole, recounts to his sister back in England in the progress of his dangerous mission. In the ship, Walton encounters Doctor Frankenstein, who then retells his experiences of creating the monster and the horrors he experienced in the aftermath of his tampering with scientific progress.
The main concern presented by the text is the harmful effect of ceaseless technological progress to the virtue of humanity. The fear that technology will overtake human morality is evident in Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”, especially since it is set in a context where galvanism was marking the start of a world, which is more technologically advanced. Furthermore, Victor’s attempt to recreate life through means other than sexual reproduction illustrates humanity’s unfitness for taking on the role of God. (1982) by Ridley Scott Blade Runner In 2019, humans have genetically engineered Replicants, which are essentially humans who are designed for labour and entertainment purposes. They are illegal on earth, and if they make it to our planet they are to be hunted down and “retired”.Rick Deckard is a blade runner, or a hunter of replicants. A group of replicants escape their off world colony, making it to Los Angeles to seek out a way to extend their life span. Replicants have a built in 4 year life span, and this group is approaching the end. Although Deckard hunts them to the end, the replicants end up teaching the detached Blade Runner what it really means to be human. The Balance Between Humanity and Science Concept 1:
Progression Of Science Value 1) Circumvention Of The Natural Order Blade Runner Frankenstein Analysis Example Technique Analysis Example Technique Blade Runner Link Frankenstein Analysis Example Technique Analysis Example Technique Link The evolution of Frankenstein and Tyrell are parallels. Tyrell's abandonment of his creations is analogous to Victor's neglect.Both men have no concern of the ethical implication of prying into morality. Roy and the monster restore the balance of nature when they accept the responsibility of their creators and sacrifice themselves with sincere nobility, a trait once seen in man. Despite this parallel there is a dichotomy between the two worlds. With ‘Frankenstein’ there is still a hope for humanity with Walton as he turns his back on the pursuit of knowledge for life as he heeds the warnings of Frankenstein, “Seek happiness in tranquility and avoid ambition, even if it be only the apparently innocent one distinguishing yourself in science and discoveries.” This is a method in which Shelley warns society through an authorial voice and a didactic tone the dangers that are posed with the advancement of science. However in 'Blade Runner' we see only despair and inevitable death through Scott’s rhetorical examination of the boundless world of the Blade Runner, “It's too bad she won't live. But then again, who does?” It is a world beyond hope. Tyrell creates artificial Replicants who are more powerful than humans and in doing so thrusts himself into the place of a deity. In this place of authority and power,which he gains through the circumvention of the natural order,Tyrell expects to be worshipped as a God. Yet he does not take full responsibility for the repercussions of his creations, instead he seeks to renounce these responsibilities as demonstrated when he rejects Roy Batti's demands for more life. Roy Batti: "I want more life fucker."
Tyrell: "Death; ah, well that's a little out of my jurisdiction." Demanding Diction A subversion of Michelangelo's 'The creation of Adam' creates an analogy between Victor and God, whereby the monster yearns for acceptance.
In ‘Frankenstein’ there is the recurring metaphor that associates the monster to Adam, the first creation of God. However there is clear difference in this analogy, the monster states,“Adam had come forth from the hands of God a perfect creature, happy, and prosperous, guarded by, the especial care of his creator; but I was wretched, helpless, and alone.”
Michelangelo’s iconic artwork, ‘The Creation of Adam,’ is an image in which we see God reaching out to Adam. However in the case of the monster we see this analogy subverted as the monster is shunned by Frankenstein’s hubristic neglect. We are left to ponder who must take on these abdicated responsibilities? Whose responsibility is it to maintain the status quo? Monster: “Adam had come forth from the hands of God a perfect creature, happy, and prosperous, guarded by, the especial care of his creator; but I was wretched, helpless, and alone.” Subversion/Allusion
Recurring Metaphor In Blade Runner, instead of individual harmartia (fatal flaw leading to downfall), this downfall is seen through society as a whole. Society has succumbed to man’s hubris, and has no ethical boundaries. Using the recurring motif of the eye Scott alludes to King Lear with the gouging of Tyrell's eyes in comparison to Gloucester. Gloucester's harmartia of being blind to the truth mirrors the flawed society of the Blade Runner and its inability to distinguish the boundaries. Scott illustrates the flawed society through Roy as well as questioning the irreversible actions that have been committed. Rhetorical question
Allusion: There is an allusion to King Lear with the gouging of Tyrell's eyes and Gloucester's eye. Gloucester's hamartia of being blind to the truth mirrors the flawed society of the Blade Runner and its inability to discern the boundaries. The hubris of man has blinded him of where the boundaries lie and when he does realise that he has crossed it he relinquishes all sense of responsibility for his actions. Death of the deified Tyrell serves as Scott's warning of scientific hubris. King Lear: A man may see how this world goes with no eyes. Look with thine ears: see how yond justice rails upon yond simple thief. Hark, in thine ear: change places; and, handy-dandy, which is the justice, which is the thief? Frankenstein as mentioned previously, his fatal flaw was his arrogance in immediately rejecting the monster for what he was and not what he could become, “Oh, Frankenstein, be not equitable to every other and trample upon me alone, to whom thy justice, and even thy clemency and affection, is most due. Remember, that I am thy creature; I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel.” This draws upon an intertextual parallel to Coleridge's 'Ancient Mariner'. The Ancient Mariner is a man who in a single instance of arrogance kills an albatross blessed by the Gods. He is damned to wander the Earth recounting his grim tale. This is much comparable to Frankenstein who in a single instance of disgust and horror condemns the monster to perpetual solitude. In doing so this illustrates the path the he has chosen in turning his back to his creation and thus renouncing all responsibility. "Doth walk in fear and dread, and, having once turned around, walks on, and turns no more his head; because he knows a frightful friend doth close behind him tread."
Frankenstein attempts to discourage Walton from making the same mistakes that he did in letting his scientific passions consume him. This is a method in which Shelley is able to warn society through an authorial voice and a didactic tone the dangers that are posed with science.Frankenstein's harmatia (fatal flaw) is letting his hubris cause him to reject the monster. Monster: “Oh, Frankenstein, be not equitable to every other and trample upon me alone, to whom thy justice, and even thy clemency and affection, is most due. Remember, that I am thy creature; I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel.”
Ancient Mariner: "Doth walk in fear and dread, and, having once turned around, walks on, and turns no more his head; because he knows a frightful friend doth close behind him tread"
Frankenstein: “The icy wall of the glacier overhung me; a few shattered pines were scattered around; and the solemn silence of this glorious presence-chamber of imperial Nature was broken only by the brawling waves.” Intertextuality to Coleridge's 'Ancient Mariner' parallels the situation that Frankenstein finds himself in and illustrates the path the he has chosen in walking away from his creation and thus renouncing all responsibility. The Ancient Mariner who in a single instance of arrogance kills the albatross. The two distinctive contexts accentuate each other as ‘Frankenstein’ portrays the dawn of science and is compounded by ‘Blade runner’, in illustrating the dusk of science. Scott portrays a great sense of verisimilitude in the decrepit world of the blade runner as we see it has been consumed by the hubris of man. The artificial metropolis is contrasted against the vivid imagery of sublime nature found in Frankenstein, “The icy wall of the glacier overhung me; a few shattered pines were scattered around; and the solemn silence of this glorious presence-chamber of imperial Nature was broken only by the brawling waves.” Blade Runner Link Frankenstein Analysis Example Technique Analysis Example Technique Roy questions Deckard, and the audience of our decaying human condition.Scott expresses concern of the role of women in society and how they are now objectified. Man ignores his responsibilities as a method of escaping our decaying humanity - all those that are not fit to pass the medical are left behind. Science has provided a means for freedom for some but has created a world of punishment, of desolation and darkness. In doing so we have lost all hope of ethical compassion.
This notion of the objectification of women is also present within ‘Blade Runner’, and is represented by the variety of replicant models, "The fourth skin-job is Pris, a basic pleasure model." The derogatory diction used demonstrates the debasement of women in society to basically animals. However Scott does not merely target the role of women when bringing in the context of the 1980's. He incorporates issues such as cloning, DNA and biotechnology overstepping the ethical boundaries of creating life but also the large corporations with commercialisation and gaining economic advantage at the cost of humanity. J.F Sebastian represents the commodification of humanity due to patriarchal isolation and demonstrates the power of technology along with the lack of social boundaries, "I make friends." Once again the notion of man escaping his responsibilities presents itself. In the world of the Blade runner Earth is a cesspit for all those that are not fit enough to pass the medical, such as J.F, "A new life awaits you in the Off-World colonies. The chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!" Once again man is ignoring his responsibilities, with science providing a means for freedom for some while creating a world of punishment and desolation for others. Rhetorical Question
Allusion to Christ - Scott's way of questioning mans actions and how he has delved into the issues of morality. Contrast in the ability to both create life and 'retire' it, leads us to questions the ethics involved. Roy: "Proud of yourself, little man?"
PA: "A new life awaits you in the Off-World colonies. The chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!"
Rachael: "Have you ever retired a human by mistake?"
J.F.Sebastion: "I make friends."
"The fourth skin-job is Pris, a basic pleasure model." The consequence of our naivety is the decay of our humanity. A loss of what it truly means to be human. We have forced a change in women’s roles, making them redundant by taking them out of the equation of procreation. Frankenstein demonstrates the objectification of women through his beloved Elizabeth, “I looked upon Elizabeth as mine - mine to protect, love and cherish. All praises bestowed on her I received as made to a possession of my own.” The caesura accompanied by the first person demonstrates Frankenstein’s judgement on the position of women and how they’re role is meant to be merely tools to satisfy the pompous nature of man. Although this way of thinking was common during this period, women still played an integral role in society. They were key in the process of procreation, however the creation of monster, “I succeeded in discovering the cause of generation and life; nay, more, I became myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter,” degraded the role of women such as that they were now superfluous in procreation. Monster: "You must create a female for me, with whom I can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for my being. This you alone can do; and I demand it of you as a right which you must not refuse to concede."
Frankenstein: “I succeeded in discovering the cause of generation and life; nay, more, I became myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter,”
Frankenstein: “I looked upon Elizabeth as mine - mine to protect, love and cherish. All praises bestowed on her I received as made to a possession of my own.” Caesura/ 1st person Both texts portray the devolution of man in regards to humanity. They both express concerns of the role of women in society. With these creations women have been taken out of the equation for procreation and as such there role in this process has become redundant. In both texts that are objectified and are used in the servitude of their male counterpars. Blade Runner Link Frankenstein Analysis Example Technique Analysis Example Technique Unlike the monster the replicants do not hold their own identity and instead are implanted with fabricated memories, "They're implants. Those aren't your memories; they're somebody else's. They're Tyrell's niece's." This lack of identity in the world of the blade runner is related to the cold and emotionless society that exists. Each individual is unable to determine their own true identity and this is demonstrated through Deckard, who is conflicted with the conundrum of whether or not he is a replicant. This conflict is represented through the cucoloris on the rooftop scene. As Roy speaks his final words we are unable to determine if Deckard is crying or whether they are merely drops of rain, "All those ... moments will be lost in time, like tears...in rain. Time to die." Once again the recurring motif of the eye suggests the inability to differentiate between the real and the artificial. Cucoloris: Inability to discern the artificial from the real. Deckard: "They're implants. Those aren't your memories, they're somebody else's. They're Tyrell's niece's."
Roy Batti: "All those ... moments will be lost in time, like tears...in rain. Time to die." Through this devolution of man, society has devalued humanity and as a result this has created individuals who present debased values and a lack of benevolence.
In observing the monster we recognise that its values and qualities are shaped by its interaction with society. As the monster is continually rejected and shunned we behold the birth of the true monster, "I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend." Thus viewing this through an allegorical interpretation we arouse John Lock's philosophy of ‘Tabula Rasa’ and the notion of empiricism, which basically represents that we start off as a blank slate and that we are shaped by our interaction with society. Hence we can conclude that the monster as an individual is merely and extension of the human condition, of man’s hubris, “But now crime has degraded me beneath the meanest animal. When I run over the frightful catalogue of my sins, I cannot believe that I am the same creature whose thoughts were once filled with sublime and transcendent visions of the beauty and majesty of goodness.” Monster: "I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend."
Monster: “But now crime has degraded me beneath the meanest animal. No guilt, mischief, no malignity, no misery, can be found comparable to mine. When I run over the frightful catalogue of my sins, I cannot believe that I am the same creature whose thoughts were once filled with sublime and transcendent visions of the beauty and majesty of goodness. But it is even so the fallen angel becomes a malignant devil. Yet even the enemy of God and man had friends and associates in his desolation; I am alone.” Viewing this through an allegorical interpretation we arouse Lock's theories of 'Tabula Rasa' and the notion of Empiricism. Both texts aim to make a commentary on the affects of science on the individual and how this debasement of humanity has affected the fundamental identity of the individual.
Through this devolution of man, society has devalued in its humanity and as a result this has created individuals who present debased values and a lack of benevolence. The decay of humanity on a social scale is in turn affecting the identity of the individual, as one is defined by their environment With the progression of science and technology, mankind has gone through a devolutionary process with regards to our humanity Orientalism Orientalism In Blade Runner Orientalism is "a manner of regularized (or Orientalized) writing, vision, and study, dominated by imperatives, perspectives, and ideological biases ostensibly suited to the Orient."
The Oriental is the person represented by such thinking. The man is depicted as feminine, weak, yet strangely dangerous because poses a threat to white, Western women. The woman is both eager to be dominated and strikingly exotic. The Oriental is a single image, a sweeping generalization, a stereotype that crosses countless cultural and national boundaries.
Latent Orientalism is the unconscious, untouchable certainty about what the Orient is. Its basic content is static and unanimous. The Orient is seen as separate, eccentric, backward, silently different, sensual, and passive. It has a tendency towards despotism and away from progress. It displays feminine penetrability and supine malleability. Its progress and value are judged in terms of, and in comparison to, the West, so it is always the Other, the conquerable, and the inferior.
Manifest Orientalism is what is spoken and acted upon. It includes information and changes in knowledge about the Orient as well as policy decisions founded in Orientalist thinking. It is the expression in words and actions of Latent Orientalism.
Edward Said argues that Orientalism can be found in current Western depictions of "Arab" cultures. The depictions of "the Arab" as irrational, menacing, untrustworthy, anti-Western, dishonest, and--perhaps most importantly--prototypical, are ideas into which Orientalist scholarship has evolved. These notions are trusted as foundations for both ideologies and policies developed by the Occident. The salient imagery of Asian culture overrunning all throughout the film, could be contrasted with the Westernized civilisation. This contrast between the West and the Orient is a running motif throughout the film. While the people existing within the Oriental part of the world suffer from pollution, overcrowding, and inability to receive natural light, Tyrell’s pyramid is devoid of any of these inconveniencies.
The Orient is a mirror image of what is inferior and alien ("Other") to the West. This fact again is represented in Blade Runner where the lower class people are evidently inferior and alien. The contrast between the dark, dreary, claustrophobic space in the lower levels and the spacious interior of Tyrell’s pyramid emphasise the inferiority associated with the Orients.
Latent Orientalism is heavily evident in the film wherein the Orient is seen as separate, eccentric, backward, silently different, sensual, and passive. The hierarchy of class and the capitalistic society present in the film highlights the perceived eccentricity and foreignness of the Orient, and applying the Latent Orientalism into Manifest Orientalism. Similarly, Ridley Scott depicts a world which is foreign to the viewer an eccentric vision of a dark future.
Edward Said mentions that Orientalism is “a sign of European-Atlantic power over the Orient [rather than] a veridical discourse about the Orient.” By instilling the images of a frightful racial dystopia, wherein L.A. is represented as being an overpopulated, multi-racial, multi-lingual city. The different races, which crowd the overpopulated streets, create an amalgam of cultures, expanding upon the paranoia of the Western world of being dominated by the Orientals. However, the people in the streets never ascend beyond the streets establishing the Western world as being the superior power, the conqueror. Man's inability to see the boundaries and his lack of responsibility for his actions, due to hubris, represents the sense of devolution within humanity The circumvention of the natural order is brought about by the hubris of mankind. It is the composers warning of possible realities that could eventuate when boundaries are not set Orientalism In Frankenstein Orientalism in its most simplistic form is the sense of superiority over those who are different, the ‘others’. This is evidently seen in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein through the disdain displayed towards the monster due to his “hideous” appearance. The monster is immediately rejected and shunned as he is seen as physically and biologically inferior to the townsfolk. Despite the monster’s innate good will and kind intentions, he is condemned and attacked purely on his hideous exterior. Frankenstein's monster is also depicted as being rather emotional and incredibly feminine in his mannerisms.These characteristics could be compared to the characteristics used to describe the Orientals.