In what ways have the texts you have studied distinctly examined the human condition in their relative contexts?
Topic: BR and Frank explore themes of hubris, science playing God, and the question of humanity. Through the contexts of the Romantic Gothic period, and the Dystopia of the BR future, each text examines the human conditions of what defines who we are.
Text 1 – BR
The question of humanity is the first and foremost theme of the movie Blade Runner and a model question asked in contemporary fiction. In the film, humanity is portrayed as mechanical and corrupt. They live in artificial domes in a world destroyed by pollution. Juxtaposed against the humans are the replicants who seemed to be full of emotional intelligence. A good example of this is when Holden is questioning Leon. In this scene edited close ups of their faces show Holden to be mechanical, and indeed his voice has a computerised cast to it, while Leon is terrified and emotional. The irony of course, is that Leon is not human, while Holden is. Furthermore the question of humanity is examined by disconnection with the natural world. This incontinuity of humanity and nature is reflect by the opening scenes of long panning and far shots into the (City). These shots depict a bleak, monotone series of buildings, the hellish bellowing of fire, and artificial lights backed by a mechanical music track. This display of the city allows the responder to feel how humanity has become components of the economic machine that own the city. Here the text explores the irony that humans have become indifferent to their own humanity, while the replicants who lack it, are filled with human intensity.
The Romantics asked the same question of humanity and its connection with nature. Throughout Frankenstein series of ironic juxtapositions express the human condition of the construct as a human monstrosity, while portraying Victor as a monstrous human. Victor introduces his creation as “The being, my own vampire… my spirit let loose.” This thematic religious portrayal of the monster as “the fiend” and “daemon” clearly foreshadows the tragedy to come. Yet the monster creates more sympathy from his insightful dialogues than the malicious repetition of Victor’s vengeful oath. He states “I falsely hope to meet with beings who… would love me for the excellent qualities…pardoning my outward form.” It ironically describes Victor as “An unfeeling heartless creator.” The characterisation of the Monster is illustrated as a gentle soul formed by the cruel prejudice of unthinking society to exist as evil and violent. On the other hand the human Victor begins his life as a holistic pursuit of scientific knowledge but becomes the very monster he creates. We see Victor “gnash his teeth… eyes become inflamed.” Victor becomes the monster feared by Romantic society as someone wholly embraced by the scientific imperialism and industrialism.
Playing God / Hubris
The creation of Replicants is a parallel of the creation of Frankinstein by Victor, equally reflection the advent of science over traditional values and morals. This is furthermore an appropriation from the punishment of Prometheus for stealing fire fro the Gods. In the film Tyrell is portrayed as a God like being who has total domain over his city. Tyrell as a god like figure is at first portrayed by shots of the city bathed in fire, the long pan eventually zooming into a gigantic ziggurat like building that is symbolic of a temple. Tyrell himself is shown dressed in pristine white, with a cool intellectualism, reflecting the idealism of capitalist society’s executives. The film also uses memorable dialogue anecdotes to portray Tyrell as a man consumed by his own hubris, and indeed he pays for his transgression with his life. He notes, “You are my greatest creation…” Showing Roy that he has never regarded him as a human but rather as an object or possession. “The brightest light also burns the shortest.” He adds, using the anecdote to show his power and influence over life and death as a God like being. Here again science is linked to Godhood, reflecting the fears of the fear of the eighties that scientific imperialism would take over the world.
Frank – God / Hubris
Frankenstein also explores a smiliar creator who betrays the ethos of his society and treads on a path of hubris. Victor’s utter and blind focus in trying to “penetrate the secrets of nature’ is seen in his tri-colon statement of “One thought, One Conception, and One Purpose.” In his hubris Victor had forsaken the values that his society had placed faith in. Rather than the appreciation of nature as per the Romantic period, he says “I have pursued nature to her hiding place.” In a rejection of the religious beliefs of the time, Victor rhetorically announces “ I seem to have lost all soul and sensation but for this one pursuit.” This biblical allusion to the relationship of God, Man, and Holy spirit is further implicated when he reflects “I felt what the duties of a creator towards his creature were.” This creates an allegorical contrast between God’s relationship with man and Victor’s relationship with his creature. Indeed the monster reflects this notion of victor, as “You are my father who had given me life.” The pensive and sombre atmosphere by their father son dialogues generates sympathy for both the sinful creator and the innocent monster. However as the theme explores the penalty for transgressing God’s domain “the Cup of Life was poisoned forever.” The lesson in Victor’s trials is the Romantic concern of science trespassing God’s domain and the punishment that follows.