Context of Frankenstein And Blade Runner Written and published in 1816-1818, Frankenstein typifies the most important ideas of the Romantic era, among them the primacy of feelings, the dangers of intellect, dismay over the human capacity to corrupt our natural goodness, the agony of the questing, solitary hero, and the awesome power of the sublime. Its Gothic fascination with the dual nature of humans and with the figurative power of dreams anticipates the end of the nineteenth century and the discovery of the unconscious and the dream life..
At nineteen, Mary Godwin was living in the summer of 1816 with the poet Percy Shelley, visiting another famous Romantic poet, Lord Byron, and his doctor at Byron’s Swiss villa when cold, wet weather drove them all indoors. Byron proposed that they entertain themselves by writing, each of them, a ghost story. On an evening when Byron and Shelley had been talking about galvanism and human life, whether an electric current could be passed through tissue to animate it Mary Shelley went to bed and in a half-dream state thought of the idea for Frankenstein.
She awoke from the nightmarish vision of a “pale student of unhallowed arts” terrified by the “yellow, watery . . . eyes” of his creation staring at him to stare herself at the moon outside rising over the Alps. The next morning she wrote the first sentence of chapter five: “It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils. ” With Percy Shelley’s encouragement and in spite of a failed childbirth and the suicide of a half-sister, over the next several months she worked on the story.
It was completed in 1817 and published the following year, the only successful “ghost” story of that evening, perhaps the most widely known ever written. Shelley’s was an age in which heart triumphed over head. Frankenstein’s moral failure is his heedless pursuit to know all that he might about life without taking any responsibility for his acts. His “sin” is not solely in creating the monster, but in abandoning him to orphanhood at his birth. The monster’s unnatural birth is the product of what the Romantic poet Wordsworth called humankind’s “meddling intellect. Childlike in his innocence, the monster wants only to be loved, but he gets love from neither his “father” nor from any other in the human community. Being released in 1982, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner was created when the U. S economy was one of the most powerful in the world. At the time, huge multinationals such as Microsoft began to develop their control over business and globalisation was beginning. IT and computer industries were booming and the desire to capitalize on this prosperity was at an all-time high.
There was also great economic prosperity and opportunity created under the Reagan administration in the 1980s. He, as well as Margaret Thatcher (The United Kingdom’s leader) endorsed a free economy where there was very little government intervention. This created greater inequality in society between the rich corporations and the poor working class. The early 80s was when consumerism, materialism and greed of the rich were rampant. People purposely flaunted their wealth and exploited the environment in a period where social values were largely ignored.
Morals were additionally cast aside as technology filled the void left in human creation. Scott attempts to comment about the dehumanising effects that technology can have on society by exploring the ethical and social issues regarding genetic engineering through the Replicants. Blade Runner’s film noir genre carries the themes and atmosphere of destruction, corruption, disillusionment and underlying evils, and highlights the isolation of humanity caused by economic profiting. The misuse of technology reflects and embodies a juxtaposed view to what lies ahead for humanity.
The Replicants are used to illustrate humanity’s moral bankruptcy as they are created as slaves that cannot outlive humans, despite the knowledge that they are superior. As a result these people are portrayed as lacking human qualities such as spirituality and empathy. Blade Runner explores a world that is driven by technology. Nature and the environment are common elements of context behind the texts. Scott captures the fragility and sadness of the loss humanity has suffered through Zhora’s death, bringing to mind the question of moral justice and what defines us as humans.
In Zhora’s death scene, her violent body language as she desperately tries to save herself from retirement, along with Leon’s mourning over her death, reveals that she is not merely a “skin-job left on the pavement”. The low angle shot of Tyrell’s ziggurat illustrates the majesty and dominance of Tyrell over supreme authority. The film noir elements of perpetual rain, darkness, pollution and smoke, show the consequences of a society detached from nature and happiness, the future which Ridley Scott pictured in the year 2019, which is fast approaching.