Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ and Ridley Scott’s ‘blade runner How has the context of each of the composers affected the representation of their respective worlds an the place of nature in these world? Context is something that should be considered when exploring how composers represent their respective worlds and the role of nature in it, in this essay I will explore techniques used by the composers to convey messages about nature in their texts and how it is subject to the context in which the texts were produced
In Frankenstein a major context of the time was Romanticism, a view that saw nature as a force to be in awe of as it had the power to both heal and destroy. it is obvious that Mary Shelly was heavily influenced by the romantics of her time from her book, when it come to the way that she describes the landscape in her world with great detail and the affect it has on victor “These sublime and magnificent scenes afforded me the greatest consolation that I was capable of receiving” (referring to the natural environment around him, the mountains. This context is different from blade runner as in the 1980’s was the first time the theory of global warming arose also a incident with a large oil leak played major roles in the general perspective of nature by society being shifted to the point where nature was viewed as threatened and that is need to be taken care of or it will be lost to us.
Fears of what could happened are shown in Ridley Scott’s world of blade runner as it shows a world that is dark nearly 24/7 presumably caused by pollution, this world is also has a void of everything nature, there are no plant and the few animals that a seen through are all replicate animals or manufactured animals
Another relative context of Frankenstein has to do with technological advancement of the time in particular galvanism “He entered on the explanation of a theory which he had formed on the subject of electricity and galvanism”(after a tree had exploded due to lightening strike) it is obvious that mary shelly is refering to the theory of galvanism as what nable victor to give life to the creature which he later regrets doing, which conveys social attitudes of the time as these advancements were seen by many as bad because not only were people lossing jobs due the the industrial revolution but the advancement in science tried to retired belief in God as a belief that there was no supernatural and everything had a tangable explanation. And hence nature was something that could be controlled and utilized, this view is what spurred victor on and lead him to such misery and doom
This is related to blade runner, however the technological context differed greatly as the advancements in the 1980’s were things such as the development of the new better computers, transport and even food as they were beginning to be genetically modified showed a significant change as society was becoming less reliant on the natural. This is taken to the extreme in blade runner as society function with a extreme lack of nature in fact as stated earlier the only animals in the film are replicates.
The strongest remaining form of nature in the film is ironically within the replicants as the idea of ‘survival of the fittest’ and ‘natural selection’ come into play with Roy Batty a super human replicant following human instint of survival to over come many odds in order to get to earth and stay alive on earth and at the end of the film when he is about to expire he shows mercy to Deckard the man who has been hunting him for the entire film, this shows that humanity is more natural to Roy than it is to the rest of society, and how society has lost it’s naturally sense of humanity along with everything else natural.
This is related to technological advancements as what drives the developments is the money to be made in large corporations which as shown in the film have developed a consumer society with a extreme level of moral decay as morals are not as important as scrilla Mary Shelly was also obviously influenced by Gothicism, a form writing that heavily involves the supernatural, darkness, gloom and violence, use of this in ‘Frankenstein’ is very evident when Victor is labouring to create his creature “forced to spend days and nights in vaults and charnel-houses” “I saw how the worm inherited the wonders of the eye and brain. “the moon gazed on my midnight labours…who shall conceive the horrors of my secret toil as I dabbled among the unhallowed damps of the grave or tortured the living animal to animate the lifeless clay? ” Gothicism is used in these scenes as Mary Selly is using it to symbolise that victor’s actions go against nature and combining this with a romantic view that nature has the power to destroy the consequences of Victor’s actions lead him to his doom
Gothicism in ‘Frankenstein’ directly relate to the film technique of film noir in ‘Blade Runner’ which was a film technique of the time that came from the dark style of film used in many early crime shows, it is used as a statement of the society in the “Blade Runner” world, of how it has gone against nature of how they have ignored morals, put aside ethics and put greed front and centre, not only is this against nature but in doing so they have eliminated nearly all that is natural on earth
In conclusion it is very evident that the context of the two composers have heavily influenced the way nature is represented in their respective texts, nature seen as a mighty force that can do good or evil to its subjects in ‘Frankenstein’ and something that has been abused and almost entirely lost in ‘Blade Runner’ caused by corporations and a consumer society.