The Inhumane Acts of Playing God in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner: Meaning of Humanity

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Power at its worst is the defamation of one’s humanity. playing god can be portrayed as been inhumane, but playing with the ability to understand life, meaning and control of their humanity is disgusting.

“Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein & Ridley Scott’s Bladerunner”

What do you consider the meaning of humanity? Well for instance, a little inhumanity does not describe you as being heartless, rather, it’s a way of expressing yourself of having a heart that can be hurt and incensed. Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” and Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” can be depicted as both great examples that show the representations and concepts of humanity. Both explore an ideal dilemma occurring wihin the 21st century of ethical tension amongst the fear of humanities abuse with the use of technology and knowledge all because of their intrinsic flaws of greediness, ambition and the power to control the extent of life.

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Mary Shelley aims to demonstrate the truth of real principle’s that humans possess and bring some innovative concepts regarding humanity. Shelly uses strong themes throughout her book as she was determined to underline the use of knowledge being used in unspeakable ways and the control of the powerless and uneducated. Both, Frankenstein and bladerunner show an abundant amount of the concepts of humanity as both writers strived to show how humans can sometimes defy the natural and humane acts of god by demanding the creation of new life.

Shelley does address these concerns in her novel but how much knowledge can a man possibly acquire without jeopardizing himself and others around him? Frankensteins’ catastrophic concequences of trying to ‘play god’ can be acknowledged as “His limbs were nearly frozen, and his body dreadfully emaciated by fatigue and suffering.” This decription of him definitely shows the magnitude of how knowledge can be catstrophic to a person’s humanity.

Victor Frankenstein has this underlining quest for power and in the process creates life. However, he soon comes to realise, immediately regretting the Daemon he has formed. Frankenstein’s immediate views on his “monster” was to abandon it entirely as he portrayed it to be a “vile insect” and couldn’t bear to stand infront of his creation. As the monster was abandoned, he developed hateful feelings towards Frankenstein as he was unable to experience the life of a human and experience love. The creature’s hatred lead to him eventually killing everyone Frankenstein loves to show him what its like to be ripped apart from humanity.

Similar to Tyrells creation on the replicants, he also ended up being killed by his own life’s work. The logical message behind these deaths is that playing with life and power as if you were “god” has its consequences and can throw the stability of the natural cycle of life and death off balance.

“Confrontation of Frankenstein and his monster”

As Frankenstein cut humanity and his regular life away due to being disgusted with his creation, the “monster” begins his new life of understanding the world and developing humane abilities. He is unable speak, read or understand the principles of interaction with other humans. Throughout his travels he picks up the basics of the language by observing the cottage people and studies their humane characteristics. With the acquisition of language, it completely changes the monster from a monstrosity into a sympathetic and more humane like figure. Frankenstein is considered being less human in the eyes of his creation and more of a monster than himself by saying “it is true, we shall be monsters, cut off from all the world: but on that account we shall be more attached to one another”. Understanding that both have different appearances to the real world, but Frankenstein can be portrayed as a monster as he cuts himself off from the real world and centres his life on killing his creation. This expresses his overall humanity as he is more attached to the monster than his own family as they were murdered, and the monster sees how immoral Frankenstein is as he tries to kill him the “creation of life”.

The correlation with the creature learning language and communication transforms him from this monster into a more humane figure. What Shelley is trying to argue is that an action or appearance doesn’t determine an individual but verbal communication can truly make an understanding of what it is to essentially be human.

“Derek & Roy’s confrontation on humanity and life”

Now, with blade runner, it can be described as one of the most fascinating philosophical aspects of the limits of what it means to be human. With these aspects it is complicated to determine the humanity of each character’s relationships making a questionable indication of who’s more human? The understanding of monstrosity in Blade Runner is unquestionably more ambiguous. An essential character to the film Roy Batty, is labelled as a “replicant of humanity” but truly, he is the perfect depiction of a “human” as he is the symbol of a man who challenges the norm, who charts his own path and designs his own principles of humanity. Monstrosity isn’t only present with the replicants as its more contemporary with the human characters. For example, the sense of darkness and emotionlessness with Deckard and his associates as they describe the occupation of killing the replicants as “retiring”. The explanation for not saying “kill” would be the gratification of giving the replicants some semblance of autonomy or really the status of a living being and to acknowledge their humanity.

Tyrell created his replicants with the control of their life spans of four years to restrict the sentiments of artificial intelligence. Tyrell, just like Frankenstein are complicit in creating new life for which they don’t have the power to control. Tyrells shared façade of hubris is evident with the refusal to grant the sympathy for Roys request “I want more life, father” can be interpreted to why he murdered his creator. The viewer is forced to question their opinions about the replicants humanity as Roy saves Deckard throughout his final moments; while Deckard was currently trying to kill him, Roy describes his short-lived life and all that will be lost just “like tears in the rain”.

“all those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain”

The god like complex is conspicuous as it was a man’s desire to create new life. The creation of the monster and replicants both were wanting the acceptation of humankind and to express themselves as a humane soul but were cast away as “monsters” due to the lack of emotions and understanding of humanity. It is clear that human identity is formed by the aspects of past experiences and the emotions that others elicit in us. Although Scott and Shelley’s texts were set in different times and the general sceneries, they are questioning the role of creator/god and a man’s right to portray this role. The concept of humanity is explicitly portrayed throughtout Frankenstein and the bladerunner and define what it is to be a human. These societies both represent separate expanses of time but are they really so dissimilar?


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