Texts reflect the changing values and perspectives of their time. Through the different techniques used and the extent to which similar figures and issues are presented in Mary Shelly??™s Frankenstein and Ridley Scotts Blade Runner, the changing values and perspectives of the time can be reflected in the pair of texts. The presentation of creators and creations in the two different contexts are representative of these changing values and perspectives.
The 19th century was a time of moving into industrialization, scientific research and exploration, with a large focus upon the reanimation of lifeless matter. The rise of Galvanism led to many new attempts to reach new grounds in scientific practices often with a creative arrogance that disregarded possible consequences. Mary Shelly comments on the neglection of consequences by presenting a naive creator, Victor, who is representative of the scientific leaders of her time. Shelly uses a biased and often contradictory narrator in order to question the morality of Victor and hence of scientists of her time. Victor claims his work to improve the life of humans, ???if I could bestow animation upon lifeless matter, I might renew life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption.??? Yet immediately contradicts this statement of selflessness with one of greed and glory, ???A new species would bless me as its creator and source.??? Shelly also uses multiple narrators in order to give the audience further confidence in their judgment of Victors morality. The focus on the naivety of scientists is contrasted with the view presented in Ridley Scotts Blade Runner.
In the 20th century, huge leaps in cloning and genetical engineering were taking place with successful attempts at cloning animals and also at modifying species. A famous debate about whether science is removed from social and political forces began between two of the most respected scientists of the early 20th century and it still remains to be resolved. Einstein and Planck argued as to whether scientists should be aware of the possible consequences of scientific development. Scott casts responsibility onto those who will not cast it upon themselves by presenting the world where science has taken over as a dystopia, devoid of natural light and inflicted with constant acid rain. Cloning has been taken to its extremes and the effect of globalization and industrialization exaggerated to their limits in order to comment on the possibilities of our current development. However unlike Shelly??™s perspective, Scott proposes that it is simply a lack of empathy, rather than naivety, which has lead to the dystopian future.
In both texts, the creator is representative of the leaders of the time but as humanity has become desensitized to horror, the creator has become desensitized to the horror of his creation. Victor is portrayed as naive within the creation of his monster, ???Life and Death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world.??? Contrasted with, ???I cannot believe that I am the same creature whose thoughts were once filled with sublime and transcendent visions of the beauty and the majesty of goodness.??? Whereas Victor realizes his mistakes, ???how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge.??? Tyrell does not, ???Commerce is our goal here at Tyrell; more human than human is our motto!???. The contrast between the regret of Victor and the lack of empathy of Tyrell demonstrate the changing values of the time from being that of naive advancements to those of desensitized greed.
The different ways in which the creations are presented also reflect the changing values and perspectives of the time. The perspective towards scientific advancements has changed from possible accidental consequences of horror, to horrific creations for the goal of commerce; this change is represented by the development of the creations throughout each text. Shelly initially represents her Monster sympathetically as being intelligent and sensitive, but his experiences turn him into a dark creature. This accentuates the naively positive intentions of the scientific leaders of the time. In Blade Runner, the opposite occurs as when we first meet the replicants they are cast in the role of the villain, yet as the story progresses we develop empathy for their plight, at times seeming more human than human, ???All he wanted were the same answers any of us want??? This contrast is further accentuated through the qualites humanity possessed by Roy in comparison to the loss of human qualities of the Monster. The replicants are continuously presented as being more human than humans, such as in Roys stoic acceptance of his death ???Maybe in those last moments, he loved life more than he had before. Not just his life, anybody??™s life, my life.??? Scott is once again casting responsibility upon the leaders of his world to claim back the qualities of humanity lost to our creations.
As humanity has become desensitized to horror, the creator has become desensitized to the horror of his creation. As the possibilities of science have become the reality, the fears of Frankenstein become the life of Tyrell. This is how the two texts, Blade Runner and Frankenstein, convey the changing values and perspectives of their time regarding the same key issues and figures in both their worlds.