To what extent has your comparative study of Frankenstein and Blade Runner developed your understanding of the personal struggles experienced by individuals? Both Frankenstein and Blade Runner were created at times of great innovation and technological advancement. Although the texts have different and are separated by 200 years, they both share a concern to explore this issue and come to very similar conclusions. Both texts claim that to be truly human is to manifest qualities of self awareness and comparison for others.
Both texts use the situation of the creation of another to explore the essential qualities embedded in our humanity. In Frankenstein, Shelley’s creature is lacking in a sense of parent child relationships. He narrates, “I am only malicious because I am miserable”. If he was nurtured at a young age he would have had morals. Victor didn’t give his creation the same childhood he had although Frankenstein does get the companion he always wished for as the two become as close as a parent and child.
In Blade Runner, Tyrell refuses the parental role making the replicants emotionally infantile. In both texts there is only a father figure and also, both of the creations in the two texts have a desire to be human. Personal struggles are often caused by human societal impact. The story of Frankenstein is a prime example of how a person, or in this case a creature, can struggle to construct their own personal identity. Victor Frankenstein is horrified at the body of the now full of life Monster he has created. Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created, I rushed out of the room, and continued a long time traversing my bed-chamber, unable to compose my mind to sleep”. From the second the monster took his first breath of life, his creator took flight from him, never to return and play the mentor role that is so important early on in a new life. With no one in the Monster’s life to teach him basic skills like speech, communication or knowledge of any sort, the Monster is left entirely on his own with no influences to form a sense of self.
Another factor in the Monster’s initial lack of identity is the fact that he is made of body parts from various deceased people. Victor Frankenstein “dabbled among the unhallowed damps of the grave”, to find the necessary components to create life. Creating a sense of self is very hard for the Monster when he can’t even identify who or where his various body parts came from. The Monster is not the only individual who struggles with sense of self. Victor Frankenstein himself goes through a total deconstruction of his own identity.
In the beginning of the novel, up until the creation of the Monster, Victor has a strong personal identity with his affectionate family, love of science and his community in Geneva. After Victor makes the life changing mistake of the creation of the Monster, his life and sense of self begin to crumble. The Monster causes the deaths of most of Victor’s family and friends, dictates Victor’s life and virtually drives Victor insane. With all of the factors that influence a sense of self eliminated from Victor’s life, he is nothing but a lost soul.
No longer the happy young boy that once had a bright future, Victor declares “By the sacred earth on which I kneel, by the shades that wander near me, by the deep and eternal grief that I feel, I swear; and by thee, O Night, and the spirits that preside over thee, to pursue the daemon, who caused this misery, until he or I shall perish in mortal conflict”. At this point, the only thing that Victor can identify himself with is pain, suffering and the Monster. The chess game in Blade Runner represents the struggle of the replicants against the humans; the humans consider the replicants pawns, to be removed one by one.
The individual replicants (pawns) are attempting to become immortal (a queen). At another level, the game between Tyrell and Sebastian represents Batty stalking Tyrell. Tyrell makes a fatal mistake in the chess game, and another fatal mistake trying to reason with Batty. There is also the context of personal responsibility in both texts. In Frankenstein Victor places a high degree of personal responsibility on himself in relation to what he says. He is full of guilt for what he has done.
Just the same he tells no on what has really happened to William, leading to the innocent death of Justine. There is no evidence of a sense of personal responsibility in Blade Runner anywhere. Tyrell displays no concerns about the ethics of what he has done and Deckard ‘retires’ Zhora because he is told to. The context is a world without ethics. Despite being composed in very different times, both Frankenstein and Blade Runner emerge in times of change and a fear that results in the questioning of relationships of humans.