Frankenstein/Blade Runner Essay - Texts in Time

Both texts are a product of their time and offer warnings to their respective audience.

Compare how these texts explore ambition and obsession.


Ambition and obsession are heavily intertwined concepts present in both Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Both these texts play off the reservations of their respective audiences, delivering foreboding if not sinister warnings of the utter desolation of society and the individual caused by unchecked ambition.


Obsession and ambition were contemporary concerns within the differing contexts of the texts. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was written in a period of great technological and scientific change; Shelley mirrors this in that she uses scientific endeavour to drive her epistolatory narrative, presenting science as a force of either good or evil. Shelley tracks the consequences of unchecked scientific advancement, warning of the evils unleashed when man idly plays God – a contemporary fear of her time, echoing the sub-title “The Modern Prometheus” – shown in Victor’s obsessive quest to bestow life. In contrast, Scott moulds a jarring, dystopic world, in which an individuals propensity to consume defines their humanity. Blade Runner can be seen as a backlash against the obsessive materialism that characterised the Reagan era; it seeks to raise social awareness by reflecting many of the ecological and ethical concerns of its time, including issues relating to unchecked scientific and technological progress. Moreover, Scott’s vision is of what he perceives to be the natural conclusion of consumerism: the commercial exploitation of human life and the loss of individual autonomy. In essence, Blade Runner rediscovers the issues raised by Frankenstein in a new and altered cultural context.


Obsession serves to drive us from nature, evident in Frankenstein as Victor’s frenzied obsession to create life forces him deep into recluse in his filthy...