What Concepts Are Common to Both Frankenstein and Blade Runner, and How Have the Composers Created These Concepts?

Mary Shelley’s 1818 gothic novel Frankenstein shares many themes with Ridley Scott’s 1982 film Blade Runner. Despite the 150 year difference in their contexts, both warn against exceeding the limits of nature, explore the essence of humanity, and highlight the importance of relationships.
As a Romantic, Shelley believed in the power of nature and was opposed to the rationality encouraged by the Age of Enlightenment. This influence is exposed in the novel through the repercussions of Frankenstein’s “pursuing nature to her hiding-places.” Frankenstein is compared to Walton, who believes that “one man’s life or death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of the knowledge”. The metaphorical “intoxicating draught” of new knowledge lures both men, but Walton chooses the ‘right’ path, expressed through the quasi- happy ending, where his authority is restored and the monster leaves society. Shelley’s readers are further warned through the symbolism of hands, used to both create and destroy. The monster, referred to by his creator as “the work of my hands”, leaves “the black mark of his fingers” on the necks of William, Henry Clerval and Elizabeth. The punishment for Frankenstein’s crimes is also manifested in the bleak imagery of the polar regions. As a modern Prometheus, Frankenstein is Shelley’s warning against the chase of knowledge.
Created from various dead body parts, Frankenstein’s monster is undoubtedly unnatural. His humanity, however, is repeatedly questioned. The de Laceys call him a “ ‘good spirit,’ ‘wonderful’ ” when he imperceptibly does their chores, and the old de Lacey cannot discern his monstrosity, as “something in your words…persuades me that you are sincere.” Frankenstein’s creation is often associated with Adam, “united by no link to any other creature in existence”. Despite this similarity, Frankenstein “detest[s] and spurn[s] me, thy creature”, driving the monster to exact revenge on his creator. His use of Biblical language...