Module a

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Whilst texts may be fictitious constructs of composers’ imaginations, they also explore and address the societal issues and paradigms of their eras. This is clearly the case with Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein (1818), which draws upon the rise of Galvanism and the Romantic Movement of the 1800’s, as well as Ridley Scott’s film Blade Runner (1992), reflecting upon the increasing computing industry and the predominance of capitalism within the late 20th Century. Hence, an analysis of both in light of their differing contexts reveal how Shelley and Scott ultimately warn us of the dire consequences of our desire for omnipotence and unrestrained scientific progress, concepts which link the two texts throughout time.

Composed in a time of
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Moreover, Shelley stresses her warning through the protagonists’ connections with nature, where Victor’s “insensibility to its charms”, arising from his immersion in science, results in his “deep, dark and deathlike solitude”, with the heavy alliteration exemplifying his degraded sense of humanity. Conversely, the monster possesses greater “benevolence” and a more intimate connection with “the pleasant showers and genial warmth of spring”, with such characterisation capturing Shelley’s reflection of Romanticism’s idolisation of nature, cautioning us against the dehumanising effect of unrestrained scientific advancement.

Blade Runner is no different, with Scott’s reflection of the explosion of technological progress during the 1980’s, including the rise of computing giants IBM and Microsoft, highlighting the dangers of such unrestrained progress. Most notable is the opening panoramic shot of blazing smokestacks which, together with the haunting synthetic pulses of the Vangelis soundtrack, establishes a festering miasma of technological overload, adding further semiotic weight to the film’s nightmarish dystopian agenda. Indeed, this portrayal of a decaying environment reflects the growing ecological awareness of the 1980’s, which, whilst different to Shelley’s Romantic values, is

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