Frankenstein: Emotional Empathy Essay

Submitted By dakingzoftonga
Words: 539
Pages: 3

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner both draw upon their rapidly changing periods to contextually explore mankind’s ability to inherit hubristic ideas for forbidden knowledge which destroy one’s morality. Frankenstein examines irrational behaviours and immoralities of Romantic Prometheanism within the realms of science, ideology and politics. Meanwhile Blade Runner extrapolates a similar cautionary tale of a dystopian future and its contemporary excess from the 1980s era of economic hedonism. Hence both Scott and Shelley explore the loss of human morality and sensation due to a rise in technology and science in their texts.

Shelley’s Frankenstein is a text that warns the audience of how mans desire for forbidden knowledge can lead to the loss of our morality and emotional empathy, through the dehumanisation of Frankenstein’s creature. Shelley’s creature is a metaphoric representation of the consequences of the unrestrained intrusive science that was so despised by the Romantics; an embodiment of Locke and Rousseau’s Tabula Rasa, pure and virtuous. This is observed through its expression of emotion during its readings of Plutarch’s Live, “I felt the greatest ardour for virtue rise within me.” However it is when the creature discovers the hatred and fear expressed in the journal of its creator Victor, that begins to turn it into the “horrendous fiend” that kills William, “I too can create desolation” expressing the loss in emotional empathy and morality. This transition from feeling human to the degraded “animal” the creature has become is further emphasised in its reflection, “Once my fancy was soothed with dreams of virtue and fame… now crime has degraded me beneath the meanest of animal.” Thus we perceive Shelley’s expression of the Romantics humanist tradition and from the creature’s loss in morality, passion and emotional empathy that transforms it into a beast more ‘human than human’.

The loss of human emotions and empathy is also evident in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner is connoted through the dehumanisation of the replicants. The values of Scott’s period the 1980’s, were based upon an obsession for profit where globalization and consumerism has reduced the individual human