Frankenstein and RoboCop. The Paradigm of Two Similar Stories on Two Different Times.

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1 diciembre, 2012 por jesusfgarciareyes

Rudyard Medina

“A subject for a great poet would be God’s boredom after the seventh day of creation.” (Friedrich Nietzsche)

 

Mary Shelly’s novel Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus and Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop shows scientific and sociological aspects of the human nature and its needs. Both Shelly’s story, a tragic hero[1], a scientist that creates life out of death and Verhoeven’s movie, a cyborg police in a dystopian[2] future, have things in common but also differences. Between the first’s ones, the most distinguished is the one that talks about human emotions. And between the differences there is an important one: The monster created by Victor Frankenstein does not have a name; the corporation Omni Consumer Products, yes.[3]

The Importance of Identity:

‘This god, this one word:

“I.” ‘

(Anthem by Ayn Rand, 50)

The essence of both Shelly’s work and Verhoeven’s film is the managing of emotions by the nonhumans that take part of it. Through culture, people and groups define themselves, conform to society’s shared values, and contribute to society. (CliffsNotes.com, 12 Apr 2012). The question —the essence on both stories— is, that: a being that has not followed or could not remember the natural way of conception, development and socialization[4], ¿is it human, even if he looks like?

     ...it is not proper for men to be without names. There was a time when each man had a name of his own to distinguish him from all other men. So let us choose our names. I have read of a man who lived many thousands of years ago, and of all the names in these books, his is the one I wish to bear. He took the light of the gods and [-he-] brought it to men, and he taught men to be gods. And he suffered for his deed as all bearers of light must suffer. His name was Prometheus.
(Anthem by Ayn Rand, 51)

The primary element that gives the sensation of individualization is the name. The monster created by Frankenstein has no name; his anonymous. The cop and later cyborg built by OCP has two. This circumstance puts the difference between two historical and cultural ages that both stories show: the Second Industrial Revolution and the Post—modernity[5]. The first one is trying to —with science— put order to chaos. There are many things —even monstrous— that still have no name. As such, they do not exist. The Post—modernity is doing the contrary: it is trying to discover how the chaos came from the order of modernity[6]; the order in which everything has a name. Maybe too many names…

Conclusions:

“…For truth is always strange; stranger than fiction…”

(Don Juan by Lord Byron, Canto 14)

The romantic/scientist hero of Victor Frankenstein’s time had a very limited rational universe. He lived in a world –a bit poetic, a bit mystic– of passionate discoveries that pushed him to create useful things. Now, the scientist is a co–constructor of reality.

Works Cited:


[1] A tragic hero is the main character (or “protagonist”) in a tragedy. A tragic hero is one that has one major flaw and the audience usually feels pity.

[2] A dystopia is the idea of a society in a repressive and controlled state, often under the guise of being utopian.

[3]  Even if RoboCop is a trademark and not a name, the creator gave him an identity as a part robot part cop.

[4]Socialization is a term used by sociologists, to refer to the lifelong process of inheriting and disseminating norms, customs and ideologies.

[5] Post-modernity is generally used to describe the economic or cultural state or condition of society which is said to exist after modernity. Some schools of thought hold that modernity ended in the late 20th century, in the 1980s or early 1990s replaced by post-modernity. (Koyzis 1)

[6] Modernity typically refers to a post-traditional, post-medieval historical period, one marked by the move from feudalism (or agrarianism) toward capitalism, industrialization, secularization, rationalization, the nation-state and its constituent institutions and forms of surveillance. (Barker 2005, 444)

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