The comparison of Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein, and Ridley Scott's 1992 film, Blade Runner, facilitates the examination of transforming societal values and the human condition. The transition from early 19th century England when Romanticism was challenging aspects of the dominant Enlightenment discourse founded upon science and rationalism to late 20th century American, a period influenced by Reaganomics and rampant scientific development in cloning and technology reveals a shift in societal values. However, both texts explore similar aspects of humanity including humanity's pursuit of progress and power, questioning of the human identity and refusal to consider the morality of their actions, albeit in different paradigms. Thus, as texts are a reflection of their context and its values, it is evident that aspects of human nature remain constant irrespective of context. .
In Frankenstein, Shelley explores the transgression of the natural order in the Romantic ideal by humanity's ongoing pursuit of progress and knowledge, a consequence of the Enlightenment Era and the Industrial Revolution. Victor's overreaching ambition to overcome the natural boundaries by taking God's creator role is highlighted in the metaphor "Life and death appeared to me ideal boundsI should break through." Victor's hubris criticizes aspects of Enlightenment rationalism which attempted to control natural processes, exemplified in Galvani's experimentation with "animal electricity." The gothic imagery used to describe Victor's experiments "I dabbled among unhallowed damps" contrasts to the imagery of natural settings "land surpassing in wonders and beauty." This demonstrates the depravity of this scientific approach to understanding the world. The connotation of "penetrate the secrets of nature" reflects the Romantic concern that specific aspiration was an exploitative violation of nature. Ultimately, the son of Victor's transgressions is revealed through allusions "an eternal hell" describing the psychological consequences of challenging the natural order.