The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald and “Blade Runner” by Ridley Scott
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The human condition is the experience of existence and life as humans. This notion can be seen through the novel “The Great Gatsby”, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald and the film “Blade Runner”, directed by Ridley Scott. These texts explore the themes of human judgment, the ambition involved in being human and human morals, which make up part of the human condition. This is shown through the actions, comments, and descriptions of the characters in the texts.
The quote “‘They’re a rotten crowd,’ I shouted across the lawn. ‘You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together'” from the novel, The Great Gatsby, is a display of the judgmental characteristic of human beings. Human beings are very judgmental creatures, who base conclusions about others upon what they see or hear. The character, Daisy Buchanan shows her judgmental nature as she cries “they’re such beautiful shirts” as she tours Gatsby’s house. This demonstrates that her attitude toward Gatsby revolves around his possessions rather than his personal qualities. The film, Blade Runner also reveals this idea through the Voight-Kampff test, which is a test designed to measure emotional responses. The humans in the film use this test to determine whether or not the subject is a replicant purely based the conclusions of this test. We are shown that humans make quick judgments on others not by profound information but by shallow means such as a test.
Morals are an important part of every human life. They are responsible for the kind of life humans lead and also their actions. “The Great Gatsby” and “Blade Runner” both show the decline in human morals. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald suggests this decaying of human morals through the parties that Gatsby holds every week. It is a symbol of the carelessness of the time, where these ‘guests’, most of whom were not even invited, would party, eat and drink until the early hours of the morning without even meeting the host or even knowing who he was. The destruction of morals is illustrated by Blade Runner through the appearance of the setting of the film. The opening shot’s aerial perspective shows a world where the sun no longer shines. The humid streets are crowded with inhabitants living in dilapidated remains and the frequent downpour of heavy rain onto the waste-filled streets emphasise the sense of claustrophobia. This is gloomy settings is represents the deterioration of morals as man has developed the technology to create replicants, a slave-class of artificially created beings, to carry out tasks too hazardous or menial for humans.
Another central theme is the ambitious quality of humans. We are shown the need for ambition and dreams to add meaning to human life. The character Jay Gatsby possesses driving ambition. He holds the belief that it is possible to achieve any goal with hard work and dedication. His “in corruptible dream” of winning back Daisy’s love is represented through the symbolism of Daisy by the green light. His quest for his dream to come true is so strong that he even ‘bought that house that Daisy would be just across the bay’. The character Batty presents this theme through his attempt to survive. The close up shots of Batty’s face reveals his strong sense of will to survive and to be no longer second-rate to humans and living in fear.
Ultimately, there are many aspects of human life that contribute to the totality of being human. The Great Gatsby and Blade Runner displays the human nature to judge others, the ambition that exists in every human being and the morals held by humans, through the portrayal of the characters.