Blade Runner / Trivia / Religious and Philosophical Parallels?

Religious/Philosophical Parallels:

  • The replicants are fallen angels (fallen from the heavens/outer space), with Roy as Lucifer.

  • Tyrell lives in a giant pyramid (like a Pharaoh), which looks like a cathedral inside, whereas Sebastian lives in an abandoned apartment with a "toilet bowl plunger" on his head.

  • Tyrell creates. He builds his creations imperfect. Once of his creations resents the in-built imperfection (since the creator had no reason apart from fear to inhibit his creations), and he returns to the creator to fix him. This parallels the baby spiders killing their mother.

  • Tyrell's huge bed, pedestaled and canopied, is modeled after the bed of Pope John Paul II.

  • Roy:
    Firey the angels fell,
    Deep thunder roll'd around their shores,
    Burning with the fires of Orc.

    This is a paraphrase of William Blake's America: A Prophesy:

    Fiery the angels rose, and as they rose deep thunder roll'd
    Around their shores: indignant burning with the fires of Orc.

  • When Roy finally confronts Tyrell, he calls him his "maker," and "the god of biomechanics." In the light of the parallels this film draws between the plight of the replicants and that of all human being -- four years against fourscore -- this scene has strange reverberations. If Roy can condemn his creator for determining his life span at four years, why can we not condemn our Creator (if we choose to believe in one) for placing us under a death sentence at birth. Can we sit in judgment of God?

  • Insofar as he creates artificial life and is killed by it, Tyrell is another Dr. Frankenstein. Tyrell and Frankenstein both are cruel towards their own creations, and yet it is these creations, not the creators, who are persecuted. We are sympathetic towards both Roy and Frankenstein's creature, as they are inherently benign creatures who become violent only when spurned by a paranoid society. Our creations tell us more about the ugliness of ourselves than they do about the created. The "Frankenstein" parallel is not perfect, however, as Dr Frankenstein is not directly killed by his creation.

  • Roy puts a nail through his palm, a symbol of Christian crucifixion. Dan Newland has put together a page discussing the Christian Symbolism in Blade Runner.

  • In Milton's Paradise Lost, Satan is, despite himself, the most attractive and interesting character. Roy is, of course, both Christ and Lucifer, but the important thing is that, almost despite ourselves, we are obliged to locate our sympathy where we do not want it to go. On a theological level, the "felix culpa", our "fortunate fall" through which we are redeemed, is occasioned by Satan, just as Deckard's "fortunate fall" is through Roy -- Roy not only saves him from plummeting, but in fact elevates him to the heavens -- a redeemed world.

  • When Batty dies, he is released from torment as he releases the dove. (The laserdisc notes say that they couldn't get the dove to fly off into the rain.)

  • After Roy's death Deckard muses: "All he'd wanted were the same answers the rest of us want. Where do I come from? Where am I going? How long have I got. All I could do was sit there and watch him die." According to an essay in Retrofitting Blade Runner, these three questions are the title of a painting by Gauguin during one of his more suicidal phases: "Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?"
  • Blade Runner

    Murray Chapman