Blade Runner - Analysis of Roy Batty's Final Monologue

Roy Batty's Monologue:

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain. Time to die."


Batty is not a paint-by-the-numbers villain. He's hardly a villain at all, in fact. Sure, he offed Tyrell in a rather gruesome way, thumbs to eye-sockets, but that reads a bit like deserved vengeance. Tyrell was an unjust god, creating flawed beings, baking in mortality when it wasn't necessary. And Batty, well, he wasn't happy about dying. Why not let Tyrell lead the way?

In case you're wondering, Roy's critique and judgment of Tyrell reads as a critique of our own culture's received stories about creator gods, especially a critique of pain, a philosophical tradition otherwise known as theodicy. If a god created the world, why wouldn't that god engineer pain out of the system? Why create hell when you can create heaven?

But that Roy Batty deals with the problem of pain, that he looks back on all his memories with feelings of wonder, sorrow, and longing--"Revel in your time," Tyrell tells him--demonstrates that while a replicant might not technically be a human, it shares in our humanity. Roy possesses a deep soulfulness. When he is with Priss, we see that he cares for and even loves her. We feel his profound sense of loss as he mourns her death: consider the wideness of his eyes when he touches her wound--consider how he smears her blood on his face and howls.

Knowing his time is running out, Roy abandons a desire to get even with Priss's killer, Deckard. Hating death, he even saves his would be killer. After he finishes his iconic speech--"time to die," he gives up his spirit and the bird he held flies away, symbolizing the departure of the spirit from the body. 

Roy Batty and Rick Deckard

However, Ridley Scott gives us a second image to counterbalance the white bird's upward flight. At the end of the scene, one of the flying cars lifts off directly behind Roy's slumped body. As a constructed mechanism, the vehicle's flight questions whether Roy's spirit and his experience is genuine or ersatz. Is his experience of giving up his spirit a human experience or only something similar. Is it more like the flying car taking off rather than the bird?

What do you think? Leave comments below!