To me, Batty appears to be a Zarathustrian figure, decending from the cave (Off World) to bring a message, a philosophy to Man, who will one day be superceded by the ÃƒÅ“bermensch (human-manufactured androids?) who will hold dominion, not just over this planet, as we do now, but over the galaxy and these descendants will one day see C-beams glittering in the darkness at Tannhauser gates, or something even more beautiful. There is definitely a Nietzschean influence in the philosophy of the book and film.
That is the same misinterpretation of Nietzsche that the Nazis suggested (thanks to rewritings by his sister), reading "ÃƒÅ“bermensch" as a "Above", a supreme being, noting on genetic and mental supremacy.
"ÃƒÅ“ber" is not to be translated "Above" but "Over", as Nietzsche talks about "ÃƒÅ“berwindung des Abgrundes
" and "ÃƒÅ“berwinding des Lebens
", both in Ecce Humo and in Also Sprach Zarathustra. The idea is, that what seperates man (here overman), is that he has a will of his own. What seperates mensch from ÃƒÅ“bermench is "die Weltsehle" and being aware of it.
Central to Nietzsche was here the rejection of Christianity as a "slave religion", who forced man to live according to a set of moral laws and then to be awarded in the next life. However when Nietzsche said that God is dead, he was not suggesting nihilism or atheism, but rather that what the church was preaching was in direct opposition to what Jesus had said. Nietzsche suggested, that rather than a set of absolute dogmas, man should first give up these ideas, then as he had no values should reevaluate morality and freedom, hence become free (ÃƒÅ“berwindung), and finally emerge as an ÃƒÅ“bermensch.
As we are in the Criterion Forum, Criterion has recently released a very Nietzschian film, pure Transcendentialism, with "Der Junge TÃ¶rless", where TÃ¶rless begins to question absolutes (most directly thru mathmatics) and moral values and finally emerges as an ÃƒÅ“bermensch, having evaluated morality for himself.
In "Blade Runner" there is no notions of Nietzschian philosophy nor Transcendentialism. Roy is to begin with consumed with hatred, but realises, that it all has been in vain, as it hasn't enriched his life. It appears more as an elegy or Greek tragedy.
What has enriched his life is what he has experienced:
I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attackships on fire on the shoulders of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the darkness at Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain. Time to die.
Followed by Decker who said:
I don't know why he saved by life. Maybe in those last moments he loved life more than he ever had before, not just his life, anybodies life, my life. All he wanted was the same answers the rest of us wants: Where do I come from, where am I going, how long have I got.
As I said before, the reason why Roy doesn't kill Decker is not because Deckard is a puny, pathetic little runt, but because he in his moment of death realises the beauty of life, hence cannot destroy what he lusts for, what he loves. Roy is thus giving Decker that second chance that he himself never had, because he was destined to die at a set date, and by letting him live said: Take care of life, love it, as it all will end some day.