“A maid accidentally pulled the countess’ hair while combing it; Countess Elizabeth Bathory instinctively slapped the girl on the ear, but so hard she drew blood. The servant girl’s blood spurted onto Elizabeth’s hands...the countess noticed that as the blood dried, her own skin seemed to take the whiteness and the youthful quality of the young girl’s skin.” (Rodrigues 15).
Elizabeth Bathory is known by many different names; ‘The Bloody Lady of Čachtice’, ‘The Blood Countess’, ‘Countess Dracula’, and not without reason. In the 16th century this murderess became obsessed with achieving mastery over nature; the countess had forsaken her humanity by drinking the blood of virgins for vitality and bleeding them dry to bathe in it for her skin to be clear of imperfections and signs of aging. Often the vain become delusioned that beauty and youth preserves the body forever, when in fact, life can just as easily be ripped away young than it is when old. With torture and a side of cannibalism, Countess Bathory was not the poster-woman for mental health, but her fear of death was what drove her to go to such extremes. Humans will go to endless lengths to maintain the illusion of mastery over nature and control over life and death. Throughout Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood explores human nature and puts forth that humans are driven by knowledge and fear of their own mortality. She argues that humans seek to play a divine role to control their own fate and in the process, sacrificing morals and ethics to quell that fear.
Bathory abandoned her morals and humanity in search of her own human advancement; five centuries later much has changed, but a lack of ethics is still prominent— notably in the field of science. In Oryx and Crake, companies will go to the ends of the earth to control the world around them. In search of money and power, the HelthWyzer company produce an abomination for human convenience; the chickienobs. With no eyes or beak, the sole purpose of creating the modified chickens is for food production, "‘Those are chickens,’ said Crake. ‘Chicken parts. Just the breasts, on this one. They've got ones that specialize in drumsticks too, twelve to a growth unit.’” (105). In this excerpt, we see humans seek to play a divine role in the form of capitalism through manipulative creation. Western culture has a history of only eating only a few parts of an animal at a time and then throwing the rest away, but in the mind of HelthWyzer and Crake, it is optimal for endless production to disregard morals and play god by genetically modifying to the point of no return. By creating living breasts and drumstick machines for human consumption, they achieve less waste and more revenue, but the cost of loss of their own humanity.
In the final moments leading up to the apocalypse in Oryx and Crake, Crake’s true intentions are revealed at Paradice; the Blysspluss pill epidemic. The pill itself was a positive by preventing sexually transmitted...