Critical Thinking

The able to fashion the monster in a

The
creature and Victor Frankenstein. Similar to how Marxist theory observes the
remarkable struggle between social classes, the interactions between said
characters, and their struggles, are put on display by Shelly. The exchanges
between different characters (or social classes) can be explained by Marx’s
Communist Manifesto which states that two classes, one being “the owners” of production
named the bourgeoisie and “the workers” or the proletariat (Montag 386). In
this situation Victor can be compared to the bourgeoisie while the creation can
be represented by the proletariat. In Frankenstein,
a similar dynamic arises within the relationship between Victor and his
creation as a definitive struggle rises between the two characters. After the
successful “birth” of the monster Victor enjoys the reaps of his labor and
establishes his power—effectively exerting control over the “lower class” or,
in this case, his creation. Throughout this evolution, Shelly depicts the
relationship between the monster and Frankenstein with Shelly depicts the
Marxist evaluation of capitalism. Later on, when Victor becomes enslaved by the
horror of his creation, similar Marxist theory is displayed through what is
defined as the products of labor. As a result of this, the monster becomes
powerful and rebels against Victor, or his creator, who he describes as
incompatible. This power struggle represents the struggle between the upper and
lower classes, or, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. At the conclusion of
this all, it is clear that Victor has created something that he cannot begin to
understand nor control. History has represented this power struggle again and
again with the introduction of unions within the workforce—those involved began
to speak out against their higher counterparts in seek of employee rights. As a
result, the workers gained more say within their work environment (Montag 385).

 

There
are many parallels between the monster, Victor, and their similarities between
the bourgeoisie and proletariat. By using many dissimilar, miss-matching parts,
Victor was able to fashion the monster in a jumbled way— this is further
related to the assorted population that composes the proletariat. Marxism describes
the proletariat as “recruited from all classes of the population” (Marx 228). Additionally,
Shelly emphasizes Frankenstein and his preparation for creating the monster— “I
collected bones from the charnel house. In a solitary chamber, or rather cell,
at the top of the house, and separated from all the other apartments by gallery
and staircase, I kept my workshop of filthy creation: my eye balls were
starting from their sockets in attending to the details of my employment. The dissecting
room and the slaughter house furnished many of my materials,” (Shelly 58). It
is clear that the reader can see how segmented the creation will be as well as
the intense contempt that Victor feels towards it—so much so that he neglects
to care for the tools that will bring the creature to life. Regardless of Victors
negligence the power in this uncommon pair does not remain in Victors hands.

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Through a Marxist lens it is clear that the monsters physical size and prowess
are meant to symbolize the large population 
and strength of the laboring proletariat class. Unlike the riche bourgeoisie,
the proletariat engages in hard work and thus develop strong physical traits
and, in this case, the higher power.

The
struggle of power between the monster and Victor dose not originate without surmounting
evidence. Frankenstein is representative of the higher class in this novel due
to the fact that he comes from a wealthy background in which his world view
shaped by his privileged childhood: “My family is one of the most distinguished
of Geneva. My ancestors had been for many years counselors and syndics; and
my father had filled several public situations with honor and reputation. He
was respected by all who knew him, for his integrity and indefatigable
attention to public business” (Shelly 40). Due to his advantaged background
Victor often acts in a selfish fashion—this is largely represented in the way
he treats his creation. This oppression is similar to the way the bourgeoisie
would treat the lesser proletariat class. Victors’ power is short-lived as he
quickly loses control over the monster—similar to Marx’s argument that stated
that an oppressive society generally succumbs to the requests of the lower
class. This further proves that with power comes great responsibility—a life of
privilege sometimes does not adequately teach this.

To
fully understand this power struggle that Victor encounters throughout Frankenstein one must look further into
what the author—Mary Shelly might have been influenced by while writing this
novel. Generally speaking, there is strong evidence that this story is
extremely alternative and revolutionary in its ideology and nature. With this
in mind, it is important to delve into Shelly’s background. First and foremost,
Shelly was raised by parents that were extremist philosophers. Additionally, it
is clear that given the historical context of the work the English revolution
as well as the French and Haitian revolution influenced Shelly’s writing,
implementing a revolutionary spirit on the theme of this novel. it It is clear
that the novel plays heavily on societal fear of uprising and revolution when looking
at it through a Marxist lens. At the end of the day, Victor must battle with
the monster, who symbolizes the proletariat, that revolts against him— making
the theme of revolution easily discernable.

While
Shelly’s history of her childhood growing up with extremist philosophers greatly
shaped her work, her experience with the relationship she had with her husband
Percy greatly shaped the character development of Victor and the shallow world
view he lived with. Percy Shelly was the son of a wealthy county squire with
royal ancestry and a political stronghold. Percy’s experience growing up in
lavish wealth is similar to Victors experience in a distinguished family with
influential ancestors. Additionally, it is alleged that Shelly’s husband left
Mary to pursue an affair with her step-sister shortly after Mary gave birth to
their premature baby Bennett. This is strikingly similar to Victors actions—specifically
when   he runs away from his creation when the
monster finally comes to life and comes toward him. From this correlation, it
remains true that privilege has instilled lack of responsibility on both fictitious
Victor Frankenstein and Mary Shelly’s husband Percy. 

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