Monday, January 20, 2014

Melodrama and the Consequences of Capitalism / Communist Manifesto

The Communist manifesto contains numerous melodramatic elements. The most obvious of its melodramatic characteristics is its consistent classification of the bourgeoisie and proletarians. The manifesto paints the bourgeoisie and the proletarians as polar opposites throughout and does not even allow space for an in-between, gray area in which a person could partly identify with both parties. This stark contrast between the two classes directly mirrors the classic melodramatic conflict between the aristocrats clothed in black and the average, working-class citizen. The manifesto's distinction between good and bad provides the "ethical simplicity" that Ben Singer mentions in "Melodrama and the Consequences of Capitalism" by using the two opposing classes as a way to organize good and bad.

Furthermore, the manifesto's goal of eliminating the bourgeoisie class in its entirety contains melodramatic elements itself. In the same respect that Ben Singer writes that in melodrama "punishment and reward appear at the end of the play", the manifesto proposes that the proletarians' ultimate reward will be the punishment and eradication of the bourgeoisie. This remains consistent with the melodramatic idea that good will prevail when it is revealed in the end.

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