Monday, January 20, 2014

Melodramatic Elements in the Communist Manifesto

By the mid-to-late 1800s, melodrama had become a fixture in popular culture. Therefore, Marx employed many elements of melodrama in a calculated effort to gain favor for Communism, which by Marx’s own admission, was “haunting Europe.” He began by highlighting the class discrepancies, aligning with the proletarian working class, sympathizing with them. He quickly differentiated between the good guys, the working class, and the bad guys, the bourgeoisie. In this way, he created a clear dichotomy in which Communism was on the side of the working class, the good guys. Beyond just associating his beliefs with the correct side, he goes on to explain that his beliefs champion the underdog, the working class, the good guys. “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.” By convincing the impressionable general public that they could only benefit under Communism, he further ingratiates himself with them. Keeping with the melodramatic tradition, Marx used exaggerated gestures to show the importance of his ideas. “Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communist revolution… Working men of all countries, unite!” He calls the working class to action in an act of propaganda, wherein he effectively shifts public perception of Communism from something new and evil to something potentially freeing.

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