Sunday, September 7, 2014

Communist Manifesto

The Communist Manifesto employs many melodramatic themes to bolster the argument that the working class should unite to destroy class struggle. From the introductory section of the manifesto, there is already a clear development of the “bad guy”. This melodramatic distinction between good and evil allows Marx to reach out to the proletariat in a way that is familiar to them.
 As Singer points out, many characteristics of melodrama, such as the simple dramatic plot or the division between good and evil have a historical lineage rooted in the French Revolution. Historically, the French Revolution marked the point at which the Third-Estate united to rise up against the noble and priestly classes to gain a say in government. This theme of the working man being the “good guy” against the evil aristocrat is extremely prevalent in melodrama and is exploited in the manifesto as Marx cleverly positions the working class proletariat as the good guys versus the controlling and dehumanizing bourgeoisie.  
Singer touches upon the idea that melodrama came about as a coping mechanism to deal with the anxieties due to the new social uncertainties and individualistic post-feudal society. The manifesto points out that the bourgeoisie “has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his “natural superiors”, and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous “cash payment”. (Singer) This comment on the focus on the individual as something that is negative and detrimental to society is closely in touch with melodrama. During the time directly following the rise of capitalism and the restructuring of society, people were thrown into a new whirlwind of competition and class struggle. Melodrama focuses on the idea that the idea that the “good” side deserves the happy ending and that the “evil” side deserves not to win. The reliability of this fact is what drew people to melodrama as a way to cope with the new realities of capitalism. Marx’s use of the good versus evil theme evokes the belief that the Proletariat are in some way deserving of the win because the are the victims in the situation.

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