Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Communist Manifesto and Melodrama

            Melodrama is a story of “good and evil”; an ongoing war that will only finish after the victory of the good which is only made possible by the virtuous and heroic characteristics of the good. Therefore, one can always expect a melodramatic plot to be made of two groups on the complete opposite ends of the spectrum; one who knows no good and oppresses unmercifully and one that is always virtuous and is oppressed unjustly. In the Communist Manifesto which is an example of a Melodrama, the good and evil are Bourgeoisie and Proletariat.
The Communist Manifesto is in many aspects a melodramatic prediction of the future of capitalism. Marx’s target audience is the “victimized” working class “who live only as long as they find work, and who find work only as long as their labour increases capital. These labourers who must sell themselves piecemeal, are a commodity.” Marx believes that capitalism strives to take away the sense of individuality in the proletariat by making them powerless and needy of the the bourgeois. 
But the story does not end right after stating the struggles that the working class goes through, but instead, Marx predicts a bright future for the victims by saying that soon capitalism will naturally collapse and that the working class will eventually gain power. This conclusion is very similar to what Singer mentions when he says “On the one hand, melodrama portrayed the individual’s powerlessness within the harsh and unpredictable material life of modern capitalism; on the other, it served a quasi-religious ameliorative function in reassuring audiences that a higher cosmic moral force still looked down on the world and governed it with an ultimately just hand” and also a quote from Hamilton that “[Melodrama] ministers to that motive which philosophers term the will to believe. It looks at life with faith and hope.” Therefore, it is not hard to notice that in the Communist manifesto, Marx starts by naming the hero and the villain in a capitalistic society, then he mentions the problems of having a powerful and oppressive middle class causing anxiety and insecurity in the members of the working class and ultimately hints at a bright future that awaits the oppressed after the collapse capitalism. 

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