Marxism, simply put, is the perpetual struggle between antagonistic social forces. But, as Montag points out, the struggle “is not the same throughout history, it takes many forms… follows no rules and obeys no logic” (389). Literary works express a specific form of the struggle, and in the case of Frankenstein the struggle is, ostensibly, between the upper class, personified by Frankenstein, and the lower working class, personified by the monster. When considering the historical context on a basic level, this notion is well supported and reinforced.

In my opinion the two major historical events that are intrinsic to this novel are the French Revolution and Industrial Revolution, with each constructing and molding the character of Frankenstein and the character of the monster. The French Revolution was supposed to be the emergence of the elite land-owning/monied class over the monarchy, an emergence made possible by the working class masses. However, this turned out to be an idyllic, since in reality the masses became uncontrollable, and in fact in many ways blocked the emergence of the land-owning/monied class. This strongly parallels the novel: Frankenstein in an attempt to create a race of humanoids that would allow him to surpass his own societal and scientific constraints, he creates Frankenstein, a creature that Montag notes, ironically reverses “Frankenstein’s position…clearest when his creation, far more powerful than he, calls him slave” (390). The monster not only stymies Frankenstein’s progress, but in fact reverses it in many aspects, as Frankenstein witnesses his creation kill intermittently, and wield his strength to control and extort Frankenstein himself.

The context of the Industrial Revolution reveals much about the working lower class construct of the monster. The Industrial Revolution led the extinction of the rural working class, which enjoyed a relatively peaceful and unperturbed existence. But science and rapid industrialization led to the existence of a new working class: the industrial working class. This new class did not enjoy the few privileges afforded by the rural class, and instead became locked in a terrible cycle of unemployment and higher cost of living that coincided with the technological progress and the prosperity of the upper classes. The creature, much like the industrial working class was borne from the labors of science, and that very science has trapped it in a cycle of misery and alienation. Its very existence is an affront, and the propagation of its race (the creature’s desire for a female counterpart) is something the creature feels is necessary. The propagation can only be carried out by the one element, Frankenstein that refuses to further destroy infringe on nature, or to put it in the context of the upper class construct, preserve the status quo.

Montag claims that “not so much the sign of the proletariat as of its unrepresentability”. Montag however claims that this antagonism takes a different form. Rather than the active representation of working class by Frankenstein, Montag claims that Frankenstein really represents the absence of the working class. This is an attempt by Montag to reconcile the fact that the monster has no voice and the very depiction of him as a monster reduces his ability to represent the proletariat. This might be true if the above historical context is not taken into consideration, and the character of Frankenstein is examined as a stand-alone. However, when taking historical context and the monster’s relation to Frankenstein into consideration, the novel presents a clear cut and active antagonism between the upper class and the working lower class, as presented by the struggle between Frankenstein and his monster.

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