While only a few of the details of this argument were actually in my previous posts, thinking about them and synthesizing other ideas from class led to a new interpretation. Frankenstein can be read as an explanation of how the French Revolution was a failure and not a true revolution. Namely, the bourgeoisie manipulated the proletariat as they would a commodity in order to create a bourgeoisie society in the name of the proletariat. This created a bloodbath much like the monster creates when he finds out he has been wronged. Frankenstein here is the bourgeoisie, while his monster is both the proletariat and a commodity formed by the bourgeoisie.

The monster as the proletariat is a popular view among Marxist critics, but many interpretations ignore the parallels between his creation and the creation of commodities. Like the rest of the novel, the sections before and after the creation are rife with details. The reader is bombarded with details of the creature’s appearance (such as his proportional limbs and “yellow skin scarcely [covering] the muscles and arteries beneath”) and Victor’s own feelings (“anxiety” mixed with “enthusiasm”), but there is no mention of the actual process of the monster’s creation (Shelley 60). The creature’s means of production are hidden, much like commodities are in capitalist societies (Parker 215). This makes him not just the proletariat, but a commodity as well.

The status of the creature as a commodity reflects the manipulation of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie in the French Revolution, a manipulation in order to perform “the task of releasing and setting up modern bourgeois society” (Marx 24). The French Revolution was a bourgeois revolution, meant to increase their power, not one for the proletariat. The story reflects this, with Frankenstein creating life just because he could, to satisfy his own ego. It is when he shuns the creature that the horror of the story starts.

By creating life but not accepting his creature, Frankenstein suffers the same turmoil that France did when its bourgeoisie attempted its revolution without the bourgeoisie. Death and suffering took over. Many bourgeois former leaders of the revolution were killed in the Reign of Terror, and many of Victor’s bourgeois family and friends were killed by the creature. But we sympathize with the creature precisely because he has been manipulated. Just as the French Revolution did not truly represent the interests of the proletariat, the interests of the creature were not accounted for by his creator. He is left alone, and thus he becomes the sympathetic figure. His creation has failed him much like the French Revolution ultimately failed the proletariat.

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