In his essay “The ‘Workshop of Filthy Creation’: A Marxist Reading of Frankenstein”, Warren Montag claims that there are Marxist undertones within Marry Shelly’s novel that depicts the ongoing struggle of the working class against the middle class, represented by Frankenstein’s monster and Victor Frankenstein respectfully. Towards the end of his essay, he claims that Frankenstein’s creation is “not so much the sign of the proletariat as of its unrepresentability” (480). I agree with this notion as I believe that the horror of  the industrial and technology that helped to create the working class, as mentioned by Montag, is exemplified within Shelly’s work with its ability to transform beauty into horror so seamlessly without being depicted at all.


The reader witnesses the unrepresented power’s horror when it causes Victor to view his magnificent creation as a work of terror. Right before Victor is ready to bring his creation to life, he takes a moment to praise “his features as beautiful. Beautiful!–Great God!” (60). He continues to lovingly evaluate his work as an ideal image of man with perfect proportions, noting that “his hair was of lustrous back, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness”(60). Amidst his thorough compliments however, he takes a moment to notice his creation’s “more horrid contrast with his watery eyes…his shriveled complexion and straight black lips,” alluding to the unseen industrial and technological dark consequences (60). Despite having “worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body,” Victor succumbs to the horrors of the working class in an instant, viewing his once beautiful and flawless creation now with “breathless horror and disgust…unable  to endure the aspect of the being [he] had created” (60). The strong change in polarity in the way Victor views his creation demonstrates the amount of horrible power that technology, the industrial, and the working class have and helps create a terrifying image within the reader’s mind. Fear of the unknown is perhaps the greatest fear of all after all. The text never describes the process in which Victor uses technology to reanimate the corpse, as suggested by Montag’s claims that “technology and science, so central to the novel, are present only in their effects; their truth only becomes visible only in the face of their hideous progeny and is written in the tragic lives of those who serve them” (478). The unseen nature of the elements that created the working class, the industrial and technology, help “to render this being,” Frankenstein’s monster and by extension the proletariat, as “inexplicable and unprecedented, a being for whom there is no place in the ordered world of nature” (480). In the end, the unseen forces of technology and the industrial that Victor used for his experiment caused him to view his creation he thought was the pinnacle of humanity as a despicable monster, just as the capitalism that created the cruel lives of the proletariat.

–Jose Ramirez