The Tempest And The Communist Manifesto By Karl Marx And Friedrich Engels

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To ask if labour is inherently exploitative is a loaded question, which requires a nuanced answer and a deep exploration of what ‘labour’ actually means. On the face of it, labour connotes tiring physical work for economic gain. The implication is often that the capital produced by labour is for the benefit of the worker, but as the texts I analyse further down show, this is not always the case. In this essay I will view labour through the lens of The Tempest by William Shakespeare and The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. In effect this essay will be a Marxist reading of The Tempest, paying close attention to the way social class works to exploit the members lower down . By analysing these two texts and using literary …show more content…
Certainly it could be said that Prospero has created a new society on the island with himself as ruler
In The Communist Manifesto Marx comments, “as the repulsiveness of the work increases, the wage decreases” . Indeed, although Caliban and Ariel do not receive monetary payment for their labour, Ariel is given the incentive of freedom as Prospero promises Ariel “I will discharge thee.” Once again Shakespeare employs the use of personal pronouns in Prospero’s speech in order to emphasise his position of power on the island. It is not Ariel and Caliban who decide their own actions but Prospero. Ariel’s freedom relies entirely on his obedience; as Andrew Ross writes, “labor practices not only constrain workers but do so while claiming to liberate them to do what they love.” Thus Caliban, however, is not even offered freedom and is instead kept under Prospero’s control even at the very end of the play. While Ariel obeys Prospero for the eventual acquisition of freedom, Caliban obeys Prospero for his own survival. Caliban’s inability to truly decide his own future is further displayed by the fact that he himself rarely gets to fulfil the ten syllable rule of the iambic pentameter present in Shakespeare’s works. Instead his lines are quite often finished by a different character, for

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