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

1267 Words Oct 30th, 2016 6 Pages
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 theory to complement my findings, I will attempt to answer whether or not labour is always exploitative. This will be done by considering three different types of labour: physical, mental, and emotional as well as the contextual background of the texts.
When the word labour is said, what often comes to mind is physical labour, especially the sort that can be accomplished by unskilled workers. In The Tempest Caliban fulfils this role on the island. The son of Sycorax, Caliban was born and lived on the island long before Prospero and Miranda arrived. It was upon arrival that Prospero took Caliban as his servant. It is immediately obvious that Caliban is treated unfairly when Prospero refers to him as “my slave” , thus displaying ownership…

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