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Unformatted text preview: Mary Shelleys Frankenstein and the Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels are two works that were both published during the early half of the 19 th century while Europe, was experiencing the Age of Enlightenment and a Romantic period. The Enlightenment was an intellectual, philosophical, and scientific movement centered in eighteenth century Western European countries such as Germany, Great Britain, and France. The primary theme of this era was that fact and reason became a major concern as well as the legitimacy for authority. Around this same time period arose another movement called Romanticism, which was in opposition to the Enlightenment, focused on passion over reason and the socio/political freedom of all individuals. In hindsight, it is apparent that the Romantic Movement was a revolt against aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment and a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature. This clash of philosophical and political ideals is apparent in both Shelleys as well as Marx and Engels works. Both works are critiques of the societies they were written in; they comment on issues such as human reason, the necessity of technological advancement and the importance of the family unit. Although the authors of Frankenstein and the Communist Manifesto agree about the condemnation of alienation, Shelley believes that the abuse of human reason and rationalization of nature will lead to the downfall of society while Marx and Engels state that questioning nature in an empirical manner and the creation of technology are necessary for a perfect Communist society. Alienation was a major Romantic ideal stressing the importance of cohesion in a working society between the working and upper classes. Both authors adequately defend this ideal in two very different ways. In Frankenstein Mary Shelley uses the general populations rejection of the monster as a device to explain the problems with alienation. The first experience with the world 1 is when the creature opens its eyes, and sees Victors scared look. Victor immediately flees. The creatures own father rejects it even though he has made it; unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created, I rushed out of the room and continued a long time traversing my bedchamber, unable to compose my mind to sleep 1 . The monster's feelings of alienation were largely fueled by his actual appearance. Whenever the monster was capable of feeling attachment to a human being, those humans rejected him. We see him rejected again by the DeLacey children who walk into their cottage to see the monster sitting with their father. Old man Delaceys son, Felix darted forward, and with supernatural force tore me from his father, to whose knees I clung: in a transport of fury, he...
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