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A Marxist Interpretation Of Bram Stoker's "Dracula"

816 words - 3 pages

A Marxist reading is one which interprets history as a series of class struggles. Marxists believe that, within a society, people think and behave according to basic economic factors. These factors are derived from the dominant class imposing their beliefs on the lower classes in order to make them conform to the standards and beliefs of the dominant class.Bram Stoker's novel, 'Dracula' represents a class struggle not between the bourgeois society and the proletariat society where the proletariats would attempt to rise up and overthrow the bourgeoisie, but rather between the capitalist bourgeois and the character of Dracula as a monopolist.Dracula worked in relation to bourgeois fears of domination from above - from a monopolistic Dracula. Franco Moretti has argued that this text "was a desperate attempt to articulate anxieties about the crisis of liberal capitalism which was taking place within the 1890s, and the challenge to the hegemony of the professional bourgeoisie which it entailed".Earlier in the century, Marx himself had used the vampire metaphor to discuss the workings of capital: 'Capital is dead labour which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks."Dracula is, as Karl Marx describes, a form of capital which sucks the life from the working proletariat class.Dracula has no life himself, but maintains himself by living off the life of others. It is for this reason that while Dracula is a representation of the capital which Marx describes.Dracula is not capital itself, but a particular form of capital which was emerging in the 1890s: monopoly capital. As Moretti puts it, 'Dracula is a true monopolist; solitary and despotic, he will not brook competition.''The professional bourgeoisie had established its hegemony by challenging feudal despotism with a concept of individual freedom for all. The proletariat were offered contracts in which they owned their own labour.The bourgeoisie had combated the forms of hound labour associated with feudalism with the concept of the labour contract. The capitalist had no inherent rights over the labour of the worker as had been the case with the feudal lord. By contrast, the capitalist and the worker engaged in a contract in which they were, in principle, free and equal participants. Workers could not only choose the employer to whom they sold their labour, but their labour was also only sold for a fixed period. The worker had rights...

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