Vladimir proletariat never being able to achieve in.

 

Vladimir
Mayakovsky’s poem A Cloud in Trousers
depicts his unrequited love for a woman named Maria, by portraying passionate
themes of adoration and art. This passion evolves into hatred and despise,
through which the writer successfully shows his desire to overthrow the
bourgeoisie regime, which has been the central reason for the fragmentation of
the society.

 

Throughout the
poem, Mayakovksy uses himself and Maria as metaphorical replacement of the
different classes; Mayakovsky is represented as the poor proletariat, who would
contextually work hard day and night and are unable to earn enough to live
comfortably. Maria is represented as from the bourgeoisie with extensive wealth
and live day to day not having to do anything. However when considering
historical context, this would not be the case as in real life Maria was born
into a poor peasant family, but due to Mayakovsky’s infatuation, he presents
her as a sort of dream that he can never achieve, completing the extended metaphor
of the proletariat never being able to achieve in. From the beginning of the
poem, Mayakovsky shows that his love for Maria is unrequited, which is
exemplified in her promise of waiting to “see him at four”, but the use of
the words “Eight. Nine. Ten.” the poet shows that Maria never turned up and
that he was left waiting for many hours. In this part of the poem, the mood is
comparatively quite calm, however it still displays how the bourgeoisie make
false promises. The poet also shows how uninterested the bourgeoisie is with
the workers when Mayakovsky asks “who cares if I’m made of bronze, if my heart
is lined with iron?” Maria’s disinterest in Mayakovsky in this sense becomes a
representation that no matter how hard the working class work they can never
reach the elevated bourgeoisie status. This hard work is addressed constantly
throughout the poem; Mayakovsky writes about how the working class “gallop
like mad till their knees give” which shows how great the dedication for work
the proletariat have, that they are willing to work until their “shoulders are
sinking”. The fact that they work nonstop is also addressed as the proletariat
“twitch like a sick man hopping out of bed”. Through showing that they work
even when they are sick, it shows that they begin to have less and less regard
for their health, but in the end they can be “perfectly calm”, but there comes
a time when the work will be too much, and their “pulse: zero”. This show the
tragic life of the proletariat and how they can work all their life and will
end up overworking themselves as they are never given anything from the
bourgeoisie.

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The bourgeoisie is
criticized throughout the poem for their gluttonous behaviours. Most everyone
knows that those who are able to get their hands on money will never be able to
live without it. Money becomes the only reason for their life, and their
“desires for money are infinite”. This is used to create this sense of
gluttony around the bourgeoisie as it shows that once a person gets a taste of
money and the so called ‘high-life’, they are not able to get enough of it, and
they crave it more and more as it starts going away. The matter money is also
shown when Mayakovsky compares “fat taxis and bony cabs”. Taxis and cabs are
seen as the same thing, so by making a comparison between the two, Mayakovsky
is just using it to highlight even further the fact that the only difference
between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat is the amount of money that they
have. This is shown through the use of the words “fat” and “bony”, as the bourgeoisie
are fat, they are filled to the brim with money that they will never be able to
use all of, while the proletariat is described as bony to emphasize the extent
of how hard they work, where the manual labour leads their body to such a state
where it appears they have never seen money. This is also a way to show that
the proletariat have never had the taste of money and never got to live an easy
life where they can lounge and earn without doing anything. Yet, although the
bourgeoisie is depicted this way, the poem also shows the side of the
bourgeoisie that works for their riches. By comparing “athlete after fat
athlete gleaming by in carriage” the poet shows that there are some that work
for their riches, while some that sit and do not do anything. This is because a
fat athlete would not be someone who would be considerably useful in sport as
they are not as fit as the rest, and therefore would not be able to win any
competitions. This is used to show the uselessness of the bourgeoisie that get
their money through doing nothing. Although it could also be argued that the
reason why they are depicted as athletes is because in reality athletes do not
contribute much to the world, so it would be used by Mayakovsky to show that
the bourgeoisie are quite pathetic for the amount of money they earn. The greed
is also shown through the use of streets. The poet uses the streets as a
metaphor for industrialization and how the actions of the bourgeoisie
ultimately ruined the world for everyone in it. Mayakovsky described that even
the street themselves “coughed up its phlegm”, through which he is depicting
that all the pollution that industrialization has caused is even bad for the
building themselves. Through doing this, he is showing that the bourgeoisie has
caused a tragic end of a beautiful, natural world.

 

By the middle and
end of the poem, the mood of the writing changes drastically from the
beginning. While the mood was quite light in the beginning, throughout the middle
until the end of the poem, the tone of the writing becomes heavy and
aggressive, and Mayakovsky starts to slowly incorporate themes of war and death.

This is first shown when the poet describes a fire, where the narrator gets “A
whiff of burning flesh! Here they come! Glittering helmets”. This is used by
the poet to construct a war image in the reader mind, and he is using the
bourgeoisie as the soldiers. By describing the soldiers simply as glittering
helmets, it could be interpreted that the helmets are engraved in diamonds,
through which the poet could be showing that even when the bourgeoisie are
fighting, they are still trying to show off their money. It also must be
considered who the bourgeoisie are coming to fight; the unruly and disobedient
proletariat would be the first victim as they could be seen by the bourgeoisie
as a waste of money. This is also shown when the “General Gallifer” is
mentioned, as he was a French general who was known for his harsh treatment of
prisoners. This represent how the bourgeoisie exploits the proletariat and use
them for their own benefit, while treating them extremely poorly. However,
although the bourgeoisie is presented are powerful by Mayakovsky, the
proletariat do not give up without a fight. In the poem, the proletariat
decided they will “paint Monday and Tuesday with blood and make them holidays”
which is quite an extreme act which would show the working classes power
against the bourgeoisie. As Monday and Tuesday are work days, it shows a
rebellion of the proletariat against their jobs which only benefit the
bourgeoisie. This is taken further with the simile of the sky which “was red as
the Marseillaise”. The Marseillaise is the French national anthem which was
adopted after the French Revolution. The French Revolution was a war that was
aimed to overthrow the French monarchy. This is used by the poet to show how
the proletariat is trying to ‘overthrow’ the bourgeoisie to get their freedom
back.

 

The theme of a
revolution is also used when the poem portrays religious views. Imagery of the
crucifixion of Jesus Christ are used to represent the proletariat are their
desire to get what they want, whether or not they die. Mayakovsky describes
that people yelled “Crucify him! Crucify him!” This is used to represent the
proletariat, as Jesus was not rich but he spent his life spreading the word of
God, while the rich became intimidated by him and the power in followers he had
gained and order him to be crucified. Here, the revolution is referred to again
when Mayakovky believes that with the next year to come, 1916, will come
“wearing the thorny crown of revolution”. By using the image of the thorny
crown, the poet is metaphorically using the image of Jesus who led the
Christians to a better life with God, and now 1916 will come as the leader of
the revolution. In 1905, and first revolution occurred, and the ‘February
Revolution” came because of the heavy military setbacks during World War 1,
which left the Russian Army in a state of rebellion. Knowing this, the reader
can see that Mayakovsky predicted the start of the Russian Revolution, and
focused on this to show that proletariat was finally fighting back against the
bourgeoisie. The religious contexts are also used when Mayakovsky starts to
incorporate the image of angels into the poem. The speaker tell the reader that
he is an “angel too” and that he “was one”. The image of the angel could be
used by the narrator to represent the bourgseoisie as he calls the angels a
“thing with wings”. By saying that he was one, the narrator could be saying
that he was once one of the bourgeoisie, and the hatred towrds them roots from
the fact that he once was rich but lost his money. By the end of the poem, the
tone becomes very sinister, and the character of the speaker becomes
exceptionally hostile towards the angels. In an attack aimed at them, the
speaker exclaims “You winged fools, huddle in your heaven, better start shaking
in your feather! I’ll slit you… Let me in!”. Compared to the first thing that
the speaker says about the angel, now it seems as though he is actually envious
of them, and he also what to be let into heaven and this anger that he could
have been there comes through, and it also links to how the working class
believe that they do not want to be like the bourgeoisie as they are scheming
and contriving, but ultimately there is a large sense of envy for the money
that they have.