Darkness At Noon Essay, Research Paper
The Saving Grace of Rubashov
Despite its brevity Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler packs an enormous amount of thought provoking dialog and insight into what may go through the mind of someone who is going through an extreme ordeal. One theme which ran throughout the book was Rubashov?s actions that were taken as matters of self-preservation and what he must do to atone for them.
The first instance of this was on page 45 where he asked if it is necessary to pay for deeds that were necessary and right. This was brought on by Rubashov?s attempt and his witnessing of his neighbor?s attempt on his behalf. More is said about this during Rubashov?s first journal entry on page 80. Here he attempts to explain the logic behind the party?s eradication of thought that goes against party doctrine. That the party is in fact more interested in wiping out these ideas which can act as seeds taking root in future generations. Then it is in punishing people. During this entry Rubashov makes no attempt but rather feels that everything shall be sorted out by history. But for him the most painful of all of his sacrifices, was his surrendering of in his secretary and lover, Arlova. Rubashov suffered much as he antagonized over weather this was in fact the correct choice to be made. The pain felt by Rubashov over this decision was amplified by his witnessing his old friend being taken much the same way as Avolora.
After finishing this book I was amazed at how I did not feel any type of dislike towards Rubashov. He was someone who allowed others to take falls which were meant for him, this even included some people he cared about. This being one of the characteristics which I despise most in a person, I tried to think upon what it was that made this trait bearable in Rubashov when in so many others it would cause such a great wealth of personal dislike. Upon further reflection I came to the realization that I would not have liked the younger Rubashov very much at all, but fortunately Darkness at Noon was not about a middle aged man accumulating debts, owed to the innocent citizens that got caught in his path of rampant destruction, but of an old man who is living out the result of a life that was reasoned out through logic too much, with not enough time spent concerning himself with the individual.
Through the journal we can see that Rubashov is changing not just because of the way he answers questions but also by the questions that he asks. He at last feels the true pain, which his actions have caused. And probably for the first time, although this was not stated in the book, he feels regret. This is probably a first for him because up till now he has always felt that there was a logical justification for his actions and that feeling bad about things which are necessary is illogical. This view and stance could be easily defended and is not far from my own, but Rubashov never regrets the harm that he bestows on others. And it is in this time of despair when he should finally asks for forgiveness but rather he somewhere deep within himself felt a need to pay for the suffering that his actions have caused.
This was the story of a man who through his guise of logic and care for the people, was able to fool, not only the characters in the book and most of the readers but also himself, into thinking that he acted out of the benefit of the greater good. This being true even though at the end he realized that much of his actions were going to be seen as monstrous to many in the future. That he had no longer the desire to continue this charade is the one thing that keeps him from becoming not just a monster for what he had done, but also for his intent. Seeing that his actions no longer held merit in his own eyes, Rubashov ceased his resistance against the imminent execution and was able to leave with an amount of dignity and grace that were lacking in so many of his earlier choices.