Darkness At Noon Essay, Research Paper
Darkness At Noon
In the novel, Darkness at Noon, by Koestler, Rubashov learns about himself, and makes an effort to cross the hazy lines between his conscience and his beliefs. Rubashov’s realization of the individual aspect of morality is a gradual process, satisfying his internal arguments and questions of guilt. His confession to Gletkin reflects the logic that Rubashov had used (both by himself and his political regime), as well as his internal conflicts. He questioned the inferior value of the human, in respect to the priceless value of humanity. Rubashov’s ideas on communism, he found, were blurred by his dedication to the Soviet revolutionaries, and ordeal that compromised his life to solve. In many ways, Rubashov was an antagonist to himself.
One way Rubashov defeated his goal was by giving in to suit others. “The Party denied the free will of the individual – and at the same time it exacted his willing self-sacrifice? There was somewhere an error in the calculation; the equation did not work out.”(204) Rubashov’s confession implies a submission of his personal ego to a larger purpose, and he questions himself as to whether it is worth it. His ideals were not his own, but rather the ideals that the communist revolutionaries forced him to have. Rubashov was a man who thinks extremely logical in every situation; he follows every idea “?down to its final consequence.”(80) He is an elite intellectual, but even as Ivanov and Gletkin question his line of thinking, Rubashov constantly asks himself the same questions. He justifies his rational by reminding himself that he is working for a more perfect society, no matter what the cost. As stated in the first partition of his confession, he heard only those being sacrificed, and forgot or ignored why they were being sacrificed.
Rubashov’s selfishness also led to his demise. He, from the beginning, realized that he has made an error in his judgment; however, he listens to Ivanov’s advie and does not let [himself] be hypnotized by [his] own navel.”(124) Rubashov is defending the revolution to save his own life, for to abandon it would mean certain death. To fight against it as he had been doing is to fight against the very ideas in which he was trying to promote. His conscience probably made him illiberal – Its appearance occurred without visible cause and, strangely enough, was always accompanied by a sharp toothache. This toothache continued until his confession; such an obvious analogy is hard to ignore. The guilt he had was removed at the time of his confession. He was not guilty of these crimes, however he pleads guilty for the good of his own personal logic. Rubashov was punishing himself to escape the guilt he had. He realized that he indeed rated his guilt higher than his usefulness; he felt that if he was guilty, than he must pay-no matter what he was guilty of.
Placing his political party above that of humanity constantly desolved Rubashov. He wanted to do a “?last service to the Party, by letting [himself] be sacrificed as [a] scapegoat.”(201) He was not silenced by a physical fear, but still he could not free his mind from the beliefs that he knew were wrong. Rubashov failed to realize for what he was really fighting for, and didn’t conceive that their was more importance than his political engine. Rubashov gave us a glimmer of hope when he confessed that “?many die in silence, say nothing? That would have been easier for an old rebel, but I overcame the temptation? my account with history is settled.”(199-200) He gave me the relief that at last he could live with himself. His confession implies a compromise of himself to a larger purpose: humanity. Rubashov at last was beginning to settle the dispute of guilt in his mind.
Also hindering Rubashov, was his weakened will to carry on for a purpose. “Perhaps the Revolution had come too early, an abortion with monstrous, deformed limbs?”(206) This statement implies that he knew that a revolution was needed, but felt incapable of the task. I would not say he had a weak disposition; a greatly admire his incredible desire to keep going after disappointments. A shimmer of optimism is evident with with biblical analogy of Moses’ forty years in the desert before he was shown the Promised Land. It is not much, but it’s all Rubashov has and his entire decision of public confession is based on the belief in the Party. He believes the Party to be the best suited protector and advocate of the Revolutionary cause. But, at his moment of death, I believe that he doesn’t exactly know for what he is dying for.
A rather depressing picture is painted in Darkness at Noon, but a vision of history is seen that is seldom talked about. The separation that Rubashov endured must have been among the worst, as “he felt an urgent desire to understand” it.(203) Unfortunately, Rubashov is not successful in his attempt to re-establish the connection. He dies without the reassurance of a better future, which he dedicated his life to as the “dull blow struck the back of his head.”(211) I believe that this was a sought-after relief that Rubashov had earned. As strange as it sounds, I feel he earned his death and was finally released into a world of humanity. Rubashov was a sacrificial lamb upon the altar: The great strength of the Party logic was unhealthy to Rubashov, and led to his death; a death that was self-imposed.