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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Consciousness of guilt in tragic experience Quickenden, Robert Henry 1973

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The Consciousness of G u i l t i n Tragic Experience by ROBERT HENRY QUICKENDEN B.A., U n i v e r s i t y of Manitoba, 1971. A Thesis Submitted i n P a r t i a l F u l f i l l m e n t o The Requirements f o r the Degree of MASTER OF ARTS i n the Department of E n g l i s h We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the requ i r e d standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA J u l y , 1973 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of Bri t ish Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of f y\^,L'^k The University of Bri t ish Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada i ABSTRACT The t h e s i s i s an attempt to understand t r a g i c g u i l t . My s t a r t i n g p o i n t i s a comparison of Sophocles' Oedipus a t Colonus w i t h Shakespeare's Macbeth. The q u e s t i o n of " g u i l t " i s t r e a t e d very d i f f e r e n t l y i n these two p l a y s . Oedipus' g u i l t i s a r e s u l t of an a c t i o n which i s di s c o v e r e d , not chosen. He i s the v i c t i m of a curse which l i e s upon h i s f a m i l y and thus h i s own g u i l t i s an ambiguous t h i n g . He s u f f e r s against a back-ground of a Law which demands punishment and a promise from a god that he s h a l l be "saved". Oedipus at Colonus begins, as does Oedipus Rex, a f t e r the d e c i s i v e a c t of murder and i n c e s t has been committed. But Macbeth begins before anything has been done; Macbeth i s presented w i t h a p o s s i b i l i t y and he chooses to b e l i e v e t h a t he can make i t a r e a l i t y . We are allowed to see the moment at which g u i l t appears i n the i n d i v i d u a l . Macbeth becomes g u i l t y b e f o r e the very image of h i m s e l f murdering Duncan. In Greek tragedy the g u i l t " i s o f t e n b l o o d - g u i l t , a curse which descends from one member of a f a m i l y to another and may devastate an e n t i r e house. But i n Macbeth the g u i l t begins i n the d e s i r e s of one man. Macbeth i s l e f t w i t h a personal despair which i s d i f f e r e n t from the s u f f e r i n g that Oedipus undergoes. In the novels of Thomas Hardy, the per s p e c t i v e on g u i l t has s h i f t e d from the p r i v a c y that surrounds Macbeth a t h i s death to the s o c i a l w orld of nineteenth century England. Michael Henchard i s perhaps c l o s e s t to Macbeth i n that he i s destroyed more by the forc e s i n h i s own person-a l i t y than by the pressures of e x t e r n a l s o c i e t y . But with Tess we have a heroine who i s "pure", a woman who i s defeated more as a r e s u l t of the f a i l i n g s i n a s o c i e t y than by any personal f a u l t s . There i s l i t t l e f e e l i n g of her having any p a r t i c u l a r " g u i l t " . Jude Fawley's p a r t i c u l a r "tragedy" a l s o must be seen i n terms of the s o c i e t y that moves around him, i t s laws and conventions. The g u i l t i s never e n t i r e l y h i s own, nor i s he simply an innocent v i c t i m . The presence of a d e f i n i t e s o c i e t y i s h a r d l y f e l t at a l l i n the two novels of Conrad. Jim i s a "romantic", a young man b a r e l y past adolescence who i s obsessed w i t h a concept of honour which he f e e l s he has betrayed i n a moment of cowardice. But he seems to become g u i l t y i n a deeper sense because of t h i s obsession; he betrays others by choosing to l i v e i n an imaginary world of romantic achievement. Nostromo i s a l s o obsessed w i t h a dream: to be a Man of the People. I f Conrad's characters become g u i l t y , i t i s because of t h e i r i n t e n s e egoism, t h e i r i n a b i l i t y to escape t h e i r passion f o r an idea. In Arthur M i l l e r ' s The C r u c i b l e the g u i l t of an i n d i v i d u a l seems l e s s important than the g u i l t present i n a s o c i e t y . That g u i l t i s an i l l u s i o n based on a f e a r of not conforming to a rigorous law. We are l e f t w i t h the tragedy of a s o c i e t y which must f i n d a v i c t i m to appease i t s own f e e l i n g of g u i l t . John Proctor i s one of the chosen v i c t i m s ; a man who must d i e tossave h i s i n t e g r i t y . But h i s death i s the r e s u l t of a web of g u i l t spread through an e n t i r e s o c i e t y . i i i TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter Page I n t r o d u c t i o n 1 1. Oedipus and Macbeth 8 2. Thomas Hardy 22 3. Joseph Conrad 51 4. Arthur M i l l e r ' s The C r u c i b l e 75 Conclusion 85 Notes 8 9 L i s t of Works Consulted 93 INTRODUCTION A man who was once asked what he thought of King Lear, r e p l i e d that the play was about the d i f f i c u l t y of being human. This remark might be a p p l i e d to any t r a g i c work and there are many who would be content not to say any more, b e l i e v i n g that what i s s a i d or thought w i l l always be so much l e s s than what i s known. And yet any one of the works I am d e a l i n g w i t h exerts a f a s c i n a t i o n which draws one on, as i f there were something present i n the work and one could never be s a t i s f i e d u n t i l i t was caught. Any w r i t i n g on tragedy seems to become entranced by the hope that there i s a center to t r a g i c experience and t h a t i n d i v i d u a l works only present v a r i a t i o n s upon i t . But my purpose i s not to propound a theory nor to s a c r i f i c e closeness to the o r i g i n a l work f o r the sake of consistency. I am approaching these works on the b a s i s of two preoccupations: g u i l t and self-knowledge. They are c l o s e l y r e l a t e d and might even be drawn together i n one phrase: the consciousness of g u i l t . But i n l o o k -i n g at the p a r t i c u l a r works i t becomes obvious that g u i l t i s not a simple or absolute t h i n g ; the b l o o d - g u i l t which Oedipus s u f f e r s under i s d i f f e r e n t from the g u i l t of Macbeth or the g u i l t present i n the members of the community of Salem, Massachusetts. Oedipus s u f f e r s a gainst a background which i s cosmic i n scope but M i l l e r ' s p l a y moves against the more narrow confines of a New England community. There are d i f f e r e n c e s here both i n what the author i s given and i n what he does 2 w i t h i t . Sophocles may be working out of a very d i f f e r e n t understanding of the nature of man than Shakespeare. But t h e i r work i s n ' t an i l l u s -t r a t i o n of a theory of human nature; i t passes beyond t h a t . And here something must be s a i d on the question of i n t e n t i o n i n a work of a r t . For a p l a y o r novel i s not produced a c c i d e n t a l l y ; i t can only be given l i f e by the st r e n g t h of the i n t e n t i o n working through i t , whether i t be conscious o r otherwise. Unconscious i n t e n t i o n may seem l i k e a c o n t r a -d i c t i o n ; but i n t e n t i o n e x i s t s at a l e v e l deeper than that of a man w r i t i n g a t a l e f o r the sake of a t i d y moral l e s s o n . In an essay l a r g e l y devoted to Ki n g Lear, Frank Kermode chose to speak of the t e x t of the play as "obsessive"'."'' The word wasn't used i n any p a t h o l o g i c a l sense but ra t h e r t o . d e s c r i b e those concerns i n the play which are d r i v e n towards one again and again u n t i l they exert some deep f a s c i n a t i o n on the mind. The i d e a of a u t h o r i t y and the body of the k i n g o r the recurrence of the simple word "nothing" i n Lear suggest a d e l i b e r a t e p a t t e r n , not one whose coordinates are n e a t l y p l o t t e d out before the play i s w r i t t e n but a p a t t e r n which i s only completed i n the play and which gives the t e x t that "obsessive" q u a l i t y which seems to be p r e s s i n g against the very l i m i t s of thought. A l l w r i t i n g begins w i t h i n the l i m i t s of what one knows and yet i t may b r i n g i n t o question t h a t very knowledge. One can w r i t e a tragedy using very s p e c i f i c r u l e s of c o n s t r u c t i o n and so f u l f i l l one k i n d of i n -t e n t i o n w i t h admirable consistency but t h i s i s nothing compared w i t h the deeper i n t e n t i o n that animates Macbeth or The Mayor of Casterbridge or Lord Jim. This concern w i t h i n t e n t i o n i s not an attempt to reduce the work to the neuroses of i t s author. Macbeth i s not a "personal" p l a y i n 3 that sense; the w r i t e r i s not caught so e a s i l y . Such a reading speaks i of a work of a r t as i f i t were the expression of c e r t a i n problems which could be cured l e a v i n g the p a t i e n t "normal"! But the d i f f i c u l t y of being human i s not a t h i n g which should be cured. Despair may be made l e s s o f f e n s i v e by covering i t w i t h a euphemism l i k e "depression" but i t remains despair a l l the same. One l i k e s to t h i n k that a work of a r t r e f l e c t s human nature as i t was, i s , and s h a l l be. To a c e r t a i n extent t h i s i s t r u e ; one must l i v e a very " s a f e " l i f e to escape human nature. But what I have s a i d of i n t e n t i o n suggests that any given work i s a combination of an i n -h e r i t e d way of understanding human experience and an a b i l i t y to go beyond what i s simply given. A work of f i c t i o n may be based upon very elaborate metaphors of human nature but there i s an element of f r e e pl a y w i t h i n the work which prevents a simple r e d u c t i o n of the work to a set of e a s i l y s t a t e d ideas. I f there i s some center of experience where g u i l t and s u f f e r i n g l i e c l o s e together, i t can only be approached through the metaphors of a f i c t i o n . And t h i s f i c t i o n w i l l be a game of p u r s u i t and capture, a hope that what matters i s f i n a l l y s a i d . N e i t h e r what i s given nor what the author does w i t h i t can be ignored i n comparing these works. Oedipus moves against a background of cosmic law and he knows hims e l f and h i s s u f f e r i n g as p a r t of that p a t t e r n . Behind Lord Jim there i s no such p a t t e r n ; h i s nature i s reduced to some-th i n g p u r e l y s u b j e c t i v e . M i l l e r ' s play turns away from t h i s k i n d of intense p r i v a c y and presents a man who l i v e s w i t h i n a s o c i e t y and refuses to be alone. I t i s not enough to ask how f a r each character i s conscious of whatever guilt he may feel. One i s also led to ask whether Sophocles and Conrad, for example, have a different under-standing of the limits of human personality. This is not an inquiry Into different theories of human nature, for what we have in a f i c t i o n a l work is not theory. The blood guilt that haunts Oedipus is not an idea but a powerful presence, equal to that of the law he has offended. In Oedipus at Colonus we have the sacred grove where Oedipus meets the god who comes for him but in a work like Lord Jim there is no "place" where any reconciliation can occur, for Conrad's characters seem to l i v e completely within their own vision of things and that privacy can find no external representation. In these works a particular vision i s explored to i t s limits. An author may not escape what is given him by temperament or society but he may exhaust i t s p o s s i b i l i t i e s . To give a clearer example of what I mean by different understand-ings of the limits of human personality I would l i k e to present some of the questions that arise from a reading of Oedipus at Colonus and Macbeth. There is a greater period of time between these two works than between any of the others I am dealing with and there seems to be an equally great difference in the understanding of what "gu i l t " involves. Why does personal guilt never really become a question for Oedipus? Does he ever think upon his errors in the way that Macbeth does? Is there even a word in Greek which is the equivalent of the word "sin" and what i t would imply in Christian belief? Is the kind of despair that Macbeth f a l l s into conceivable in Greek drama? Is there such a thing 5 as "remorse" in the latter? Is i t important that there are no "individ-uals" in a play lik e Oedipus at Colonus? To ignore these questions, or to read Sophocles for the sake of the kind of psychological insights one might expect in Shakespeare, could only lead to confusion. To speak of the god who comes for Oedipus in the grove in the same terms as the "grace" which Macbeth despairs of, is to confuse things which may be irreconcilable. But these problems must be l e f t to the opening chapter. Northrop Frye has remarked that tragedy "seems to elude the antithesis of moral responsibility and arbitrary fate, just as i t eludes 2 the antithesis of good and e v i l " . This i s an important thought to keep in mind even before the small selection of works I am dealing with. A man who was totally responsible would be inhuman; he would have limitless consciousness which understood every act he committed. A victim of an arbitrary fate would only be pathetic and of no deeper interest. So too with good and e v i l : they cannot be absolute. There is always something ambiguous in the guilt which the protagonist suffers under. This is not to say that they escape judgment for tragedy i s , in a sense, profoundly moral. There is something in i t more v i t a l than the prospect of limitless pain and suffering. To c a l l Macbeth a wicked man because of his ambition is a rather glib judgment. But to think that he isn't judged and condemned in a deeper sense is a worse error. This judgment is not a matter of applying given standards to what one sees. The despair which Macbeth f i n a l l y succumbs to i s a result of a series of choices by which he has condemned himself. One i s l e f t with the certainty that he is lost. The work does not become a statement on 6 the f u t i l i t y of l i f e ; i t has to do w i t h a more p a r t i c u l a r judgement, a more p a r t i c u l a r despair. A c l o s e r look at the works I am concerned w i t h w i l l give a c l e a r e r i d e a of t h i s q u a l i t y of judgement. A f t e r that has been done we may be i n a b e t t e r p o s i t i o n t o compare the o r i g i n s of the p a r t i -c u l a r g u i l t that l i e s behind each of these c h a r a c t e r s . I f there i s a common element, i t might be c a l l e d "possession"- The d e s i r e f o r mastery, ambition, or honour i s pursued at t e r r i b l e c o s t . Often the t h i n g which the p r o t a g o n i s t most d e s i r e s escapes him w h i l e a t h i n g of f a r greater value i s betrayed and l o s t as a r e s u l t . At the center of the t r a g i c f i g u r e there o f t e n seems to be a great egoism which has a l l i t s d e s i r e f i x e d upon some v a n i s h i n g p o i n t . I t i s only j u s t that what i s betrayed i s u s u a l l y something which cannot be possessed at a l l . But the degree to which the p r o t a g o n i s t understands the source of h i s s u f f e r -i n g w i l l o bviously vary. The forces which d r i v e Oedipus or Macbeth towards t h e i r end are q u i t e d i f f e r e n t from the f a b r i c of s o c i a l law which someone l i k e Jude must contend w i t h . With Conrad a l l s o c i e t y seems s t r i p p e d away and the p r i v a t e v i s i o n s of h i s characters threaten to swallow everything. J im dies i n the triumph of h i s own v i s i o n . His imagination almost succeeds i n r e c r e a t i n g the world about him but there i s s t i l l t h i s shadow of g u i l t about him as i f he too were f i n a l l y judged. Arthur M i l l e r chooses to move away from t h i s p r i v a c y and go beyond the d i s c l o s u r e of g u i l t to prove t h a t i t i s the greatest of our i l l u s i o n s . A s o c i e t y i n i t s e l f now becomes the f o c a l p o i n t where g u i l t and the con-sciousness of that g u i l t are s t u d i e d . 7 I OEDIPUS AND MACBETH In the introduction I said that there was a great difference between these two works in their respective treatments of guilt. The awareness of this difference arose from an attempt to answer the ques-tion, How is Oedipus "saved"? It is possible for Oedipus to be saved but in reading Macbeth one knows that he w i l l never be. Why? Why i s i t more d i f f i c u l t to speak of guilt in connection with Oedipus than with Macbeth? Is guilt understood differently i n the former? And i f so, what is the origin of the difference? We may as well begin with the story i t s e l f . It i s deceptively simple,and abrupt. The house of Labdacus has offended the gods and brought upon i t s e l f a curse, revealed to Laius in the prophecy that his son w i l l k i l l him. The son, Oedipus, is l e f t on a mountain-side and raised in a foreign court; he i s told of the prophecy but, being ignor-ant of who he i s , he comes to f u l f i l l i t . In Oedipus Rex this s i t u -ation is f u l l y revealed and Oedipus is driven from Thebes. Oedipus at  Colonus is the consummation of this suffering as the forces which demanded the fulfillment of the curse come to draw Oedipus into the earth. The story is bare in outline yet i t opens up an ambiguity surrounding the question of guilt which we must come to terms with. Oedipus i s caught in a family curse; the whole pattern which he is to enact is already there waiting for him. He does not choose to commit i 8 any e v i l act. He has heard the oracle's warning that he w i l l k i l l his father but he doesn't know who he is and so unwittingly f u l f i l l s the pattern. His guilt, i f i t may be called that, is discovered not chosen. It is only after the discovery that he wishes, out of a feeling of s e l f -contempt, to take a l l the guilt upon himself. But i t i s not so much self-contempt as a feeling of being unclean. He is the same man, there is no change within. Martin Heidegger's fascinating essay on the play develops the idea that the work is a "tragedy of appearance"."'' This phrase is very accurate provided one understands a l l that i t implies. For in these plays guilt i s not understood as an inward corruption of the w i l l as i t appears to be in Macbeth. It is not the result of a conscious choice made by a character. When Oedipus Rex begins the principal actions have already been committed. This i s not just a matter of Sophocles being able to depend on his audience for knowing the story. For suppose Sophocles had written a play in which he showed Oedipus k i l l i n g his father and marrying his mother. There would have been nothing remarkable in these incidents, no question of a man forced to the kind of choices that Mac-beth must make. When Oedipus Rex begins everything is already finished; the decisive actions have been committed, the curse has been f u l f i l l e d . A l l that remains is the powerful movement of disclosure, of bringing things into the l i g h t . The beginning is so different from the opening scene of Macbeth in which nothing has yet been done, where Macbeth is faced with the baffling prophecies of the witches and chooses to believe that he w i l l be king. 9 This element of choice i s important f o r Macbeth i s deeply i m p l i c a t e d i n h i s g u i l t i n a way that Oedipus i s not. Oedipus cannot escape the curse; he i s never faced w i t h the choice of a v o i d i n g i t . I t i s true t h a t he leaves C o r i n t h i n the b e l i e f that he i s escaping the curse. But i n f a c t he i s walking d i r e c t l y i n t o i t . And the choice he makes i s not any weighing of p o s s i b i l i t i e s w i t h i n h i m s e l f . I t i s simply a d e c i s i o n to avoid something which he has been t o l d w i l l happen. Despite h i s d e c i s i o n to leave the c i t y there i s never any p o s s i b i l i t y that he can escape. One can't help but f e e l t h a t Macbeth has chosen h i s d e s t r u c t i o n i n a way that makes him r e s p o n s i b l e or g u i l t y i n a pro-founder, or at l e a s t d i f f e r e n t , way than Oedipus. Behind Oedipus i s the f a m i l y curse which he i n h e r i t s but f o r Macbeth the a c t i o n begins w i t h i n h i m s e l f , i n a d e c i s i o n which he makes out of some personal c o r r u p t i o n . The element of w i l l i s now present. But we can consider these ideas i n more depth by l o o k i n g at Oedipus at Colonus. Here I must r e t u r n to t h i s word "appearance", f o r i n the p l a y so many of the important problems are given a strange immedi-acy. The drama i t s e l f presents us w i t h masked c h a r a c t e r s , not f u l l y r e a l i z e d i n d i v i d u a l s . One cannot t r e a t Oedipus as i f he were a p a r t i c u l a r man w i t h p a r t i c u l a r problems. For Oedipus has no p r i v a t e h i s t o r y ; h i s a c t i o n s don't r e s u l t from any weighing of p o s s i b i l i t i e s . The very manner i n which he i s f i n a l l y "saved" says a great deal about the nature of h i s s u f f e r i n g . Just as he became the v i c t i m of the curse through a k i n d of n e c e s s i t y o u t s i d e of h i m s e l f , so too the "consummation" which he i s granted i n the grove comes as a promise. I t i s important that A p o l l o , 10 when he foretold the curse to Oedipus, also gave him the promise of the f i n a l resting place. The blessing and the curse came i n the same breath; no freedom of choice was allowed in either case. But the very phrase "freedom of choice" seems out of place here, as i f i t were not a question of that kind of freedom. As Oedipus at Colonus begins, we are not presented with anything resembling a choice; Oedipus' situation i s before us with a visual imme-diacy. It i s almost the complete reverse of the beginning of Oedipus  Rex. There we find the suppliants coming to Oedipus because the city of Thebes and the surrounding countryside have been stricken with the plague. In the later play, Oedipus has been reduced to a beggar who comes upon the sacred grove as was foretold. We are not led into the private thoughts of Oedipus as we are with Macbeth. So much seems to exist on the level of action. And this quality is not restricted to Oedipus at Colonus. Elsewhere in Sophocles' dramas an actual physical condition w i l l set the protagonist apart from others. Philoctetes comes upon a shrine by accident and is bitten by a snake, as a result of which he has a running sore on one leg. The putrifaction becomes so bad that he must be aban-doned on an island. Antigone risks death because her brother's body is unburied and serves as food for dogs and birds. Oedipus' error reveals i t s e l f as a plague upon his country. Yet the hero usually has a strange a b i l i t y which makes him necessary to others. Philoctetes has his bow, Oedipus his a b i l i t y to solve the sphinx's riddle and later, the holiness of his person. A curse or a blessing is often revealed in a very d i s -tinct outward sign. We cannot then speak of whatever guilt the pro-11 t a g o n i s t may have as a " s t a t e of mind". We could use t h i s phrase of Macbeth i n r e f e r r i n g to the element of choice which he has before committing murder. But Oedipus' " g u i l t " i s imposed upon him. o r , as I s a i d above, discovered, not chosen. The play begins w i t h the approach to the grove. This apparent accident i s l i n k e d to f a t e by the prophecy of A p o l l o j u s t as Oedipus' murder of h i s f a t h e r , which f i r s t appears as a t e r r i b l e t r i c k of chance, reveals i t s e l f to be part of a design. The grove i s sacred to the Eumenides. Since they are c e n t r a l to the p l a y , we must come to some understanding of what they represent. They are presented as a f o r c e capable of both tenderness and power. At one p o i n t they are c a l l e d "daughters of darkness and mysterious earth"(40) and the " l a d i e s whose 2 eyes are t e r r i b l e " ( 8 4 ) . But the chorus w i l l c a l l them the "gentle of heart"(487). In the great c h o r a l ode d e s c r i b i n g the grove and ending i n the p r a i s e of Athens, i t i s p o s s i b l e to see the r o l e of the Eumenides set i n a l a r g e r context. I t begins by d e s c r i b i n g that enclosed place where the god moves. I t i s "untrodden"(673), undisturbed, and r i c h w i t h leaves, b e r r i e s and i v y . No wind or r a i n d i s t u r b s i t and among the shadows may be seen Dionysus and h i s maenads. The o r i g i n a l prophecy that Oedipus would come to the grove was spoken by A p o l l o and yet w i t h i n the quietness of the grove there i s some dark, w i l d t h i n g , a v i o l e n c e of emotion t h a t belongs to Dionysus and i s shared i n par t by the f u r i e s . But the ode doesn't d w e l l on t h i s q u a l i t y ; i t moves toward images of b r i g h t , b r i l l i a n t t h i n g s . We have the c l u s t e r s of the n a r c i s s u s , the blooming crocus, then the " d i v i n i t y of love"(692) w i t h the gold r e i n s i n 12 her hand. The p r a i s e of the o l i v e t r e e and Athens leads to the f i n a l image of the beauty of the w i l d horses tamed and the oarsmen rowing across the water i n steady rhythm. The p o s s i b l e t e r r o r h i n t e d at i n the opening passage i s taken up i n t o t h i s b r i g h t world at the c o n c l u s i o n of the ode. But the t e r r o r i s contained, not done away w i t h . I t seems to w a i t q u i e t l y , w i t h the f o r c e of a law more b a s i c than any human law. But what i s t h i s presenceoof the law which seems so powerful? I t i s found throughout Greek thought. In H e r a c l i t u s there i s the f o l l o w -in g d e s c r i p t i o n of the f u r i e s : "The sun w i l l not overstep h i s measures; 3 i f he does, the E r i n y e s , the handmaids of J u s t i c e , w i l l f i n d him out". Does Sophocles a l s o look upon the f u r i e s as t h i s f o r c e of nemesis? Is the phrase " k i n d l y ones" simply used to appease a f o r c e which i s any-t h i n g but k i n d l y ? And does A p o l l o represent something which i s a part of t h i s f o r c e or i s he opposed to i t as i n Aeschylus' The Eumenides? The concluding scene of the p l a y , i n which Oedipus i s f i n a l l y taken by the god, may b r i n g us c l o s e r to an answer. A f t e r P o l y n i c e s has l e f t , the chorus can only conclude t h a t they have witnessed a "new form of terror"(1449) working through a d e s t i n y they can h a r d l y understand. Their thoughts are suddenly i n t e r r u p t e d by a l i g h t n i n g f l a s h and " w i l d thunder" begins to break about them.. Their prayer to the god who w i l l b r i n g a "sword of darkness" i s a simple s u p p l i c a t i o n : "Come not f o r our confusion"(1483). About Oedipus stand the " t i r e l e s s f u r i e s " , the r e p -r e s e n t a t i v e s of a v i o l a t e d law t h a t demands r e t r i b u t i o n . And yet Oedipus has been promised f u l f i l l m e n t . I t i s important here t h a t no one seems c e r t a i n whether the v o i c e t h a t c a l l s through the grove comes from "above" 13 or "below", whether I t i s a k i n d of forgiveness or a judgement. Once the chorus has made i t s prayer f o r mercy, Oedipus hopes that Theseus w i l l come q u i c k l y and r e c e i v e h i s b l e s s i n g . When Theseus comes, Oedipus r e v e a l s that the place of h i s death w i l l be sacred and h i s body w i l l . k e e p Athens safe from enemies. Once he has l e f t , the chorus begins another prayer addressed to the underworld, f i n a l l y to death i t s e l f , asking that Oedipus may have f i n a l peace. Then the messenger enters and gives h i s famous account of Oedipus' death. A f t e r the l i b a -t i o n to the dead and the promise from Theseus to take care of h i s daughters, the grove i s f i l l e d w i t h the w i l d c a l l of the god as the messenger and g i r l s withdraw. They look back only to see Theseus w i t h h i s hands before h i s f a c e , hidden from something unendurable. Once again there i s u n c e r t a i n t y as to the o r i g i n of what he has seen. While Antigone sees only " b e w i l d e r i n g mystery"(1678) i n t h i s event, Theseus adds a more d e f i n i t e comment: " R e t r i b u t i o n comes"(1753). The law i s s a t i s f i e d i n an act which seems both judgement and b e n e d i c t i o n . Can these things be r e c o n c i l e d or does the play d r i v e towards some paradox that f r u s t r a t e s f u r t h e r thought? The d i f f i c u l t y present here i s not un-l i k e t h a t found i n Oedipus' s u f f e r i n g . At one p o i n t he says the f o l l o w -in g : And y e t , how was I e v i l i n myself? I had been wronged, I r e t a l i a t e d : even had I Known what I was doing, was that e v i l ? Then, knowing nothing, I went on. Went on. But those who wronged me knew, and ruined me.(270-4) There i s the c o n t r a d i c t i o n i n h i s g u i l t , the f a c t that the crime was both h i s and not h i s , t h a t h i s a c t i o n s were the r e v e l a t i o n of a v i o l a t e d law 14 which he was not directly responsible for. Is i t possible to escape that relentless law? Is that what Oedipus' meeting with the god signifies? It is difficult to talk of i t as "forgiveness" for the word seems to make no sense here. Oedipus undergoes a change in status, from the humiliated beggar to the legendary figure whose body gives protection against enemies. In death he is granted a powerful influence on the living. His value is understood in terms of its effects on others. We are not led into his private thoughts or emotions as we are with Macbeth. The latter is brought down to a private despair and this is at the center of the play as i t draws to its conclusion. But at the end of Oedipus at Colonus one seems to be left with great con-tending forces which are larger than any individual. The law which demands punishment for blood guilt and the promise from Apollo of a "consummation" can never be finally reconciled. At the end of the play they appear like two lines which are about to converge, but the point at which they meet is hidden. The great conception of law embodied in the Eumenides can never be at one. with the consummation promised by Apollo for the punishment which the law demands is never finished. It is interesting that in Aeschylus' play, The Eumenides, the furies can not be answered on their own terms. Their endless circle of crime and punishment can only be stopped by an act on the part of some force greater than themselves. And yet that force, represented by Apollo and Athene, is barely equal to the furies and only succeeds in the end by persuasion. Sophocles does not present the opposition between the furies and Apollo in such clearly recognizable form nor does he drive i t 15 towards the k i n d of conc l u s i o n found i n The Eumenides. But the t e n s i o n between a law demanding punishment and a hoped f o r consummation i s at the center of the play. As I s a i d b e f o r e , these concerns are presented w i t h a power of appearance; they are not fought out on some personal l e v e l . Oedipus does not fear g u i l t as something that he i s p e r s o n a l l y r e s p o n s i b l e f o r . He has more f e a r of bein g thought g u i l t y by others. But Macbeth f i n d s h i m s e l f i n a p r i v a t e despair where he i s q u i t e beyond the reach of others. Oedipus f i n d s h i s consummation i n the sacred grove of the Eumenides, a pla c e set o f f i n space and time where personal w i l l and des t i n y may meet. The c l o s e s t : t h i n g to the f u r i e s i n Macbeth would be the three witches who a l s o have some r e l a t i o n t o "d e s t i n y " . But to what space and time do they belong? They begin the play w i t h the quest i o n , "When s h a l l we three meet again?" And the answer i s l i k e a r i d d l e : "When the h u r l y b u r l y ' s done,/When the b a t t l e ' s l o s t and won." The r e p e t i t i o n of "when" gives us a time which i s u n c e r t a i n . The l o c a t i o n seems to be anywhere on the heath and u n t i l they meet they w i l l wander through "fog and f i l t h y a i r " . The Eumenides o f f e r a r e s o l u -16 tion to Oedipus' l i f e but the three witches can hardly be called an end to anything. Like the Greek oracle, they predict what w i l l come. But Oedipus was not faced with the choice of interpreting the prediction as he pleased. He was simply told he would k i l l his father and marry his mother. In Macbeth's meeting with the witches the importance l i e s in- what he chooses to believe. And that choice is not determined simply by what the witches offer him, but by something in his own nature which forces him in a certain direction. The witches offer him a possible fulfillment of his own. desires. They seem much closer to a fatal process working within Macbeth himself than to some independent force of destiny. The very language they use i s part of a pattern whereby things are doubled or tripled into re a l i t y and false appearances: there is the confusion of f a i r and foul, the image of the two swimmers who "cling together and choke their art"(1.2.9), the strokes of Macbeth in battle which are "doubly redoubled" while he surrounds himself with countless "images of death". The play begins like an entry into a h a l l of mirrors where the mirror images tend to be more fascinating than the figure that causes them. But there is more at stake here than just the difference between what i s illusory and what is real. Macbeth must, come to terms with a world that is equivocal, a world that eludes any attempt to grasp i t . Banquo's question for the witches i s , "Are you aught that man may question"(l.3.42). Do they see into the "seeds of time" or are they nothing more than a false projection? They at least bring things within the "prcspect of belief", within that space where the mind w i l l see them 17 as a pos s i b i l i t y . When Macbeth is f i r s t confronted by the sisters he i s cautioned by Banquo: But ' t i s strange: And oftentimes, to win us to our harm, The instruments of Darkness t e l l us truths; Win us with honest t r i f l e s , to betray's In deepest consequence. (1.3.122-6) The weird sisters come out of darkness and then return to i t . They offer a man something which answers to his own desire to collapse time into the present. They aren't the agents of some god but only the instruments of a darkness which conceals human possi b i l i t y . Macbeth i s at f i r s t baffled by their predictions but very soon the idea of f u l f i l l i n g those predictions himself comes to him. But i t hardly comes by any direct act of w i l l ; a "horrid image" of himself murdering Duncan arises as suddenly as the witches from the heath. This sudden inclination to murder can't be explained as arising from any flaw, such as ambition, in his character. When we speak of a "flaw", we are trying to explain e v i l . But the idea of a flaw cnly sets a boundary around e v i l and gives i t a definite place. I could say that Macbeth is subject to the corruption of the w i l l as a result of original sin. But again I have simply given e v i l a name. At what point does guilt begin in Macbeth? Perhaps this question can never be answered, for i t would require more than the play gives us. Here we can only look at the forms that guilt takes and follow them to their end. Despite his feeling of horror he i s , at the same time, fascinated by this image, or rather he allows i t to affect him. The result of this movement of fascination/repulsion i s that "function is smother'd in surmise,/And nothing i s , but what is not" 18 (1.3.141). The equivocation of the witches i s taken over by Macbeth, who enters i n t o a d e l i b e r a t e d i s t o r t i o n of the world around him. Murder presents i t s e l f as an image which i s as f a l s e and yet compel-l i n g as the "air-drawn dagger". He w i l l be ruined by these very doubles and i l l u s i o n s which h i s mind cr e a t e s . At the end of Act I , Scene 1 Macbeth i s s t i l l w i l l i n g to a l l o w "Chance" to crown him: "Come what come may,/Time and the hour runs through the roughest day"(1.3.147). Time and i t s movement i s accepted here; he s t i l l f e e l s no need to take i t i n h i s hands and shape i t to h i s own w i l l . But at the end of the next scene h i s d e s i r e has taken another t u r n : S t a r s , hide your f i r e s ! Let not l i g h t . s e e my b l a c k and deep d e s i r e s ; The eye wink at the hand; yet l e t that be, Which the eye f e a r s , when i t i s done, to see.(1.4.50) He w i l l have h i s d e s i r e work i n secret so c r e a t i n g a d i v i s i o n i n pe r -s o n a l i t y i t s e l f . He wants to give h i m s e l f the s t r e n g t h of pure i n t e n t i o n untouched by doubt. Lady Macbeth t r i e s to do the same when she. asks to be. unsexed but her attempt ends i n madness. This d i s i n t e g r a t i o n cannot be separated from the problem of time which runs p a r a l l e l to i t . In h i s l e t t e r to h i s w i f e , Macbeth t e l l s of how the s i s t e r s r e f e r r e d him to the "coming on of time". They o f f e r him the p o s s i b i l i t y of becoming k i n g but, "when I burn'd i n d e s i r e to question them f u r t h e r , they made themselves i n t o a i r , i n t o which they vanished"(1.5.5). Macbeth w i l l defy t h i s "coming on" by t r y i n g to draw the f u t u r e i n t o h i m s e l f . By a t e r r i b l e irony h i s a c t u a l f a t e w i l l be to enter a s m a l l room where there i s only a clock, t i c k i n g on the w a l l , marking cut an endless s e r i e s of 19 tomorrows. " I f i t were done, when ' t i s done, then 'twere w e l l / I t were done quickly...."(1.7.1) Once the a c t i o n i s decided upon speed be-comes a n e c e s s i t y . Macbeth must l i f t the act out of time a l t o g e t h e r , f o r otherwise he w i l l be betrayed by the consequences. The r e p e t i t i o n of "here" i n t h i s opening speech serves to emphasize t h a t temporal world that Macbeth w i l l never get beyond. The s t r u g g l e w i t h t h i s u n r e s i s t i n g world produces such f a l s e images as the dagger. This i s a p p r o p r i a t e l y c a l l e d a " f a t a l v i s i o n " s i n c e i t w i l l draw him on to h i s doom. I t seems to be only a "dagger of the mind" produced by the "heat-oppressed b r a i n " (2.1.39). This i s accompanied by a confusion i n the world of nature, the macrocosm. Nature now seems dead and dreams become nightmares; murder i s l i k e a ghost moving toward h i s "design". This i s the dark world Macbeth evoked when he wished that h i s d e s i r e s might work i n s e c r e t . Only i n the darkness can they be completed f o r here a l l acts w i l l have the q u a l i t y of suddenness. They w i l l appear to be without e i t h e r o r i g i n or consequence. Murder w i l l come l i k e a ghost, yet w i t h " r a v i s h i n g s t r i d e " , and f a l l upon i t s v i c t i m w i t h the suddenness of an animal. Macbeth wants a world where there i s no c o n t i n u i t y , where every act i s separate and alone. The r e s u l t s of t h i s d e s i r e are a t e r r i b l e sense of confinement and a f e e l i n g of being d i v i d e d a g a i n s t oneself. Once Macbeth has committed the murder, everything around him seems to threaten h i s peace. Macbeth f e e l s t h a t Banquo i s an enemy, "and i n such bloody distance,/That every minute of h i s being t h r u s t s / A g a i n s t my near'st of l i f e " ( 3 . 1 . 1 1 5 ) . The 20 metaphor here i s taken from fencing, the "distance" being the space between combatants. Here Macbeth imagines himself and Banquo drawn into a terrible c i r c l e from which neither can escape u n t i l one dies. And this threat comes to him every minute in time. To dispel this fear he w i l l k i l l Banquo but this only drives him deeper into fear since Fleance escapes: "Then comes my f i t again: I had else been/perfect..."(3.4.20) To be perfect he would have to step out of time altogether, instead of which he finds himself confined i n a smaller and smaller space as his fears c i r c l e about him. Only death seems to answer his need for peace: Better be with the dead, Whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace, Than on the torture of the mind to l i e In restless ecstasy. (3.2.20-3) Failing to achieve this peace, he is l e f t "cabin'd, cribb'd, confin'd, bound in/To saucy doubts and fears"(3.4.23). Macbeth i s the victim of this "ecstasy" in a small space. The word implies that he has lost himself and hence can no longer control the fears that surround him. But this fear is really a dread before nothing, before the illusions of a "heat-oppressed brain". Rosse w i l l speak closer to the heart of the matter than he can imagine when he describes the present time: I dare not speak much further: But cruel are the times, when we are traitors, And do not know ourselves; when we hold rumour From what we fear, yet know not what we fear, But float upon a wild and violent sea Each way (4.2.17-22) This violence gives way f i n a l l y to the despair of a l i f e in endless time. In such a world there can be no forgiveness since, like grace, forgiveness is an act which willingly forgets the consequences of an act 21 in time. Without i t , there i s only a deeper and more unrelieved guilt. Macbeth never speaks of any guilt, rather he feels i t s presence in terms of a loss of freedom. He feels a kind of suffocation and sickness at heart. Such a feeling may produce fear, pettiness and silence, and the imagery of the play as i t draws to i t s close tends to give this impression; Macbeth's t i t l e becomes " l i k e a giant's robe/Upon a dwarfish thief"(5.3.21-22). Nevertheless Macbeth decides to fight to the end, but i t i s a resolution born of desperation and solitude. And this solitude is part of a sense of limitation unlike any-thing in the tragedies of Sophocles. Whatever l i e s beyond man seems to be less stable, more a reflection of personal doubt or confusion. There i s no god who comes forward to meet the hero at any point. In fact as Macbeth moves towards the darkness that the weird sisters come out of, he seems to meet only a reflection of his own errant desires. 22 2 THOMAS HARDY In November of 1885, Hardy made the following entry in his note-book: "Tragedy. It may be put thus i n brief: a tragedy exhibits a state of things i n the l i f e of an individual which unavoidably causes some natural aim or desire of his to end i n a catastrophe when carried out. The most obvious thing about this passage i s that i t i s a description of a process or a plot. As such, i t could apply to almost any tragic work. But when we turn to some apparently innocuous phrase l i k e "a state of things" we are involved i n something more complex, for behind that phrase l i e s an understanding of human suffering or human guilt which may change with time. The "state of things" within Oedipus is quite different from that within Macbeth. Oedipus cannot escape his fate; he i s not put in the position where he can make any definite choice. He discovers what he has done only after the act is committed. But Macbeth i s given a prophecy which allows him to believe that certain deliberate actions on his part w i l l make i t come true. He believes that he can possess power just as he believes that he can collapse a l l time into the present. But the result of his belief that he can control time is to find himself i n a world where time is endless. This element of free w i l l , even i f i t proves illusory, makes a great difference in how we understand these two figures. But what is the "state of things" within Michael Henchard or Tess 23 D u r b e y f i e l d or Jude Fawley? Has the p e r s p e c t i v e on s u f f e r i n g s h i f t e d as the understanding of the i n d i v i d u a l and nature changed? Jude's s u f f e r -i n g develops against a background of s o c i a l convention; there are no supernatural forces t r y i n g to destroy or save him. When the protagon-i s t i s no longer caught up i n a s t r u g g l e w i t h such f o r c e s , the reasons f o r h i s f a l l may be seen i n terms of human compulsion. When Hardy wants to give a name to that "vague t h r u s t i n g o r u r g i n g i n t e r n a l f o r c e 2 i n no predetermined d i r e c t i o n " which, he f e e l s , l i e s behind n a t u r a l appearances, he chooses the word " w i l l " . He admits t h a t the word may be i n a p p r o p r i a t e s i n c e what he i s d e s c r i b i n g i n v o l v e s no choice but rather works from some inner compulsion. But I t h i n k i t i s important t h a t h i s metaphor f o r the forces working through nature should be almost an o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n of human d e s i r e . In Sophocles, and to a l e s s e r extent i n Shakespeare, there i s the p o s s i b i l i t y that the p r o t a g o n i s t may be r e l e a s e d from the c i r c l e of crime and g u i l t by a fo r c e from beyond the n a t u r a l world, whether that f o r c e be c a l l e d " A p o l l o " or "grace". ;But i f the e x t e r n a l world i s capable of the same dark confusion as human emotion, then there i s no hope. These problems are b e t t e r understood by l o o k i n g at the novels. I want to begin w i t h a short passage from The Mayor of Casterbridge. I t occurs i n the chapter d e s c r i b i n g the death of Mrs. Henchard. E l i z a b e t h -Jane has been s i t t i n g at her bedside during the n i g h t : Between the hours at which the l a s t toss-pot went by and the f i r s t sparrow shook h i m s e l f , the s i l e n c e i n C a s t e r b r i d g e — b a r r i n g the sound of the watchman—was broken i n E l i z a b e t h ' s ear 24 only by the timepiece in the bedroom ticking frantically against the clock on the stairs; ticking harder and harder t i l l i t seemed to clang like a gong; and a l l this while the subtle-souled girl asking herself why she was born, why sitting in a room, and blinking at the candle; why things around her had taken the shape they wore in preference to every other possible shape. Why they stared at her so helplessly, as i f waiting for the touch of some wand that should release them from terres-t r i a l constraint; what that chaos called consciousness, which spun in her at this moment like a top, tended to, and began in. Her eyes f e l l together; she was awake, yet she was asleep.3 The passage comes like a pause in which the powerful movement of the novel is suddenly brought to rest. Everything is quite s t i l l , from the girl sitting alone in the room, to the furniture which seems to be waiting for some kind of release, to the darkness of the streets without. The ticking of a clock becomes a kind of obsession; its sound is made a l l the louder by the silence in which i t is heard. Apart from this certainty of time passing, there are very few things that appear to be stable. If we begin with the outer darkness in the streets, we hear nothing but the cry of a watchman as he passes. Within the room itself, where one might expect the familiar and reassuring, everything seems detached. Objects seem to stare at the girl as i f they refused to be a part of any familiar world. Finally we come to Elizabeth her-self but she has only questions. Why was she born, why is she suffering, where does consciousness begin and end? She is in that strange state between sleeping and waking, a state where one is repeatedly losing and finding one's self. 25 This passage describes the l i m i t s of her s u f f e r i n g . At the l i m i t of that s u f f e r i n g there i s only a f e e l i n g of a p e r s o n a l world breaking apart. Michael Henchard seems, at f i r s t appearance, to have a firmness of c o n v i c t i o n which i s the opposite of the strange nebulous s t a t e described above. But that very firmness i s a k i n d of compulsion, the o r i g i n s of which may be as i n d e f i n i t e as those of g u i l t . And Henchard i s o f t e n described as moving through a world as dark as the one t h a t E l i z a b e t h experiences. They are not allowed the assurance that there i s anything beyond t h a t world that could save them. One i s a l s o l e d to ask e x a c t l y what i t i s that Hardy's characters s t r u g g l e a g a i n s t . I mentioned e a r l i e r that the e x t e r n a l world seems to be d i v i d e d between the f o r c e of s o c i a l law and a l a r g e r n a t u r a l world which i s e i t h e r i n d i f f e r e n t or capable of a b l i n d c r u e l t y . In Sophocles and Shakespeare, though the tensions may be very great, there i s s t i l l some f e e l i n g of i n t e g r a t i o n between the p e r s o n a l , the s o c i a l and the n a t u r a l orders. One cannot speak of the " p o l i s " i n Greek l i f e without r e a l i z i n g t h a t i t i m p l i e s more than j u s t a world of s o c i a l law. I n Shakespeare, words such as "honour" and " n o b i l i t y " tend to reach beyond the s o c i a l sphere. But i n Hardy the t r a g i c f i g u r e may be locked i n a s t r u g g l e w i t h s o c i a l laws which have no meaning beyond the s o c i e t y i n which they operate. Tess and Jude are obvious examples of t h i s s h i f t towards s o c i a l tragedy. Henchard seems c l o s e r to a s t r u g g l e w i t h n a t u r a l f o r c e s , though even here the n a t u r a l world may remain i n d i f f e r e n t or r e f l e c t the emotional forces s t r u g g l i n g w i t h i n the man. A l l events i n the novel seem to p o i n t towards a kind of personal 26 f a t a l i s m , an impulse w i t h i n the man which must work i t s e l f out to the end. When he f i r s t appears walking down the road w i t h h i s w i f e he suggests a "dogged and c y n i c a l i n d i f f e r e n c e p e r s o n a l to h i m s e l f " . ^ This i n d i f f e r e n c e i s complicated by h i s i n s i s t e n c e on s u f f e r i n g , on extenuating nothing. Sometime i n h i s past l i f e , f o r whatever reason, he made some t e r r i b l e d e c i s i o n against h i m s e l f which r e s u l t s i n a r e f u s a l to accept or t o l e r a t e c e r t a i n t h i n g s i n himself or oth e r s . He dies " s e l f - a l i e n a t e d " , a phrase which a p p l i e s q u i t e a c c u r a t e l y to h i s l i f e . E x t e r n a l events seem created out of the man h i m s e l f . The t e r r i b l e coincidences of the co n c l u s i o n of the n o v e l — t h e s i g h t of h i s e f f i g y i n the stream when he i s about to k i l l h i m s e l f and the reappearance of the furmity woman—seem to be c a l l e d up by Henchard h i m s e l f . "Char-act e r I s f a t e " ^ : that i d e a i s confirmed i n the nov e l . Henchard i s compared to Faust, but the d e v i l he bargains w i t h i s e n t i r e l y w i t h i n h i m s e l f . This p e r s o n a l f a t a l i s m i s apparent i n h i s r e a c t i o n to h i s w i f e ' s l e t t e r t e l l i n g him that E l i z a b e t h i s not h i s c h i l d : "His usu a l h a b i t was not to consider whether d e s t i n y were hard upon him or n o t — t h e shape of h i s ideas i n cases of a f f l i c t i o n being simply a moody 'I am to s u f f e r , I pe r c e i v e ' . 'This much scourging, then, i s i t f o r me?' But now. through h i s passionate head there stormed t h i s t h o u g h t — t h a t the b l a s t i n g d i s -c l o s u r e was what he had deserved." He accepts s u f f e r i n g then, almost chooses i t , going on to conclude that perhaps i t i s deserved. Soon the n i g h t becomes a " f i e n d " : "Henchard, l i k e a l l h i s k i n d , was s u p e r s t i t i o u s , and he could not help t h i n k i n g that the concatenation of events t h i s 27 evening had produced was the scheme of some sinister intelligence bent on punishing him. Yet they had developed naturally."^ In these passages, Henchard has discovered fate, or at least his fate. It appears as a fiend which seems to be grinning back at him from the darkness. But behind this thought of something waiting for him i n the dark l i e s his own need for punishment. This need w i l l lead him so far as to dramatize his own ruin. Thus, when the Royal Personage passes through Casterbridge, Henchard appears dressed i n his old, worn clothes and makes his way up to the carriage, waving a small Union Jack i n his hand. Later, when he wanders alone over the countryside, he w i l l choose to wear the fine clothes that remind others of the state he has fallen from. He deliberately chooses to humiliate himself. In so doing, he imagines his actions as having a kind of tragic significance. But that significance is only recognized by himself, not by others. The events which stirred up these feelings were said to have "developed naturally". The relation between events and internal f e e l -ings raises important problems in the novel. In Sophocles and Shakespeare the tragic struggle takes place in a natural world where events may have some symbolic reference to the protagonist. When Oedipus finds his way into the sacred grove, his own struggle, his own desire, i s answered by something which comes out to meet him. In Hardy events may be part of a social fabric or they may be "chance" occurrences, seemingly arbitrary punishment which may be chosen. Two important pass-ages w i l l serve to make this clearer. The f i r s t is a description of Farfrae's introduction of the horse-drill to Casterbridge. Lucetta is 28 t r y i n g on some new clothes In her room: "Suddenly, a f t e r a rumbling of wheels, there were added to t h i s steady l i g h t a f a n t a s t i c s e r i e s of c i r c l i n g i r r a d i a t i o n s upon the c e i l i n g , and the companions turned g to the window." The l i g h t i s the r e s u l t of the h o r s e - d r i l l being drawn up i n the st r e e t opposite the window: "The machine was painted i n br i g h t hues of green, yellow, and red, and i t resembled as a whole a compound of hornet, grasshopper, and shrimp, magnified enormously". What i s the purpose of introducing t h i s f a n t a s t i c piece of machinery? Machinery of t h i s kind i s often used by Hardy to suggest the i n f l u e n c e of new methods of farming and t h e i r tendency to destroy the old commun-i t i e s . This i s even more apparent i n the d e s c r i p t i o n of the threshing machine i n Tess. But the machine also points to what i s happening between Farfrae and Henchard. The former appears simultaneously with the machine and soon a f t e r comes Henchard. He condemns the thing as another "new-fangled" idea introduced by Farfrae. The l a t t e r i s associated with an industrious s o c i e t y which i n Tess, i s even more given to r e l e n t l e s s mechanism and v i c i o u s pleasures. The r e l a t i o n between Farfrae and Henchard i s thus given a s o c i a l dimension, but t h i s does not account f o r a l l that i s happening, for there e x i s t s more between the two men than the c o n f l i c t of an old and a new s o c i e t y . The i n t r o d u c t i o n of the machine i s another proof of Farfrae's boundless confidence. His assurance i s presented l i k e some g l i t t e r i n g piece of machinery which i s far removed from the v i o l e n t s e l f - d e n i a l that seems to be present i n a l l of Henchard's actions. The Skimmington r i d e o f f e r s perhaps the best example of the way 29 i n which ex t e r n a l events are used to comment on personal l i f e . The r i d e has I t s o r i g i n s i n Lucetta's r e f u s a l to secure a p o s i t i o n f or Joshua Jopp. The l a t t e r i s given Henchard's love l e t t e r s and t o l d to d e l i v e r them to Lucetta. He stops o f f at the tavern where the l e t t e r s are opened and read. The skimmity-ride i s planned f o r the purpose of d i s g r a c i n g Lucetta. At t h i s time Newson happens to be passing by the tavern on h i s return to Casterbridge. He hears of the r i d e and con-t r i b u t e s some money to the "performance," not knowing whomit i s intended f o r . Out of t h i s strange mixture of coincidence and d e l i b e r a t e i n t e n t i o n comes the r i d e i t s e l f . I t seems to m a t e r i a l i z e suddenly out of the darkness of the s t r e e t s of the town, i n s t i g a t e d by people who only h a l f understand what l i e s behind the e f f i g y they have made. Lucetta i s s i t t i n g alone i n her room, content with the thought that she i s f i n a l l y f r e e of her past l i f e . Two maid-servants are heard c a l l i n g to one another as they catch s i g h t of the procession. The i d e n t i t y of the f i g u r e s i s only guessed at f i r s t , l i k e the appearance of a face forming i n the dark as the person moves c l o s e r . Lucetta suddenly sees a l l her past r e t u r n i n g i n the t e r r i b l y d i s t o r t e d form of a " s t u f f e d f i g u r e with a f a l s e f a c e " seated on a donkey. She breaks i n t o h y s t e r i c a l laughter then c o l l a p s e s . The procession vanishes as qu i c k l y as i t had appeared. In the search that follows no one w i l l confess to having taken part and the sole piece of evidence i s a tambourine found hidden i n a stove at the tavern. In these events there i s a f a s c i n a t i o n with coincidence, with 30 chance occurrences which yet r e v e a l themselves as determined i n some way. We have t h i s f e e l i n g again when Henchard i s about to commit s u i c i d e and sees h i s own e f f i g y i n the water. J u s t before t h i s he i s wandering towards the moors: "The whole land ahead of him was as dark-9 ness i t s e l f ; there was nothing to come, nothing to wait f o r . " In t h i s s t a t e he plans to k i l l h i m s e l f , but as he stands at the edge of the p o o l a f i g u r e appears i n the water, the e f f i g y of himself from the skimmity-ride. He sees h i s own wish completed, h i s own double brought before him as a drowned f i g u r e i n the c o l d water. I t i s an " a p p a l l i n g m i r a c l e " and one which prevents h i s s u i c i d e . Again we have a chance occurrence which f u n c t i o n s at a deeper l e v e l than chance. Lucetta's fear at seeing the e f f i g y i s that she w i l l l o s e F a r f r a e ' s l o v e i n the ensuing scandal. Henchard b e l i e v e s h i m s e l f to be e n t i r e l y without love and meets, not a scandalous e f f i g y , but the dead double of h i m s e l f . The events waver between coincidence and a p a t t e r n which seems q u i t e d e l i b e r a t e . The i n c i d e n t s of the n o v e l are d r i v e n forward by an inner com-p u l s i o n which makes nothing a c c i d e n t a l . Hardy i s f a s c i n a t e d by the chance occurrence, the t e r r o r of coincidence. But, as w i t h Oedipus and Macbeth, the coincidence conceals a d e f i n i t e p a t t e r n which, once set i n motion, i s inescapable. There i s nothing a r b i t r a r y i n Oedipus' meeting at the c r o s s -roads, Macbeth's meeting w i t h the witches, or Henchard's seeing h i s own e f f i g y i n the water. But the o r i g i n of that " p a t t e r n " seems to change. Oedipus must f u l f i l l a curse upon the house of Labdacus, but Macbeth's f a l l has an element of p e r s o n a l choice w h i l e Henchard acts out of a compulsion w i t h i n h i m s e l f . But events w i t h i n the e x t e r n a l world always 31 p r e s e r v e t h i s d o u b l e - f a c e d q u a l i t y . They appear t o be p u r e l y chance b u t t h e y a r e a c t u a l l y a r e f l e c t i o n o f an i n n e r p r o c e s s w o r k i n g towards i t s end. When Henchard f i n d s h i m s e l f r e t u r n i n g t o f o r m e r s i t e s i t may b o t h . b e an a c c i d e n t and an e x p r e s s i o n o f h i s i n a b i l i t y t o escape h i m s e l f , a need t o r e p e a t p a s t s i n s . T h i s f e e l i n g o f c o m p u l s i v e " r e p e t i t i o n w h i c h he i s t r y i n g t o work a g a i n s t comes t h r o u g h s t r o n g l y a t t h e end: "To make one more a t t e m p t t o be n e a r h e r : t o go back; t o see h e r , t o p l e a d h i s cause b e f o r e h e r , t o a s k f o r g i v e n e s s f o r h i s f r a u d , t o endeavour s t r e n u -o u s l y t o h o l d h i s own i n h e r l o v e ; i t was w o r t h t h e r i s k of r e p u l s e , ay, o f l i f e i t s e l f . " But f o r Henchard t h i s i s i m p o s s i b l e : "how t o i n i t i a t e t h i s r e v e r s a l o f a l l h i s f o r m e r r e s o l v e s w i t h o u t c a u s i n g husband and w i f e t o d e s p i s e h i m f o r h i s i n c o n s i s t e n c y was a q u e s t i o n w h i c h made h i m t r e m b l e and b r o o d . I t i s r e a l l y h i m s e l f w h i c h he f e a r s to b e t r a y . He w i l l n o t l e t go o f t h a t c o n s i s t e n c y , t h a t s e c r e t w i l l i n h i m s e l f w h i c h he b u t h a l f u n d e r s t a n d s . He can o n l y r e s o r t t o t h e p a t h e t i c g e s t u r e o f p r e s e n t i n g a g o l d f i n c h i n a w i r e cage as a g i f t t o E l i z a b e t h . I n t h e f a c e of h e r a c c u s a t i o n s , he chooses n o t t o d e f e n d h i m s e l f , he chooses c o n -s i s t e n c y . He d i e s " s e l f - a l i e n a t e d ' , ' i u n w i l l i n g t o e x t e n u a t e a n y t h i n g . The e v e n t s o f t h e n o v e l a l l tend t o p o i n t i n towards t h e d e s t r u c -t i v e p a t h Henchard i s f o l l o w i n g . W i t h Tess of the D ' U r b e r v i l l e s t h e t r a g i c f o c u s has s h i f t e d f r o m t h e s e l f - c o n d e m n e d man t o t h e i n n o c e n t v i c t i m . The o b v i o u s danger of s u c h a work i s t h a t t h e v i c t i m may become t h e o b j e c t of s e n t i m e n t a l p i t y w h i l e t h e t e r r o r f e l t b e f o r e t h e g r e a t p o s s i b i l i t i e s of human d e s i r e i s l o s t . The f o r c e o f i n n e r c o m p u l s i o n i s r e p l a c e d by t h e f o r c e o f s o c i a l l a w. Even p e r s o n a l g u i l t ,may become 32 the r e s u l t of a l l e g i a n c e to a dying creed. We move i n t o an area where s o c i a l law i s given considerable f o r c e . S o c i a l tragedy now appears as the i n a b i l i t y or r e f u s a l of the protagonist to come to terms w i t h that law. But t h i s may be too simple a judgement of what happens i n Tess. The novel begins w i t h the tenuous l i n k of D u r b e y f i e l d t o the noble f a m i l y of ' d ' U r b e r v i l l e . A past i s conjured up which has now been l o s t beyond recovery and s u r v i v e s only i n the f a n t a s t i c hope of n o b i l i t y i n which Tess' f a t h e r indulges.as he r i d e s about the countryside i n h i s c a r r i a g e . This f e e l i n g of a dying world i s sustained throughout the n o v e l , r e -appearing i n more s e r i o u s forms than Durbeyf i e l d ' s hope that"\he i s the descendant of n o b i l i t y . Tess i s caught between the older world and the new " n o b i l i t y " represented by Alec d ' U r b e r v i l l e . She i s sent to the l a t t e r by her mother, who knows t h a t Tess w i l l now have a chance t o "get on", not because of any noble blood she may have, but because of her f a c e , her beauty. But Tess f i n d s something d i f f e r e n t from what she expected. 'The Slopes', where the d ' U r b e r v i l l e seat i s found, i s not an e s t a b l i s h e d and venerable mansion. I t i s a "country-house b u i l t f o r enjoyment pure and simple". The house i s of recent c o n s t r u c t i o n , a l l " b r i g h t , t h r i v i n g , and w e l l - k e p t ; acres of glass-houses s t r e t c h e d down the i n c l i n e s to the copses at t h e i r f e e t . Everything looked l i k e m o n e y — l i k e the l a s t c o i n issued from the mint". I t i s a pleasure p a l a c e , b u i l t by Simon Stoke, a northern merchant who decided that he needed a "name" and so adopted one along w i t h a country manor. But everything i s c o n t r i v e d ; the o l d n o b i l i t y i s replaced by a f a l s e one b u i l t on money. Near the house i s an area 33 called The Chase. This i s associated with Tess' entry into the d'Urberville world and i t continues the idea of a victim of the hunt which began in the early pages of the novel with the mention of the forest where a "white hart" i s hunted and k i l l e d . Her own pursuit begins with this entry into a world " a l l new" where the natural is replaced by the creations of money. "Thus the thing began"; the i n -evitable process, the "thing" which w i l l ruin her, i s set in motion. Again Hardy emphasizes that strange confusion of chance and necessity: " i t was not the two halves of a perfect whole which confronted each other at the perfect moment; a missing counterpart wandered indepen-dently about the earth waiting i n crass obtuseness t i l l the late time came. Out of which maladroit delay sprang anxieties, disappointments, 12 shocks, catastrophes and passing-strange destinies." The necessity i s now less a part of Tess than of a social machinery in which she is trapped. She i s destroyed not because of some error she must repeat end-lessly but simply because of what she i s , the "pure" woman, the character whose very l i f e force w i l l become impossible within the world surrounding her. The peasants have an expression which they would use to describe Tess' f a l l : "It was to be". But there i s no accounting for i t in terms of a definite plan. The "guardian angel" who might have protected her "was talking, or he was pursuing, or he was in a journey, or he was sleeping 13 and not be be awaked." What is lef t i s a feeling of inevitable mechan-ism, a l l the more frightful because i t i s inexplicable; the hand turning the machine is never seen, the god who might stop i t is hidden somewhere 34 and not to be found. The obsession with chance seems to come from a cleavage opening between oneself and the outer world so that one i s l e f t with the accidents of circumstance and one can only guess as to whether i t i s a l l a part of a "well-judged plan" or whether i t i s purely a r b i t r a r y . The "secret : ;cause" of s u f f e r i n g seems to have s p l i t between subconscious compulsion on the one hand and s o c i a l laws destroy-ing spontaneity on the other. The i n d i v i d u a l i s then l e f t i n a d i f f e r e n t and perhaps greater s o l i t u d e . Tess i s often described as being alone: "She was not an existence, an experience, a passion, a structure of sen-sations, to anybody but h e r s e l f . To a l l humankind besides, Tess was . 14 only a passing thought;" She i s reduced to a personal experience which doesn't extend beyond h e r s e l f . Even the b u r i a l of her c h i l d i s an act of personal w i l l which, to the "eye of mere observation" comes down to a bunch of flowers i n a b o t t l e of Keelwell's Marmalade. Even Tess' r e l a t i o n to "nature" seems ambivalent. In .the world of the Greek tragedies the s o c i a l and the natural were integrated i n a way which they are not here. Tess i s seen as a part of nature, a "white shape" i n a dance, a figure wandering through the f i e l d s and f e e l i n g at home there. But nature i s also the cold pulse of the stars i n "serene d i s s o c i a t i o n " from human l i f e . Nature i s a b a f f l i n g presence, now r e -f l e c t i n g human s u f f e r i n g now ignoring i t completely i n some cold pulsing beauty. When we turn to some of the great d e s c r i p t i v e passages of the novel t h i s w i l l become cl e a r e r . I t i s the crumbling s o c i a l world, seen b r i e f l y i n the v i s i o n of the peasants dancing i n the g l i t t e r i n g dust, which Tess i s i n immediate 35 contact w i t h . This c o l l a p s e i n v o l v e s more than j u s t s o c i a l custom as may be seen i n Tess' meeting w i t h the fence p a i n t e r . He belongs to a creed which i s dying, an e t h i c s which has been reduced to dogma and p r o h i b i t i v e r u l e s . The p a i n t e r goes about the country, p a i n t i n g h i s message on any a v a i l a b l e p lace: "'Thy, Damnation, Slumbereth, Not'. Against the pea c e f u l landscape, the p a l e , decaying t i n t s of the copses, the blue a i r of the h o r i z o n , and the lich e n e d s t i l e - b o a r d s , these s t a r i n g v e r m i l i o n words shone f o r t h . T h e discrepancy between an a l l e g i a n c e t o an id e a of s u f f e r i n g and a n a t u r a l background completely i n d i f f e r e n t comes through s t r o n g l y . The f o r c e of the words works on Tess. She seems d i v i d e d between . f e e l i n g the g u i l t which i s expected of her and a more genuine g u i l t f o r her a f f a i r s w i t h d ' U r b e r v i l l e and her dead c h i l d . But i n both cases she i s more sinned against than s i n n i n g . In the character of Angel Clare the pressure of t h i s outworn creed i s combined w i t h the p o s s i b i l i t y of a d i f f e r e n t and more open view of l i f e . H i s e a r l y reading and experience lead him away from dogma and preconceived ideas. "Hodge", the stereotype of the peasant, gives way before a v i s i o n of endless v a r i e t y : The t y p i c a l and unvarying Hodge ceased to e x i s t . He had d i s i n t e g r a t e d i n t o a number of v a r i e d fel l o w - c r e a t u r e s - b e i n g s of many minds, beings i n f i n i t e i n d i f f e r e n c e ; some happy, many serene, a few depressed, one here and there b r i g h t even to genius, some s t u p i d , others wanton, others austere; some mutely M i l t o n i c , some p o t e n t i a l l y C r o m w e l l i a n — i n t o men who had p r i v a t e views of each other, as he had of h i s f r i e n d s ; who could applaud or condemn each o t h e r , amuse or sadden themselves by the contemplation of each other's f o i b l e s or v i c e s ; men every one of whom walked i n h i s own i n d i v i d u a l way the road to dusty death.16 36 Clare prefers this to the "chronic melancholy" of a dying faith. His new "f a i t h " reduces everything to private experience, to an i n f i n i t e variation in character and personality as i t moves towards death. But Clare's allegiance to this l i f e can never be complete, because he s t i l l adheres unconsciously to that "dying creed" which he thinks he has passed beyond. The most intolerant part of his father's faith survives just below the surface in Clare; when he is under pressure, i t rises and exerts complete control over him. His father's forebears are Wycliff, Huss, Luther and Calvin. He i s an Evangelical, a man who "in his raw youth made up his mind once and for a l l on the deeper questions of 17 existence and admitted no further reasoning on them thenceforward." His faith i s "less an argument than an intoxication". His creed i s one of determinism and renunciation, held in complete sincerity. A part of this faith survives in Clare as i s clearly seen when he finds out about Tess' "impurity". His love for her is overcome and he suddenly feels compelled to denounce her; he has no control over this feeling. And i t is this intolerance which he brings against Tess as she well understands: "What have I done—what have I done! I have not told of anything that interferes with or belies my love for you. You don't think I planned i t , do you? It is in your own mind what you are angry at, Angel; i t is not 18 in me." But he cannot turn against what i s driving him on. When she asks him to forgive her, he replies: "I do forgive you, but forgiveness i s not a l l . " He believes Tess' suffering is only f i t for " s a t i r i c a l laughter" and is not tragic. Clare's " f a i t h " denies tragedy and reduces 37 human s u f f e r i n g to human v a n i t y . He can never f o r g i v e the human f o r i t s v i o l a t i o n of the p u r i t y of f a i t h . This i n t o l e r a n c e has almost completely separated i t s e l f from the f a i t h which could once c o n t a i n i t . At the heart of C l a r e there i s a "hard l o g i c a l d e p o s i t , l i k e a v e i n of metal i n a s o f t loam, which 19 turned the edge of everything that attempted to t r a v e r s e i t . " He i s an anachronism, a f o r c e of i n t o l e r a n c e set loose i n a world where he can only be d e s t r u c t i v e . Tess remains "pure", but her p u r i t y comes from not being humanly "incomplete" i n the way that C l a r e i s . The l a t t e r f e e l s the need to r e t u r n to her, but the " s o c i a l ordinances" he accepts prevent him: " i t was a sense t h a t d e s p i t e her love,...the 20 f a c t s had not changed. I f he was r i g h t at f i r s t , he was r i g h t now." I m p l i c i t i n Clare's a c t i o n s i s a condemnation of r e l i g i o u s dogma and s o c i a l law. The idea of having to s u f f e r under a more n a t u r a l form of c r u e l t y , appears i n Tess' discovery of some dying pheasants l e f t over from a hunt. These b i r d s have been r a i s e d to s a t i s f y the c r u e l t y of the hunters. Before them, Tess f e e l s that her s u f f e r i n g i s unimpor-t a n t , that i t i s only the r e s u l t of an " a r b i t r a r y law of s o c i e t y . " But what i s the r e l a t i o n between t h i s law and the n a t u r a l world which i s described i n powerful d e t a i l throughout the novel? This r e l a t i o n s h i p of law and nature i s an important one and goes through s i g n i f i c a n t changes i n the d i f f e r e n t works we are c o n s i d e r i n g . The f i r s t t h i n g that i s n o t i c e a b l e i n Hardy's d e s c r i p t i o n s of the n a t u r a l world i s th a t they are o f t e n l e a s t convincing when h i s own ideas on f a t a l i s m dominate the passage. This i s obvious near the begin-38 ning of the novel when Tess and her brother are looking at the stars. The "blighted world among the stars" seems too forced, as i f the allegiance to an idea had got in the way of a natural description. It seems as if the descriptive passages must be freed from this kind of thought before they can become effective. A passage describing the coming of winter will make this clearer. Tess is now working at Flintcomb-Ash farm. The fi r s t frost comes and gives the landscape a kind of spectral beauty. Then "strange birds" begin to arrive from "behind the North Pole". They are "gaunt, spectral creatures with 21 tragical eyes" which have seen natural disasters and cataclysms which they can never describe. But i t seems that Hardy is imposing upon the passage a weight that i t can't bear. This is similar to what happens in the "blighted world" passage I mentioned earlier. With the coming of the snow the description regains an integrity which i t briefly lost. For a good example of what I mean by "integrity", I will turn to a passage which occurs just after Tess has visited Bmninster vicarage to learn of the whereabouts of Clare. She rings the door-bell but receives no answer. As she stands there the wind beats about her: The wind was so nipping that the icy-leaves had become wizened and grey, each tapping incessantly upon its neighbour with a disquieting stir of her nerves. A piece of blood-stained paper, caught up from some meat-buyer's dust-heap, beat up and down the road without the gate; too flimsy to rest, too heavy to fly away; and a few straws kept i t company.22 The rattling ivy leaves and the blood-stained scrap of paper which can neither be s t i l l nor be lifted easily by the wind reflect Tess' 39 s i t u a t i o n i n a way that the northern b i r d s or the b l i g h t e d worlds i n the s t a r s can never do. The passage comes c l o s e to t h a t "new k i n d of beauty, a negative beauty of t r a g i c tone" seen at Cross-in-Hand or i n the great d e s c r i p t i v e passages of the heath i n The Return of the  Native. In such passages, Hardy succeeds i n c r e a t i n g t h i s t r a g i c beauty by t r e a t i n g nature as a c o l l e c t i o n of impressions p o i n t i n g t o -wards something which can h a r d l y be d e s c r i b e d , a sense of f a t e or w i l l working through the n a t u r a l world. But what r e l a t i o n i s there between these d e s c r i p t i v e passages and the "law" or s o c i a l f o r c e which works against Tess? These laws are u s u a l l y best found i n the a c t i o n s of the charac-t e r s , but they may a l s o r e c e i v e a p o e t i c treatment that l i f t s them to the l e v e l of demonic f o r c e s . One of the best examples of t h i s treatment i s the t h r e s h i n g machine and the engineer whb operates i t . One morning at Flintcomb-Ash farm, Tess and I z z Huet come to help w i t h the t h r e s h i n g and f i n d the t h r e s h i n g machine, "a timber-framed c o n s t r u c t i o n , w i t h straps and wheels a p p e r t a i n i n g " , already at work. Beside i t i s the engineer, a creature of " f i r e and smoke... He t r a v e l l e d w i t h h i s engine from farm to farm, from county to county, f o r as yet the steam t h r e s h i n g -machine was i t i n e r a n t i n t h i s p a r t of Wessex. He spoke i n a strange northern accent; h i s thoughts being turned inwards upon h i m s e l f , h i s eye on h i s i r o n charge, h a r d l y p e r c e i v i n g the scenes around him and c a r i n g 23 f o r them not at a l l . " He comes from the i n d u s t r i a l n o r t h , as d i d Alec d ' U r b e r v i l l e ' s f a t h e r . Tess i s set to work, but she f i n d s h e r s e l f caught i n a p e r p e t u a l motion: " f o r Tess there was no r e s p i t e ; f o r as 40 the drum never stopped, the man who fed i t could not stop, and she, who had to supply the man w i t h u n t i e d sheaves, could not stop e i t h e r unless Marian changed places w i t h her...." The p i e c e of machinery seems to work on e n d l e s s l y ; once s t a r t e d i t claims i t s operator e n t i r e l y and demands complete a t t e n t i o n from him i n order that i t s progress may continue u n i n t e r r u p t e d . I t i s s i m i l a r to the h o r s e - d r i l l introduced by Donald F a r f r a e to C a s t e r b r i d g e . But what was then only a n o v e l t y has now become a t e r r i b l e mechanized f o r c e which once s t a r t e d cannot be stopped. The machine o r i g i n a t e s i n the i n d u s t r i a l world that Simon Stokes came from, which i s a world of i n d u s t r y expanding without r e s t r a i n t . In the character of A l e c d ' U r b e r v i l l e we f i n d the extremes of s e l f - i n d u l g e n c e and a u t h o r i t y which seem to be the products of t h a t world. He t e l l s Tess that he couldn't imagine an " e t h i c a l system w i t h -out any dogma." He cannot be r e s p o n s i b l e f o r h i s passions i f there i s no one to be r e s p o n s i b l e t o . And so he i s s p l i t between r e c k l e s s s e l f -indulgence and submission to a u t h o r i t y . His conversion t o the f a i t h can never be l e s s than f a n a t i c i s m ; i t i s j u s t a development of h i s own passionate temperament, a swing from extreme indulgence to extreme sub-mission. Before him, Angel C l a r e i s a " m y t h o l o g i c a l " f i g u r e , a man who chooses to b e l i e v e i n a dying f a i t h . But as the n o v e l draws to i t s c o n c l u s i o n , C l a r e has a change of heart. His old f a i t h drops away before a new understanding: "The beauty or u g l i n e s s of a character l a y not only i n i t s achievements, but i n i t s aims and impulses; i t s t r u e h i s t o r y l a y 24 not among things done, but among things w i l l e d . " But t h i s new 41 knowledge has come too l a t e f o r the trap i s t i g h t e n i n g around Tess. 2' She i s reduced to a v i s i o n of l i f e as "degrading personal compulsion". But the compulsion i s not l i k e t h a t of Henchard, who must carry some d e s t r u c t i v e impulse i n himself to i t s co n c l u s i o n . Tess i s caught i n a web of outmoded b e l i e f s and s o c i a l laws; she i s d r i v e n along as much by e x t e r n a l circumstance as by personal choice. The n o v e l leads her to a s e r i e s of dead ends w i t h no s o l u t i o n to the s t r u g g l e . She comes to Sandbourne w i t h Alec and here we have a reappearance of that cheap new-ness found i n the d ' U r b e r v i l l e mansion. I t i s another pleasure palace, a " g l i t t e r i n g n o v e l t y " set c l o s e to Egdon Waste. A l e c claims her as h i s own, but, provoked by an i n s u l t i n g remark about C l a r e , Tess k i l l s him and f l e e s to l i v e w i t h C l a r e i n an abandoned house. They f l e e from t h i s abandoned pl a c e only to come upon Stonehenge i n the dark. Tess i s o f f e r e d as v i c t i m on the Stone of S a c r i f i c e as the p o l i c e e n c i r c l e her l i k e the hunters who pursued the white/hart. But t h i s f i n a l scene seems exaggerated and f a l s e . Hardy i s t r y i n g to r e i n f o r c e the s o c i a l tragedy w i t h an almost cosmic sense of the power of f a t e . But the two seem to be p u l l i n g apart r a t h e r than complementing one another. This process i s c a r r i e d even f u r t h e r i n Jude the Obscure, to the p o i n t of c r e a t i n g an " a r t i f i c i a l l y manufactured" tragedy. I t i s p o s s i b l e that the s t r a i n we f e e l i n the concluding pages of Tess i s a r e s u l t of an attempt to impose an- idea of t r a g i c s u f f e r -i n g on the n o v e l which i t cannot bear. The same problem a r i s e s i n Jude  the Obscure. Hardy intended the novel as a tragedy but i t can a l s o be regarded as an acute study i n the psychology of f a i l u r e or the e f f e c t 42 of s o c i a l custom on s e x u a l i t y . The f i n e d e s c r i p t i v e passages that occur i n Tess seem to have given way before the s t r u g g l e of s o c i a l law and personal weakness though the p a t t e r n i s n ' t q u i t e t h a t simple. Jude i s c l o s e r to Tess than to Henchard. L i k e her, he i s a v i c t i m , but t h i s i s complicated by the f a c t t h a t whereas Tess was a v i c t i m of the thought and b e l i e f s of o t h e r s , Jude i s a v i c t i m of both s o c i a l law and h i s own character. When Jude f i r s t appears, as a small boy, he i s s e n s i t i v e and v u l n e r a b l e . He s u f f e r s from a c e r t a i n "weakness of c h a r a c t e r " which w i l l i n v o l v e him i n s u f f e r i n g before h i s "unnecessary l i f e " draws to a c l o s e . The i s o l a t i o n which c h a r a c t e r i z e d Tess i s present i n Jude as w e l l : "As you got o l d e r , and f e l t y o u r s e l f to be at the center of your time, and not at a p o i n t i n i t s circumference, as you had f e l t when you were l i t t l e , you were s e i z e d w i t h a s o r t of shuddering, he p e r c e i v e d . A l l around you there seemed to be something g l a r i n g , g a r i s h , r a t t l i n g , and the noises and g l a r e s h i t upon the l i t t l e c e l l c a l l e d your l i f e , and 26 shook i t , and warped i t . " The f e e l i n g of being alone i n your l i f e w i t h the world passing l i k e a c r u e l , b r i g h t t h i n g remains w i t h Jude throughout h i s l i f e . His "dream" as a young man i s to go to C h r i s t m i n s t e r , which he imagines to be a c i t y of great l e a r n i n g . But he l e a r n s of the c i t y through an i t i n e r a n t quack, a c h a r l a t a n . His f i r s t e f f o r t s to study prove t o be more d i f f i c u l t than he imagines and he wishes that he was out of t h i s world. His childhood i s based upon a d e s i r e f o r withdrawal com-bined w i t h a l o v e of an impossible i d e a l . His d e s i r e to get i n t o the academic world i s f r u s t r a t e d by h i s 43 involvement with Arabella Donn. She combines beauty with an a b i l i t y to handle people and get what she wants, a talent which a person of Jude's sensitivity might c a l l cruelty. When she i s walking down the street with a friend, their conversation i s described as follows: "As usual they laughed before talking; the world seemed funny to them with-27 out saying i t . " This laughter is typical of Arabella, the laughter that seems to know the secret of everything, to know that none of i t really matters. Under a threat of pregnancy, Jude marries her but he soon regrets i t . He feels that he is caught in a social r i t u a l as a result of a "new and transitory instinct" which has him at the mercy of social law. At this point he meets Sue Bridehead, a woman who, in character-ization, often surpasses even Jude in interest. But she is less fascinating as a tragic heroine than as a study i n a particular kind of sensibility. Her suffering can not really be separated from Jude's. The two of them complement one another and form a ci r c l e which neither can escape. Jude's desire to go to Christminster is a dream which, as he fears, may be based only on a restlessness which i s the " a r t i f i c i a l pro-28 duct of c i v i l i z a t i o n " . Sue appears to be opposed to this; she flatters herself with the thought that she i s an Ishmaelite, a born outcast, free of a l l convention and law. But her descriptions of her behavior often conceal a fastidiousness, a refusal to commit herself which may be based on fear. As she talks with Jude she describes a strangely asexual l i f e in which she mixed with men "almost as one of their own sex". She 44 presents t h i s behavior as an example of her emancipation from what women are expected to f e e l i n the presence of men. But w i t h Sue there i s u s u a l l y an u l t e r i o r motive. Beneath her a c t i o n s i s a combination of f e a r and petulance, a c a p r i c i o u s n e s s which can adopt an emotional pose i n a moment and then destroy i t j u s t as q u i c k l y . Her f a s t i d i o u s nature leads her to t r e a t emotion as a pleasure t o be indulged i n , much l i k e a person who possesses a p i e c e of f i n e glassware which he puts to no use other than a e s t h e t i c a p p r e c i a t i o n . When she becomes engaged to P h i l l o t s o n she goes w i t h Jude to the very church that she w i l l be married i n and "rehearses" the ceremony: The too suggestive i n c i d e n t , e n t i r e l y of her making, n e a r l y broke down Jude. 'I l i k e to do things l i k e t h i s , ' she s a i d i n the d e l i c a t e v o i c e of an epicure i n emotions, which l e f t no doubt t h a t she spoke the t r u t h . 'I know you do! 1 s a i d Jude. 'They are i n t e r e s t i n g , because they have probably never been done before. I s h a l l walk down the church l i k e t h i s w i t h my husband i n about two hours, shan't I ! ' 'No doubt you w i l l ! ' 2 9 There i s no d e l i b e r a t e c r u e l t y here. For Jude t h i s i s p a r t of her " c o l o s s a l inconstancy" which leads her to i n f l i c t p a i n on others and on h e r s e l f . Hardy develops t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p not j u s t i n personal terms but i n s o c i a l as w e l l . Again we are presented w i t h characters who cannot r e c o n c i l e themselves to a s o c i a l scheme and so are d r i v e n to the edge of the conventional world. Just as Tess and Alec f l e e Sandbourne, so Jude and Sue go to the town of Shaston,.a town which seems to r e f l e c t t h e i r own predicament. I t i s the " c i t y of a dream', a remnant of a past world now f o r g o t t e n , l i k e the r u i n s of Jude's v i s i o n of C h r i s t m i n s t e r . 45 The town combines this ruined quality with a touch of modern restless-ness: i t is the winter residence for the "wandering vans" that play at different fairs in the country. Significantly, i t is these very people who later support Phillotson when he argues against strong marriage laws in order to justify his letting Sue return to Jude. Jude's dreams of something that is lost and Sue's modern ideas both belong to this unformed world. Her arguments on marriage are an example of this rootlessness and the personal fear that l i e s behind i t . She claims that marriage is a "sordid contract" and that she is the victim of a "tragedy arti^-30 f i c a l l y manufactured" insofar as she is the victim of the laws and beliefs of others. But what does this argument amount to? When Jude asks her to marry him, she backs off, saying that an "iron contract" would k i l l the "tenderness" between them. They must continue as lovers indefinitely. She has again submitted unconsciously to her own fears: by remaining lovers the partner is made attractive through inaccessi-b i l i t y , thus avoiding the familiarity that marriage brings. But Sue does not simply want to preserve tenderness. Behind this wish lies a fear of any closeness, emotional or sexual. Jude wants her to make a simple confession: "he had never once had from her an honest, candid 31 declaration that she loved or could love him. " But when he tries to force this from her she turns away from him like a child and answers in a mock-tragic tone of voice: "I don't think I like you to-day so well as I did, Jude! "' Like Sue, Jude believes himself to be the victim of the " a r t i f i c i a l 46 system of things" which even turns normal sexual impulses against those who want to "progress". But Jude is uncertain as to what he is moving towards; he has only the certainty that he and Sue are lost. Phillotson makes one of the most pertinent comments on what i s happening between" Jude and Sue when he refers to them as "one person ,32 sp l i t in two.' They need one another and yet that need i s destroy-ing both. Jude i s well aware of the kind of unintentional cruelty which Sue i s capable of, but he cannot get free of her. She w i l l always answer to some need in himself. Both are trapped, as much by the f u t i l i t y of their dreams and their own fears as by the pressure of conventional morality. Jude's idealism derives from that "weakness of character" men-tioned earlier while Sue's l i b e r a l ideas are based i n a fear which probably arose in her childhood. This fear gives a quality of frus-tration to a l l of Jude's conversations with her. After leaving Phillotson she adopts a conventional morality which offers her the satisfaction of punishment. When they meet after she has l e f t Phillotson, she refuses to stay with Jude, and this refusal prompts him to remark that she is i n -capable of love. She repeats with Jude her "handling" of the "poor Christminster graduate" and his "torturing destiny". What this handling amounts to is leading the man on and then breaking with him followed by s e1f-punishment: 'I didn't marry him altogether because of the scandal. But sometimes a woman's love of being loved gets the better of her conscience, and though she is agonized at the thought of treating a man cruelly, she encourages him to love her while she doesn't love him at a l l . Then, when she sees him suffering, her remorse sets i n , and she does what she can to repair the wrong.' 47 'You simply mean that you f l i r t e d outrageously w i t h him, poor o l d chap, and then repented, and to make r e p a r a t i o n , married him, though you t o r t u r e d y o u r s e l f to death by doing it.'33 Jude now understands that she w i l l always be unapproachable. Her gesture to P h i l l o t s o n at one poin t i s so c h a r a c t e r i s t i c : " I t grew dusk q u i c k l y i n the gloomy room d u r i n g t h e i r i n t e r m i t t e n t chat, and when candles were brought and i t was time to leave she put her hand i n h i s — or r a t h e r allowed i t t o f l i t through h i s ; f o r she was s i g n i f i c a n t l y 34 l i g h t i n touch." Sue f l i r t s w i t h her l i b e r a l ideas much i n the way that she f l i r t s w i t h men. When the consequences become too d i f f i c u l t she withdraws i n t o convention. But Jude comes to a greater acceptance of these i d e a s . He b e l i e v e s that Sue and himse l f are "queer s o r t of people" i n whom a l l spontaneity i s destroyed by domestic t i e s . Sue a s s e r t s that t h i s i s not so unusual: "'Everybody i s g e t t i n g t o f e e l as we do. We are a l i t t l e 35 beforehand, t h a t ' s a l l . " 1 Her f a s t i d i o u s nature withdraws i n h o r r o r at the thought of human l i f e b eing m u l t i p l i e d . "Father Time", the c h i l d of A r a b e l l a and Jude, i s an exaggerated v e r s i o n of the f r u i t of such a b e l i e f . He i s a c h i l d w i t h no youth, a c h i l d f o r whom the world i s a dark, dead p l a c e , a c o l l e c t i o n of a b s t r a c t shapes, without c o l o r , s m e l l or t a s t e . Against Jude's r e l a t i o n w i t h Sue i s set o f f h i s r e l a t i o n w i t h A r a b e l l a . The l a t t e r i s almost a female counterpart of Alec d ' U r b e r v i l l e and i s stronger than e i t h e r Jude or Sue. At one time she i s seen as p a r t of the n a t u r a l c r u e l t y of l i f e as i n the p i g - k i l l i n g episode, a t other times as an a f f i r m a t i v e woman who i s capable of acceptance of l i f e . In 48 conversation with Phillotson she reveals that hardness or a b i l i t y to survive which she often shows. She te l l s Phillotson that he should never have let Sue go: "But you shouldn't have let her. That's the only way with these fanciful women that chaw high-innocent or guilty. She'd have come round in time. We a l l do! Custom does i t ! It's a l l 36 the same in the end!" Again we hear that laughter that seemed to find everything funny without having to say i t . When Phillotson concludes that cruelty i s the law of nature, she doesn't give any answer, saying only that the next time he has a woman he must handle her better. Arabella i s unaffected by the confusion that Jude is brought to. He returns to Christminster and delivers an impromptu sermon to a crowd. The choice he proposes is between accepting a position in society or finding out what one's natural inclination i s and following that. It would appear to be a choice between the restrictions of social law and the freedom of natural instinct. Jude has chosen the latter and failed, leaving himself in a "chaos of principles...Eight or nine years ago when I came here f i r s t , I had a neat stock of fixed opinions, but they dropped away one by one; and the further I get the less sure I am. I doubt i f I have anything more for my present rule of l i f e than follow-ing inclinations which do me and nobody else harm, and actually give 37 pleasure to those I love best." Even the simple opposition of social convention and natural instinct cannot be taken at face value as Jude himself realizes: "I was, perhaps, after a l l , a paltry victim to the sp i r i t of mental and social restlessness, that makes so many unhappy these days!" Both Jude and Sue are led into bewilderment. Jude's dream 49 is now like the glittering city of Sandbourne on the edge of a great waste. Yet he never completely abandons i t : '"I wish I could get in!' he said to her fervidly. 'Listen—I may catch a few words of the Latin 38 speech by staying here; the windows are open.'" He feels thwarted by "something wrong somewhere in our social laws". But he isn't certain what i t i s . Sue now sees him as a "simple-minded man" with a "ruling passion" which ruins them a l l . He never hears the "freezing negative 39 that those scholared walls had echoed to his desire". Once reduced to these circumstances, Sue recoils into her desire for punishment, saying that they had taken instinct as good and now must be punished because of that. The "wrath of the Power" i s now to be vented upon them but Jude answers by saying that i t i s only "man and 40 senseless circumstance". There are no great powers, there seem to be only half-understood forces within oneself and events. Hardy begins accentuating the feeling of entrapment with such things as the episode of the rabbit caught in the trap. Jude is given a Job-like dignity as he revokes a l l his past l i f e . But Arabella remains as indifferent to this as ever. When they are passing the Martyr's burning place, Jude remembers a sermon: '"Though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, i t profiteth me nothing."—Often think of i t as I pass here. Ridley was a — ' 'Yes. Exactly. Very thoughtful of you, deary, even though i t hasn't much to do with our present business.' 'Why, yes i t has! I'm giving my_ body to be burned! But-ah-you don't understand!—it wants Sue to understand such things.. .' ^ 1 Arabella has got him back as a "prize" to remarry. But he w i l l go through with the ceremony to protect a woman's "honour". 50 In these f i n a l pages Jude becomes almost i n a c c e s s i b l e , a man who can be touched by no one. Sue r e t u r n s to P h i l l o t s o n and her "duty" as a w i f e w h i l e A r a b e l l a , though she i s w i t h Jude almost to the end, can understand nothing of h i s broken references to what h i s l i f e has become. He i s now "obscure", a center of c o n f l i c t i n g forces complicated by h i s own weakness and l e a d i n g to a growing confusion. Jude's r e c i t a t i o n of the passage from Job as he l i e s on h i s death bed has an almost melo-dramatic tone, l i k e that of a man who thought too much of h i s own s u f f e r i n g : "'Why died I not from the womb? Why d i d I not give up the ghost when I came out of the b e l l y ? For now should I have l a i n s t i l l and been q u i e t . I should have s l e p t : then had I been at r e s t ! ' " Even i n these words one can't help but hear an echo of the young boy's wish to be out of the world because i t seems to be a c r u e l p l a c e . A gap opens up between h i s own idea of h i s s u f f e r i n g and the world around him which moves i n complete i n d i f f e r e n c e . H i s f i n a l attempt to renounce h i s l i f e i s accompanied by the hurrahs of the crowd i n the s t r e e t . Jude dies as an obscure man who i s h a r d l y known to others. When Macbeth f a l l s , he i s s t i l l a t the center of the a c t i o n . The army that gathers to defeat him knows t h a t , almost up to the end, he i s s t i l l a force to be reckoned w i t h . But as Jude d i e s , the s o c i a l world of the Remembrance games continues w i t h a b r i g h t gaiety that cares nothing f o r h i s p a i n . And yet w i t h i n h i s own l i f e t h a t p a i n i s not a s m a l l t h i n g ; the downward course that he and Sue followed was not j u s t a r e s u l t of "senseless circumstance". I t had i t s own n e c e s s i t y , even i f the s o c i a l world threatens to cancel i t or ignore i t . 51 3 JOSEPH CONRAD In the author's note to Lord Jim, Conrad mentions a complaint which a c e r t a i n lady made regarding h i s n o v e l : "'You know,1 she s a i d , ' i t i s a l l so morbid." 1 A f t e r g i v i n g t h i s some thought, Conrad con-cludes t h a t no L a t i n temperament could have found anything "morbid" i n h i s s t o r y . The subject of the t a l e i s the "acute consciousness of l o s t honour". This "counsciousness" may be condemned as wrong or a r t i f i c a l but f o r Conrad i t i n v o l v e s something more important, some-t h i n g to be found i n that ubiquitous phrase that Conrad, and l a t e r Marlow, uses to described Jim: "He was 'one of us'." Conrad makes no mention of any s o c i a l code i n v o l v e d i n t h i s "honour". Instead, he r e f e r s us to a f i g u r e he saw i n an Eastern roadstead, a man who was the o r i g i n a l f o r Jim: " I saw h i s form pass b y — a p p e a l i n g — s i g n i f i c a n t — u n d e r a c l o u d — p e r f e c t l y s i l e n t . Which i s as i t should be. I t was f o r me, w i t h a l l the sympathy of which I was capable, to seek f i t words f o r h i s meaning. ""*" A f t e r reading the novel one can see how appropriate these words are i n d e s c r i b i n g Jim. One understands why t h i s s e c r e t i v e q u a l i t y i s a l l "as i t should be". For Jim i s a "romantic" and h i s s t o r y i s one which i s c u r i o u s l y l a c k i n g i n the " e x t e r n a l s " by which one could judge a man's success. At the co n c l u s i o n of Jude the Obscure i t was obvious that a gap was opening up between Jude's personal v i s i o n of h i s "tragedy" and a world of f a c t s which continued i n i n d i f f e r e n c e to that v i s i o n . The 52 passage from N o v a l i s that Conrad uses to begin h i s n o v e l could almost serve as an epitaph to Jude's s t r u g g l e : " I t i s c e r t a i n my c o n v i c t i o n gains i n f i n i t e l y the moment another s o u l w i l l b e l i e v e i n i t . " The o b s c u r i t y that surrounds Jude i s even deeper and more b a f f l i n g w i t h Jim. The t i t l e t hat Jim ac q u i r e s , and which becomes the t i t l e of the no v e l , i s an odd combination of grandeur and b a n a l i t y . The d i s t a n c e between "Lord" and "Jim" i s the p a i n f u l d i s t a n c e between a v i s i o n and a f a c t u a l world t h a t i t cannot con t a i n . Yet i t i s the "p a i n " i n t h a t d i s t a n c e that makes Jim's presence f e l t f o r Marlow. We should begin by asking why Jimmust be presented through Marlow. The p r o t a g o n i s t s we have been l o o k i n g a t i n previous works have a l l shared t h i s q u a l i t y of i s o l a t i o n . But w i t h a f i g u r e l i k e Oedipus, one f e e l s t h a t at the center of h i s s o l i t u d e he makes contact w i t h something beyond the understanding of those around him. Jim too makes contact w i t h something at the heart of h i s v i s i o n . But i t i s d i f f i c u l t to say th a t something comes f o r him as the Eumenides come f o r Oedipus. I t i s more probable that at the center he only meets himself or r a t h e r t h a t conception of hi m s e l f that he pursues throughout the novel. And that conception seems to be born of an "in t i m a t e need" which may, i n the end, be completely i n a c c e s s -i b l e t o others. The presence of Marlow only deepens the sense of never f i n a l l y knowing Jim. What reasons does Marlow give f o r t e l l i n g Jim's s t o r y ? At one p o i n t Marlow t e l l s h i s l i s t e n e r s that we " e x i s t " only i n s o f a r as we stay together. Jim was a " s t r a g g l e r " : "he had not hung on; but he was aware of i t w i t h an i n t e n s i t y t h a t made him touching, j u s t as a man's more 53 intense l i f e makes h i s death more touching than the death of a t r e e . I happened to be handy, and I happened to be touched. That's a l l there i s to i t . . . H e e x i s t e d f o r me, and a f t e r a l l i t i s only through me t h a t 2 he e x i s t s f o r you." But of course that i s not " a l l there i s to i t " . Marlow has a deeper concern i n Jim's fortunes as we s h a l l see. For d e s p i t e the p r i v a c y that always covers Jim, that d e s i r e not t o be "touched" by anything, Marlow has a deep sympathy, a knowledge of that " p a i n " that Jim f e e l s . Otherwise there would be no s t o r y to t e l l . Jim's s t o r y might have some i n t e r e s t but there would be nothing important at stake i n i t . The f i r s t major p a r t of the novel deals w i t h the Patna i n c i d e n t and the t r i a l f o l l o w i n g i t . Here we have opened out before us the s e c r e t that l i e s behind t h a t "dogged s e l f - a s s e r t i o n " that surrounds Jim when he f i r s t appears. This a s s e r t i o n i s d i r e c t e d at h i m s e l f ; i t i s a chosen a t t i t u d e which must be sustained i n the face of " f a c t s " . Before the Patna i n c i d e n t Jim l i v e s i n the dreams of p o s s i b l e adventures and "imag-i n a r y achievements". "They were the best p a r t s of l i f e , i t s s e c r e t t r u t h , i t s hidden r e a l i t y . They had a gorgeous v i r i l i t y , the charm of vagueness, they passed before him w i t h an h e r o i c tread; they c a r r i e d h i s s o u l away w i t h them and made i t drunk w i t h the d i v i n e p h i l t r e of an unbounded 3 confidence i n i t s e l f . There was nothing he could not f a c e . " I t i s as i f he saw himself making some magnificent, f i n a l gesture t h a t would r e c o n c i l e v i s i o n and a c t i o n . I t i s i n e v i t a b l e t h a t he should be alone and share nothing w i t h h i s shipmates: "The q u a l i t y of these men d i d not matter; he rubbed shoulders w i t h them, but they could not touch him; he shared the 54 a i r they breathed, but he was d i f f e r e n t . . . T h e l i f e was easy and he was 4 too sure of h i m s e l f . . . . " " F a c t s " can never e x p l a i n anything f o r Jim. As the t r i a l begins he withdraws from f a c t u a l matters to the p o i n t where words themselves are of "no use to him". Even h i s own " t r u t h f u l s t a t e -ments" can never q u i t e d e s c r i b e what i s w i t h i n . As the i n q u i r y begins, Marlow takes over the n a r r a t i o n of Jim's l i f e . I mentioned before a p o s s i b l e reason f o r Marlow's i n t e r e s t i n Jim. Now something deeper appears i n Marlow's i n t e r e s t as he speaks of hi s d e s i r e to " f i n d something". "Perhaps, unconsciously, I hoped I would f i n d that something, some profound and redeeming cause, some merci-f u l e x p l a n a t i o n , some convincing shadow of an excuse". He wants to l a y a t e r r i b l e doubt, "the doubt of the sovereign power, enthroned i n a , f i x e d standard of conduct"."' The moral concern here i s a passion f o r Marlow f o r i t touches on h i s own youth, h i s own understanding of h i m s e l f . He wants very much to give expression to Jim's s t r u g g l e , to make that " f i n a l u t t e r a n c e " which s h a l l capture Jim's "meaning". Is any k i n d of moral conduct only a d e l i b e r a t e a t t i t u d e , an e x e r c i s e of imagination and i f so, how does one reach the i n t i m a t e human need that l i e s behind that a t t i t u d e ? With Jim's s t o r y before him Marlow f e e l s that t h i s question becomes a l l the more p r e s s i n g ; Jim a f f o r d s him a chance to reach the center of human conduct and to catch i t f i n a l l y i n words. Marlow's meetings w i t h Jim a l l seem to provide b r i e f glimpses of the center he i s l o o k i n g f o r . I w i l l begin w i t h that curious i n c i d e n t outside the courthouse when Jim makes h i s f i r s t d e f i n i t e contact w i t h Marlow. The l a t t e r i s walking w i t h a companion when a yel l o w dog 55 suddenly appears and prompts the companion to remark, "Look at that wretched cur". The i n c i d e n t passes unnoticed u n t i l Marlow f i n d s him-s e l f confronted by Jim who bears an expression of "maturing v i o l e n c e " . He i s bewildered, even exasperated at f i r s t and cannot understand the source of Jim's b i t t e r n e s s . He only knows th a t Jim i s blu n d e r i n g hope-l e s s l y : "A s i n g l e word had s t r i p p e d him of h i s d i s c r e t i o n — o f t h a t d i s -c r e t i o n which i s more necessary to the decencies of our inner being than c l o t h i n g i s to the decorum of our body." He comes to r e a l i z e Jim's mistake but the i n c i d e n t cannot be brushed o f f t h a t e a s i l y . Why should t h i s "name" cause Jim such anguish when he can put up with the court? I t seems that the personal i n s u l t was a v i o l a t i o n of something very deep, that personal concept of honour that w i l l t o l e r a t e no cowardice. He can put up w i t h the court proceedings because they do not "touch" him j u s t as the s a i l o r s of the Patna could not touch him. But now he has exposed h i m s e l f , l o s t h i s " d i s c r e t i o n " and given a b r i e f glimpse of that f e a r of v i o l a t i o n , that p a i n i n which he w i l l come to l i v e simply because the dream can never wholly c o n t a i n the f a c t s . Marlow i s given a b r i e f glimpse at the heart of the man; to use h i s metaphor, i t was l i k e seeing through a r i f t i n the clouds and c a t c h i n g s i g h t of the country beneath. But Jim recovers very q u i c k l y . When the i n c i d e n t i s explained, Jim's only comment i s "Altogether my mistake." This can only a s t o n i s h Marlow f o r Jim has reduced to a " t r i f l i n g occurrence" something that exposed him completely, i f only f o r a moment. Marlow can only con-clude that Jim i s "misleading". He i n v i t e s Jim to dine w i t h him i n a f u r t h e r attempt to under-56 stand him. There i s a strong tone of appeal i n a l l that Jim says yet the answers he provides seem to be read o f f "the body of the n i g h t " . They are spoken out of h i s own v i s i o n of t h i n g s : " ' I t i s a l l i n being ready. I wasn't; n o t — n o t then. I don't want to excuse myself; but I would l i k e to e x p l a i n — I would l i k e somebody to understand-—some-body—one person at l e a s t ! You! Why not you?" 1^ Marlow f i n d s t h i s appeal both solemn and r i d i c u l o u s , a l a s t attempt to save the n o t i o n of "moral i d e n t i t y " w i t h i t s grand assumption of " u n l i m i t e d power over n a t u r a l i n s t i n c t s . " For Marlow, that i d e n t i t y i s only "one of the r u l e s of the game" but f o r Jim i t has a seriousness t h a t i s absolute. He b e l i e v e s so completely i n h i s idea of h i m s e l f , even to the extent of accepting the "awful p e n a l t i e s of i t s f a i l u r e " . Yet there i s a poign-ancy i n h i s appeal which can only deepen the sense of i s o l a t i o n . He i s alone i n h i s b e l i e f . His obsession w i t h the missed opportunity i s so great because that opportunity would have l a i d a l l doubts and f i n a l l y brought v i s i o n and a c t i o n together. Even w h i l e Marlow i s watching him, Jim seems to accomplish that i n imagination: "He was very f a r away from me who watched him across three f e e t of space." Suddenly he i s moving i n t o the "impossible world of romantic achievements". A deep smile comes over h i s f e a t u r e s : "He had penetrated to the h e a r t — t o the very g h e a r t . " One can only imagine what he sees there. At that center there could be nothing t r a g i c ; i t would be a place of darkness, f r e e of the a p p a l l i n g l i g h t of day, where the separation between what we are and what we would be vanishes. I t would be f r e e of the circumstances that destroy the dream; i t would have the complete s i m p l i c i t y of a gesture 57 at once c a r e l e s s and magnificent- Jim waits i n a s t a t e of readiness throughout the l a t e r p a r t of the n o v e l , l o o k i n g f o r that opportunity which w i l l b ridge the gap between v i s i o n and a c t i o n that opened up when he leapt from the Patna. For Marlow, Jim's s t r u g g l e i s fought out w i t h an " i n v i s i b l e per-s o n a l i t y " w i t h i n him. And t h i s p e r s o n a l i t y i s "another possessor of 9 h i s s o u l " . The s t r u g g l e w i t h i n Jim cannot be judged, f o r i t concerns the "true essence of l i f e " (a phrase which could mean nothing or every-t h i n g ) . Jim i s a "romantic", yet he i s inescapably "one of us" and what he does may very w e l l i n v o l v e , at l e a s t f o r Marlow, "mankind's conception of i t s e l f " . These r a t h e r grandiloquent phrases can only mean something to someone who has known Jim's pain. That p a i n i s born of a s i m p l i c i t y i n the man which i s combined w i t h a tremendous egoism. In the Patna i n c i d e n t Jim claims that he was simply taken "unawares"— "Everything had betrayed him"."^ But what does that " b e t r a y a l " amount to? What was happening w i t h i n Jim i n those moments before he jumped? As he r e t e l l s the i n c i d e n t to Marlow we f i n d f i r s t that he was f a s c i n a t e d w i t h the p o s s i b i l i t y of death. This i s true of much of what he does; h i s mind feeds on p o s s i -b i l i t y and w i l l never r e s t w i t h the a c t u a l . He i s a " f i n i s h e d a r t i s t " and h i s thoughts go out w i t h a " f a c u l t y of s w i f t and f o r e s t a l l i n g v i s i o n " . Though he seeks " a b s o l u t i o n " i n t e l l i n g t h i s to Marlow, he knows i t would be "of no good to him" f o r the missed opportunity must come again i f he i s to have peace. His s i n i s so very much h i s own, a r e s u l t of that per-p e t u a l q u a r r e l going on w i t h i n h i m s e l f . His mind has foreseen the end and 58 has decided t h a t i t must be. But the end does not come; things are never f i n i s h e d f o r him. "He wanted i t over", and he a c t u a l l y t e l l s the s h i p to s i n k . But i t does not and he i s exasperated that h i s v i s i o n of the end should be denied him. As u s u a l , Jim has taken up a s o l i t a r y p o s i t i o n as these thoughts f i l l h i s head: "there was nothing i n common between him and these men—who had the hammer. Noth— 12 i n g whatever." But the separation i s never complete; there i s some-t h i n g that s t i l l touches him: " I n t h i s a s s a u l t upon h i s f o r t i t u d e there was the j e e r i n g i n t e n t i o n of a s p i t e f u l and v i l e vengeance; there was an element of burlesque i n h i s o r d e a l — a degradation of funny grimaces i n the approach of death or dishonour." He seems to f e a r the appearance of dishonour more than the t h i n g i t s e l f . Marlow touches on t h i s q u a l i t y when he says that Jim made so much of h i s d i s g r a c e when i t i s the g u i l t alone that matters. I s h a l l r e t u r n to t h i s important remark l a t e r . Jim's a c t u a l account of the moment i n which he jumped has a f e e l -i n g of c h i l d l i k e hopelessness about i t . J i m describes i t very simply: " ' I had j u m p e d . h e checked h i m s e l f , averted h i s gaze... ' i t seems,' he added." There i s a f e e l i n g of dismay and i n c r e d u l i t y present i n that one word "seems", as i f he could never accept the f a c t that i t a c t u a l l y happened. Marlow c a l l s i t a " c h i l d i s h d i s a s t e r " , but not e n t i r e l y out of r i d i c u l e : "You had to l i s t e n to him as you would to a small boy i n t r o u b l e . He d i d n ' t know. I t had happened somehow. I t would never 13 happen again." The banal tone of these words i s i n one way a p p r o p r i a t e , f o r Jim i s "simple". His "saved l i f e " has now been brought to an end and 59 he can only wait f o r another opportunity i n which to gain i t a l l back. The p r i v a c y of the d i s a s t e r i s so complete: " a l l the time i t was only a clouded sky, a sea that d i d not break, the a i r that d i d not s t i r . 14 Only a n i g h t ; only a s i l e n c e . " Marlow i s again l e f t w i t h the f e e l i n g that he i s d e a l i n g w i t h something i n a c c e s s i b l e yet c l o s e to him. As they s i t together, Marlow's v i s i o n goes past Jim to the dark n i g h t behind him and the " r e t r e a t i n g planes" of the s t a r s only to see the "depths of a greater darkness". He speaks of t h i s darkness as having " l u r e d the eye" as i f he were being tempted towards some he a r t of darkness which i s not only v i s u a l but moral as w e l l . A l a s t "conception" of himself wavers and almost gives way. Against the darkness i s the f a i n t g l i t t e r of Jim's "boyish head" which again makes i t s desperate appeal: "You don't know what i t i s f o r a f e l l o w i n my p o s i t i o n to be believed....""'""' Marlow f e e l s drawn to Jim p a r t l y because h i s f a i l u r e seems to have robbed t h e i r "common l i f e " of i t s "glamour", of a l l the great expectations Marlow hims e l f once f e l t . Because he understands the nature of Jim's d e s i r e , the need to look f o r another chance i n which he may win back a b e l i e f i n h i m s e l f which i s i n v i o l a b l e and permanent. S u i c i d e i s no answer to Jim's p l i g h t because i t "would have ended nothing". And Jim i s obsessed w i t h the need f o r an end i n which he possesses him s e l f e n t i r e l y . The death he f i n a l l y r e -ceives amounts to s u i c i d e , but i t provides him w i t h an e f f e c t i v e ending, a triumph of s o r t s . When Marlow thinks back on th a t "communion i n the n i g h t " when they t a l k e d together, he t h i n k s of Jim as a condemned man: "He was 60 g u i l t y , t o o . He was g u i l t y — a s I had t o l d myself repeatedly, g u i l t y and done f o r ; n e v e r t h e l e s s , I wished to spare him the mere d e t a i l of a 16 formal execution." What i s Jim's g u i l t ? Under the law he i s g u i l t y of d e s e r t i o n but what i s the law to Jim? I f Jim were to t h i n k of him-s e l f as g u i l t y i t would be because he was never "good enough". I t would i n v o l v e the f e a r of having l o s t h i s honour. But that honour i s a conception that answers to a personal need and so h i s g u i l t would a r i s e from the inner d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n of wanting to l i v e w i t h i n the dream hut always f a l l i n g s h o r t of doing so. But does Marlow's "judgement" of Jim's g u i l t i n v o l v e something more than t h i s ? Marlow speaks of Jim's having touched the "secret s e n s i b i l i t y of my egoism", an egoism which seems present i n Jim as w e l l and by v i r t u e of which he i s "one of us". With i n h i m s e l f , there i s a "moral s i m p l i c i t y " which has it's r i g h t and wrong. But Jim cannot conceive of himself as a c r i m i n a l independent of h i s own understanding of h i m s e l f . Marlow r i g h t l y says that Jim makes so much of h i s d i s g r a c e when " i t i s the g u i l t alone that m a t t e r s . " 1 ^ Again Marlow seems to suggest that Jim has v i o l a t e d something greater than e i t h e r the s o c i a l law or h i s personal b e l i e f i n honour. When Marlow speaks of Jim's achievements i n Patusan he mentions honour and happiness but that i s a l l : " I won't say anything about innocence". I t seems th a t Jim has become g u i l t y , or has v i o l a t e d something important by v i r t u e of h i s obsession w i t h honour and h i s d e s i r e to l i v e i n a world o f p o s s i b i l i t y r a t h e r than an a c t u a l world. The idea of " b e t r a y a l " i s very important here and i t recurs i n Nostromo. Jim's c l o s e s t r e l a t i o n to another, h i s r e l a t i o n to the woman on Patusan, ends by h i s b e t r a y i n g her. That 61 betrayal of another seems to involve a deeper guilt than anything result-ing from a violation of honour. The betrayal results from that great egoism that Marlow under-stands so well. When the latter thinks of the "idea of death" he says that what makes i t supportable i s that i t "exorcises" the shadow of fate 18 from l i f e . But what can "fate" mean here? Jim has created or dis-covered his own fate. A l l that happens to him seems to arise out of his conception of himself. The rest is chance occurrence. Jim can only wait for the decisive moment in which he may complete himself and gain the f i n a l i t y he seeks. He wants a chance to "get i t a l l back again". To have lost i t " a l l " i s to be guilty of not conforming to his own vision of l i f e . Beyond that Jim understands l i t t l e of g u i l t . Marlow knows that Jim i s lost, that he is going down to the "bottomless p i t " . He himself has no " i l l u s i o n s " and yet—again Marlow draws toward Jim in sympathy even while recognizing his error—Marlow w i l l not let Jim go. He has a "fear of losing him" and a feeling that he could "never forgive himself" i f he did. He feels an absolute need to give some " f i n a l utterance" on what has happened as i f he needed to j u s t i f y himself, or something he once believed but has now lost. When Marlow t e l l s Jim "You must l i v e " , Jim 19 replies: "That isn't the thing". This i s a simple yet incredible thing to say. Why can i t never be enough simply to live? Jim is overcome by the dream and Marlow feels a strange sympathy with that "deep idea" that Jim can never let go of; he understands the need behind i t even though i t remains l i k e "a pool of water in the dark" whose bottom can never be 62 found. When Marlow v i s i t s S t e i n the important question.appears again: " s t r i c t l y speaking, the question i s hot how to get cured, but how to 20 l i v e . " For S t e i n , Jim e x i s t s by v i r t u e of that "inward p a i n " that "makes him know h i m s e l f " , the p a i n f e l t i n the f a i l u r e to make the dream i n c l u d e everything. S t e i n h i m s e l f was a dreamer who pursued h i s d e s i r e s w i t h a r e c k l e s s assurance. But now that i s past and he has be-come a c o l l e c t o r of objects of horror and beauty. The b e a u t i f u l f r a g i l i t y of the b u t t e r f l y i s l i k e a captured dream, but the t h i n g i s dead; c o l l e c t i n g defeats i t s own purpose. S t e i n has passed through the same k i n d of defeat Jim f e e l s and has s u r v i v e d . But h i s s u r v i v a l i s a questionable t h i n g and leaves one wondering what would have become of Jim i f he had never found h i s opportunity. 21 Jim e x i s t s f o r Marlow "by v i r t u e of h i s f e e l i n g " . He w i l l even go so f a r as to i n s i s t that Jim achieved "greatness". But that great-ness i s a s o l i t a r y t h i n g , f o r h i s success, as Marlow p o i n t s out, has no " e x t e r n a l s " by which i t may be recognized. And the t e l l i n g of the s t o r y i s never adequate; one can't assume that the minds of others w i l l r e c e i v e i t f a i t h f u l l y o r understand i t . Marlow i s amazed by the very " s o l i t u d e 22 of h i s achievement", that " b e l i e f i n h i m s e l f snatched from the f i r e ' . On Patusan t h a t b e l i e f i s confirmed and Jim's very l o n e l i n e s s seems to add to h i s s t a t u r e . At t h i s p o i n t there i s nothing " t r a g i c " about Jim. He has again reached the heart of the v i s i o n ; he has excluded a l l that could touch him. I t i s only when the world r e t u r n s , when he becomes in v o l v e d w i t h the woman and f i n a l l y betrays her, that anything t r a g i c 63 appears. That b e t r a y a l i s a strange mixture of b l i n d n e s s and triumph. When Marlow speaks w i t h the woman he f i n d s h i m s e l f t r y i n g to j u s t i f y Jim to her. She knows that "there i s something he can never f o r g e t . " And she fears the b e t r a y a l that i s coming: "You a l l remember something! You a l l go back.to i t . What i s i t ? You t e l l me! What i s 23 t h i s t h i n g ? " But she can never be made to understand. Her questions remain l i t t l e more than "sounds wandering i n the dark". The only answer Marlow can give her i s that Jim i s "not good enough", the same answer t h a t Jim has given to her questions. But i t only r a i s e s her con-tempt and she c a l l s the answer a l i e . Marlow can only repeat that "nobody i s good enough" and then leave. The woman p e r s i s t s i n her r e -f u s a l to accept t h i s . As Jim leaves her to go to Doramin she c r i e s out to him, "You are f a l s e . " Jim makes a l a s t appeal: "Forgive me." But the answer re t u r n s : "Never". But does Jim ever f e e l that she has given the l i e to h i s greatest need? His triumph seems assured at the end. The i s l a n d e r s b e l i e v e i n him and as long as he remains w i t h i n that b e l i e f he i s "safe". And that " s a f e t y " amounts to a " f a i t h " greater than any laws of order or progress. Jim has confessed to t h i s f a i t h but the confession i s e f f e c t i v e because he "had no d e a l i n g s but w i t h h i m s e l f " . Marlow suspects that i t i s human imagination that s e t s loose upon us an "overwhelming d e s t i n y " . The woman suspects t h i s as w e l l : "She had s a i d he had been d r i v e n away from her by a dream,—and there was no answer one could make h e r — t h e r e seemed to be no forgiveness f o r such a t r a n s g r e s s i o n . And yet i s not mankind i t s e l f , pushing on i t s b l i n d way, d r i v e n by a dream of i t s 64 greatness and i t s power upon the dark paths of excessive c r u e l t y and 24 of excessive devotion? And what i s the p u r s u i t of t r u t h , a f t e r a l l ? " There can be no forgive n e s s f o r Jim's "excessive d e v o t i o n " and i t s b e t r a y a l of others yet Marlow r e f r a i n s from jud g i n g him, b e l i e v i n g that the dream i s i n e v i t a b l e . At the co n c l u s i o n of the novel we are given a s i g h t of the darker form that the dream may take. The world that Jim wanted to exclude returns to him i n the character of Brown. I t i s a p p r o p r i a t e that he should have a name as common as Jim's f o r the two share a s e c r e t knowledge: "And there ran through the rough t a l k a v e i n of s u b t l e reference to t h e i r common blood, an assumption of common experience; a s i c k e n i n g suggestion of common g u i l t , of secret knowledge 25 that was l i k e a bond of t h e i r minds and of t h e i r h e a r t s . " What g u i l t and what knowledge do they share? I t i n v o l v e s that r e f u s a l to l i v e , that d e l i b e r a t e d e n i a l of everything t h a t i n t e r f e r e s w i t h the dream. Jim and Brown share a vast egoism that Jim b e l i e v e s i n a h e r o i c s e l f whereas Brown's i s a n t i - h e r o i c . He i s obsessed w i t h punishment, w i t h d e s t r o y i n g a l l t hat has wounded him or embittered him out of a deep "righteousness of w i l l " . He i s the negative v e r s i o n of Jim's i d e a l i s m , the "excessive c r u e l t y " rather than the "excessive devotion". But c r u e l t y and devotion are r e a l l y present i n both men f o r Jim's triumph i n v o l v e s an i n e v i t a b l e c r u e l t y that cannot be f o r g i v e n . The woman asks him, before he leaves her, i f he w i l l defend h i m s e l f . But he r e p l i e s w i t h a l a s t gesture of "superb egoism": "Nothing can touch me". Nostromo i s a novel which i s constructed on a much l a r g e r s c a l e 65 than Lord Jim yet the concerns present in i t are not unlike those found in Lord Jim. The obsession with the dream and the .failure of that desire before a complexity in l i f e and events which w i l l always "betray" i t is again present and is worked out in an elaborate series of variations. Rather than attempt to discuss a l l of these, I w i l l concentrate on the figure of Nostromo. Who is Nostromo? Conrad gives a description of the original he was based on in the preface: "In his firm grip on the earth he inherits, in his improvidence and generosity, in his lavishness with his g i f t s , in his manly vanity, in the obscure sense of his greatness, and in his f a i t h -f u l devotion with something despairing as well as desperate in i t s impulses, he is a Man of the People, their very own unenvious force, dis-26 daining to lead but ruling from within." Again we have a figure of supreme egoism yet with a "devotion" that has something of despair at i t s heart. Jim wants to li v e in a heroic conception of himself but Nostromo wants to lose himself in the "People". But this doesn't make Nostromo less solitary or less proud than Jim. His desire to lose himself in the "People" is lik e an inverted pride for i t s f i n a l end is to further his own magnificence. It is only just that despair should l i e at the center of this wish for one cannot lose oneself so completely. Captain Fidanza grows wealthy and respectable yet carries a "knowledge of his moral ruin" within him. And this ruin again involves betrayal: "In his mingled love and scorn of l i f e and in the bewildered conviction of having been betrayed he hardly knows by what or by whom, he is s t i l l of the people, their un-doubted Great Man—with a private history of his own." There i s the 66 unbearable c o n t r a d i c t i o n , the Great Man w i t h a p r i v a t e h i s t o r y ; f o r Nostromo wanted to have no h i s t o r y , no s e c r e t s , only to move c o n f i d e n t l y and m a g n i f i c e n t l y i n the people's o p i n i o n of him. But the greatness i s corroded from w i t h i n and becomes a sham. I t seems the i n e v i t a b l e tragedy of a romantic who reaches middle age. Devotion and b e t r a y a l are the c e n t r a l f a c t s that t h i s tragedy turns upon and we must look at them i n d e t a i l . Nostromo i s , i n some ways, the simplest character i n the n o v e l . The i n t e r e s t one f e e l s f o r him i s p a r t l y expressed by Decoud: "Exceptional i n d i v i d u a l i t i e s always i n t e r e s t me, because they are true t o the general 27 formula expressing the moral s t a t e of humanity." He i s a f o c a l p o i n t of the novel where the d e s i r e s d r i v i n g the other characters may be.seen w r i t l a r g e . Decoud makes the a s t u t e observation that f o r Nostromo there seems to be no d i f f e r e n c e between speaking and t h i n k i n g . There i s no p r i v a t e world of thought which may c o n t r a d i c t the outward appearance. Jim wanted to l i v e e n t i r e l y w i t h i n a p r i v a t e v i s i o n but Nostromo wants to be a l l e x t e r i o r . He wants to become h i s name i n f a c t , the Magnificent Capataz de Cargadores. Throughout the no v e l he i s o f t e n r e f e r r e d to by h i s t i t l e but t h i s becomes i n c r e a s i n g l y i r o n i c as Nostromo develops a p r i v a t e h i s t o r y and thought and a c t i o n begin to d r i f t apart. There are two c e n t r a l i n c i d e n t s i n the " h i s t o r y " of Nostromo tha t mark the beginning of t h a t moral r u i n which b e f a l l s him: the t r a n s -p o r t a t i o n of the s i l v e r to the i s l a n d and Nostromo's awakening a f t e r i t has been concealed. Nostromo has been given charge of the s i l v e r of the San Tome mine and t o l d to prevent i t from f a l l i n g i n t o the hands of the 67 M o n t e r i s t s . But even as he sets out w i t h Decoud he r e a l i z e s that the treasure w i l l become a "deadly d i s e a s e " f o r him. I t w i l l come to be a possession which he cannot escape. The idea of possession i s important here f o r we f i n d that throughout the n o v e l the possessor i s always, or at l e a s t very n e a r l y , destroyed by the t h i n g he possesses. One can't understand what g u i l t or b e t r a y a l mean i n the novel without coming to terms w i t h t h i s idea of possession. For s u r e l y Nostromo's great con-c e p t i o n of h i m s e l f as a Man of the People i s h i s most p r i z e d possession, as v a l u a b l e to him as the b e l i e f i n the San Tome mine i s to Charles Gould. The s i l v e r , w i t h i t s q u a l i t y of i n c o r r u p t i b i l i t y , i s an image of t h a t very s i m p l i c i t y he seeks i n h i s own l i f e . I t i s by v i r t u e of h i s d e s i r e to possess t h a t s i m p l i c i t y that he w i l l become " g u i l t y " . We s h a l l see t h i s more c l e a r l y when we speak of h i s r e l a t i o n to Teresa and h i s b e l i e f that the s i l v e r i s the only t h i n g standing between himself and her curse. Here I want to note that the obsession w i t h an i d e a , w i t h an i n v i o l a b l e conception of oneself or one's purpose, leads to the b e t r a y a l of others and a personal g u i l t which cannot be f o r g i v e n . Nostromo i s determined to save the s i l v e r , to undertake t h i s a c t i o n f o r the sake of making i t the "most famous and desperate a f f a i r of my l i f e " . Decoud sees i n Nostromo's d e s i r e a "complete s i n g l e n e s s of motive"; he i s a man who w i l l remain "simple i n the j e a l o u s greatness 28 of h i s c o n c e i t " . But as Nostromo and Decoud s i t i n the l i g h t e r , a " c o m p l i c a t i o n " enters i n t o Nostromo's behavior. The l a t t e r i s beginning to suspect that he has been used, that the a f f a i r i s a "desperate" one. Suddenly he t e l l s Decoud that w i t h an axe he could cut through the 68 l i g h t e r ' s s i d e down to the w a t e r l i n e i n three s t r o k e s . And he t e l l s Decoud of t h i s w i t h a " v i n d i c t i v e excitement" i n h i s v o i c e . Why " v i n -d i c t i v e " ? What i s the "something deeper" which now appears i n h i s character? The usual quietness of the man disappears because i t i s "not equal to the s i t u a t i o n as he conceived i t " . I t seems that the i d e a of b e t r a y a l has suggested i t s e l f to Nostromo. He w i l l s i n k the l i g h t e r so that no one may get hold of the s i l v e r . I t would be a f i n a l gesture of revenge against those who have used him, betrayed him. To speak of the s i t u a t i o n as Nostromo "conceived" i t i s very accurate f o r he cannot look upon any s i t u a t i o n independently of t h a t great egoism that cannot accept simple f a c t s . Decoud understands w e l l enough the extent of that egoism: " t h i s man was made i n c o r r u p t i b l e by h i s enormous v a n i t y , that 29 f i n e s t form of egoism which can take on the aspect of every v i r t u e . " He knows that Nostromo would r a t h e r d i e than "deface the p e r f e c t form of h i s egoism". "Such a man was s a f e " . He i s " s a f e " because he i s p e r f e c t l y c o n s i s t e n t and, up to t h i s p o i n t , incapable of d u p l i c i t y . He i s s t i l l the magnificent Capataz, h i s conception of h i m s e l f as yet untouched. But h i s r u i n has begun and to understand what i t i n v o l v e s we must look at h i s awakening a f t e r the s i l v e r has been concealed. Nostromo has sunk the l i g h t e r and swum to Hermosa where he has s l e p t f o r fourteen hours. His awakening i s the t u r n i n g p o i n t between the magnificent f i g u r e of the f i r s t p a r t of the novel and the "ruined and s i n i s t e r Capataz" of the l a t e r p a r t . The d e s c r i p t i o n of h i s awakening i s important: Nostromo woke up from a fourteen hours' sleep, and arose f u l l l e n g t h from h i s l a i r i n the long grass. He stood knee deep amongst the whispering undulations of the green blades w i t h the l o s t a i r of a man j u s t born i n t o the world. Handsome, ro b u s t , and supple, he threw back h i s head, f l u n g h i s arms open, and s t r e t c h e d himself w i t h a slow t w i s t of the w a i s t and a l e i s u r e l y growling yawn of white t e e t h , as n a t u r a l and f r e e from e v i l i n the moment of waking as a magnificent and unconscious w i l d beast. Then, i n the suddenly steadied glance f i x e d upon nothing from under a t h o u g h t f u l frown, appeared the man.30 He i s "reborn" and has a l l the appearance of an achieved greatness. To be a b s o l u t e l y f r e e of e v i l , "unconscious" of s e l f , by becoming a p a r t of the People was always h i s greatest d e s i r e . But almost i n the same moment that t h i s f i g u r e r i s e s before us, there i s suddently a "thought-f u l frown" which betrays the man beneath i t . The Man of the People suddenly has a p r i v a t e h i s t o r y . When he awakes he f i n d s a v u l t u r e w a i t -i n g to prey upon him, j u s t as t h i s newly found p r i v a t e h i s t o r y w i l l prey upon h i s former conception of h i m s e l f . He d r i v e s i t o f f w i t h the words, " I am not dead y e t " . And so he i s n ' t . But nothing can be the same now: "The Capataz of the Sulaco Cargadores had l i v e d i n splendour and p u b l i -c i t y up to the very moment, as i t were, when he took charge of the l i g h t e r c o n t a i n i n g the treasure of s i l v e r i n g o t s . " His l a s t act i n Sulaco, when he gave h i s l a s t d o l l a r to an o l d woman, was " i n complete harmony w i t h h i s v a n i t y , and as such p e r f e c t l y genuine". I t was a gesture out of a l i f e which i s no longer p o s s i b l e f o r him. He has now passed i n t o a d i f f e r e n t world w i t h a f e e l i n g that i t i s "the end of t h i n g s " . A c e r t a i n " n e c e s s i t y of l i v i n g " which he has kept concealed, " f o r God knows how lo n g " , has now broken out and made the past appear l i k e a " f l a t t e r i n g dream". The s i l v e r , which comes to be an obsession f o r Nostromo, i s nothing i n i t s e l f . But f o r him i t i s " i n c o r r u p t i b l e " ; i t presents 70 him w i t h the f l a t t e r i n g but i n a c c e s s i b l e image of h i s own grandeur. This i s a d i f f e r e n t form of the k i n d of i n t e r e s t t h a t Charles Gould has i n the s i l v e r . The l a t t e r sees i t as "an accomplished f a c t f u l -31 f i l l i n g an audacious d e s i r e . " The s i l v e r mine i s the embodiment of 32 h i s d e s i r e to make a "vigorous view of l i f e p r e v a i l " . F i n a l l y i t becomes a symbol of that " a b s t r a c t j u s t i c e " Gould has a passion f o r . As Decoud says of him, he i s an i d e a l i s t , a man f o r whom the world i s never "good enough". Nostromo's obsession i s no l e s s grand even though i t i s l i m i t e d to hi m s e l f . Now he i s l e f t " r i c h i n g l o r y and r e p u t a t i o n " but a l l t h i s i s only dust and ashes i n h i s mouth. For the f i r s t time he f e e l s poverty. The passion i n which he saw himse l f completed i s now broken and he f e e l s i t l i k e death i t s e l f : "The confused and i n t i m a t e impressions of u n i v e r s a l d i s s o l u t i o n which beset a s u b j e c t i v e nature a t any strong cheque to i t s r u l i n g passion had a b i t t e r n e s s approaching that of death i t s e l f . He was simple. He was as ready to become the prey of 38 any b e l i e f , s u p e r s t i t i o n , or d e s i r e as a c h i l d . " His mind wanders and looks f o r something to f i x i t s e l f upon; i t comes to r e s t on the idea of b e t r a y a l : "The Capataz de Cargadores, on a r e v u l s i o n of s u b j e c t i v e n e s s , exasperated almost to i n s a n i t y , beheld a l l h i s world without f a i t h and courage. He had been betrayed!" But the idea of b e t r a y a l , of being used by others, only conceals a deep f a i l u r e i n h i m s e l f . When he i s on h i s deathbed he t r i e s to t e l l the others what has betrayed him. But he can-not f i n i s h the sentence, he cannot name the t h i n g that betrayed him. Nostromo remains completely s e l f - c e n t e r e d even i n defeat. The " r e a l i t i e s " that made up h i s " f o r c e " are now gone but he b r i n g s everything 71 back to h i s "betrayed i n d i v i d u a l i t y " . His conception of himself has been broken. I t i s important that as he f e e l s himself being t o r n apart h i s d e s i r e to save the treasure becomes the greater s i n c e i t i s the l a s t i n c o r r u p t i b l e t h i n g l e f t to him. That and the " c l e a r and simple n o t i o n of b e t r a y a l " preoccupy him. The l a t t e r accounts f o r that " f e e l -ing...of being done f o r , of having i n a d v e r t e n t l y gone out of h i s exist e n c e on an i s s u e i n which h i s p e r s o n a l i t y had not been taken i n t o 3 A account. A man betrayed i s a man destroyed." He fastens upon Teresa's curse f o r not having brought her a p r i e s t f o r a death-bed co n f e s s i o n . But the very " g u i l t " he f e e l s over t h i s i s something he f a l l s i n t o l i k e a c h i l d . He i s ready f o r g u i l t now that h i s other b e l i e f s have f a i l e d him. But can he ever know i n what sense he i s g u i l t y of b e t r a y i n g Teresa? The g u i l t i s changed i n t o a s u p e r s t i t i o u s f e e l i n g of doom. He makes so much of h i s d i s g r a c e , of the f e a r that the curse may take e f f e c t . The r e a l source of h i s f e e l i n g of b e t r a y a l i s never understood by him. And what of t h i s " p e r s o n a l i t y " that has not been taken i n t o account? I s n ' t i t only that conception of himself which he can no longer s u s t a i n , p a r t l y because he i s now alone and deprived of the g l i t t e r i n g world of p r a i s e and p u b l i c a d u l a t i o n that he wanted to lose h i m s e l f i n ? When Nostromo meets Monygham, a f t e r h i s r e t u r n to Sulaco, the doctor asks him about h i s experiences and Nostromo f e e l s a momentary e l a t i o n f o r the doctor's i n t e r e s t seems to r e s t o r e h i s " p e r s o n a l i t y " , "the only t h i n g l o s t i n th a t desperate a f f a i r " . But Monygham pursues h i s own i n t e r e s t s and Nostromo f e e l s himself again f o r g o t t e n . Monygham knows nothing of Nostromo's change of heart and s t i l l looks upon him as a model of i n c o r r u p t i b i l i t y : " i t was impossible to conceive him other-wise". But Nostromo r e v e a l s , unnoticed by the doctor, the t e r r i b l e depth that has now opened up w i t h i n him. The doctor asks Nostromo about what they s h a l l say of the treasure and the l a t t e r r e p l i e s that S o t i l l o must be t o l d t h a t i t was sunk. He w i l l then waste v a l u a b l e time l o o k i n g f o r i t . What i s i n t e r e s t i n g i s Nostromo's account of why he w i l l p e r s i s t i n l o o k i n g f o r i t : 'There i s something i n a treasure t h a t fastens upon a man's mind. He w i l l pray and blaspheme and s t i l l p e r servere, and w i l l curse the day he ever heard of i t , and w i l l l e t h i s l a s t hour come upon him unawares, s t i l l b e l i e v i n g that he missed i t only by a f o o t . He w i l l see i t every time he c l o s e s h i s eyes. He w i l l never forget i t t i l l he i s dead—and even t h e n — D o c t o r , d i d you ever hear of the miserable gringos on Azuera, that cannot die? Ha! ha! S a i l o r s l i k e myself. There i s no g e t t i n g away from a treasure t h a t once fastens upon your mind.'35 Nostromo says t h i s i n a "changed tone" of v o i c e and seems to forget the doctor's presence completely. For he i s d e s c r i b i n g h i s own l o s t "person-a l i t y " , that " t r e a s u r e " he must r e g a i n i f he i s ever to be whole again. The d e s i r e f o r i t i s as f r u s t r a t i n g and p a i n f u l as Jim's search f o r an opportunity. Once Nostromo has l o s t touch w i t h h i s " t r e a s u r e " he becomes ob-sessed w i t h the p o s s i b l e e f f e c t s of Teresa's curse on him. She always looked upon him w i t h a "curious b i t t e r n e s s " mixed w i t h respect and when he refused to b r i n g a p r i e s t f o r her death bed c o n f e s s i o n , she cursed that c r u e l t y i n him which made him " t h i n k of nobody but h i m s e l f " . He cannot f r e e h i m s e l f from the "obscure s u p e r s t i t i o n of personal f o r t u n e " which haunts men of a c t i o n . So begins the "moral r u i n " which i s h i n t e d 73 a t i n the preface. As a r e s u l t of keeping the whereabouts of the 36 s i l v e r a s e c r e t , the "genuineness of a l l h i s q u a l i t i e s was destroyed". His former magnificence becomes a sham h i d i n g a s e c r e t . Nostromo cannot bear the "concentration of h i s thought upon the t r e a s u r e " and yet i t i s a l l that remains, the l a s t " i n c o r r u p t i b l e " t h i n g he can touch. He b e l i e v e s that the s i l v e r i s the only t h i n g that stands be-tween himself and the e f f e c t s of Teresa's curse. The man whose very "essence" c o n s i s t e d of seeing h i s r e f l e c t i o n i n the eyes of men now has a s e c r e t , a p r i v a t e t h i n g , the "only s e c r e t spot of h i s l i f e " . For the treasure has become the " s e c r e t of h i s s a f e t y " , the t h i n g that w i l l p r o t e c t him from a l l misfortune and b e t r a y a l . Nothing can touch him. But t h i s i s a l l an act of desperation and he r e a l i z e s he i s l i k e the gringos on Azuera w i t h t h e i r "unlawful treasure". And i t i s unlawful by v i r t u e of the man's d e s i r e f o r what i t represents, not f o r any q u a l i t y inherent i n i t s e l f . Nostromo considers s u i c i d e as a means of escape but. h i s egoism i s such that he cannot imagine him s e l f dying. H i s own e x i s -tence w i l l continue f o r e v e r ; the only question i s whether he w i l l s u r v i v e i n shame or i n g l o r y . His s u b j e c t i o n to the t r e a s u r e i s only r e l i e v e d by the l o v e of Linda. That l o v e a f f o r d s him a l a s t " e x u l t i n g c o n v i c t i o n of h i s power". He w i l l give her everything and i s overcome by the "supreme i n t o x i c a t i o n 37 of h i s generosity". But he cannot escape the treasure nor the f e e l i n g s of f a s c i n a t i o n and despair t h a t i t arouses i n him. As he l i e s on h i s deathbed, a sound of the " o l d magnificent c a r e l e s s n e s s " enters h i s v o i c e . He comes back to the question of what overcame him, what betrayed him: 74 'I am not angry. No! I t i s not Ramirez who, overcame the Capataz of the Sulaco Cargadores.' He paused, made an e f f o r t , and i n a louder v o i c e , a l i t t l e w i l d l y , d e clared: 'I d i e b e t r a y e d — b e t r a y e d b y — 1 But he di d not say by whom or by what he was dying betrayed.^8 He cannot be c e r t a i n as to what has defeated him. F i n a l l y h i s thought f i x e s upon Mrs. Gould and a l l he d i d f o r her to save the s i l v e r o n l y to f i n d that i t was "nothing of importance". Though there i s something "accursed" i n i t , he w i l l s t i l l , w i t h a "pained, i n v o l u n t a r y r e -lu c t a n c e " o f f e r the s i l v e r to her w i t h i t s s h i n i n g , i n c o r r u p t i b l e b r i l l a n c e . But Mrs. Gould r e p l i e s : '"No Capataz.... No one misses i t now. L et i t be l o s t f o r e v e r . ' " He never l o s e s that f e e l i n g of b a f f l e d p a in before the s i l v e r . He w i l l never know what betrayed him because he can never look i n t o himself. He i s "simple". But he i s granted a f i n a l triumph. Linda, who cannot understand how he could have p r e f e r r e d her s i s t e r to h e r s e l f , vows that she w i l l never f o r g e t him. He becomes h i s name at l a s t as Linda throws a l l her f a i t h and bewildered p a i n i n t o the c r y , 'Gian B a t t i s t a ! ' I t i s the l a s t triumph, the " g r e a t e s t , the most en v i a b l e , the most s i n i s t e r of a l l " . 3 9 ARTHUR MILLER'S THE CRUCIBLE In The C r u c i b l e . . . t h e r e was an attempt to move beyond the discovery and u n v e i l i n g of the hero's g u i l t , a g u i l t that k i l l s the p e r s o n a l i t y . I had grown i n c r e a s i n g l y conscious of t h i s theme i n my past work, and aware too that i t was no longer enough f o r me to b u i l d a play, as i t were, upon the r e v e l a t i o n of g u i l t , and to r e l y s o l e l y upon a f a t e which exacts payment from the culpable man. Now g u i l t appeared to me no longer the bed-rock beneath which the probe could not penetrate. I saw i t now as a be t r a y e r , as p o s s i b l y the most r e a l of our i l l u s i o n s , but nevertheless a q u a l i t y of mind capable of being overthrown.^ This passage i s a summary of Arthur M i l l e r ' s i n t e n t i o n s i n w r i t i n g The C r u c i b l e . The play leads one to speak of " i n t e n t i o n " f o r c e r t a i n l y i t gives the. impression of being addressed to a p a r t i c u l a r problem which i s then thought out i n dramatic terms. The play i s given much of i t s s t r e n g t h by M i l l e r ' s understanding of the workings of g u i l t w i t h i n a community. In the i n t r o d u c t i o n I spoke b r i e f l y of t h i s q u e s tion of " i n t e n t i o n " . The C r u c i b l e i s an obvious example of a work i n which the i n t e n t i o n s of the author cannot be ignored, otherwise one could be l e d to expect the wrong things of the play. M i l l e r i s concerned w i t h the o r i g i n of g u i l t w i t h i n a commun-i t y . Obviously, each work so f a r discussed has approached the question of t r a g i c g u i l t d i f f e r e n t l y . Oedipus v i o l a t e s an order greater than any human one and h i s very s u f f e r i n g seems to confirm the presence of 7 6 an o v e r r i d i n g law or p a t t e r n i n events. The background against which he s u f f e r s cannot be ignored i n any attempt to understand h i s " g u i l t " . With Lord Jim we are i n a very d i f f e r e n t world where the f i n a l measure of thing s seems to be an all-encompassing s u b j e c t i v i t y . We are faced w i t h a r e d u c t i o n of things to the i n d i v i d u a l man whereas i n Greek tragedy there seem to be no " i n d i v i d u a l s " , only masked f i g u r e s moving against a backdrop of powers greater than themselves. M i l l e r i s w r i t i n g of men l i v i n g i n a community and of the emotions of t e r r o r and g u i l t which e x i s t w i t h i n the community. Kenneth Burke has remarked that s o c i a l drama tends to f a l l i n t o a fundamental e r r o r : i t " d i s s o l v e s the person i n t o a non-person" by d e a l i n g w i t h characters i n terms of the 2 r e a c t i o n of the environment on an organism. M i l l e r hopes to avoid t h i s by d e a l i n g w i t h the " p s y c h o l o g i c a l question" of that g u i l t present i n Salem before the t r i a l s . He i s w e l l aware that t h i s approach a l s o has i t s dangers, p a r t i c u l a r l y the tendency to "deny a l l outer f o r c e s 3 u n t i l man i s only h i s complex". Somewhere between these two extremes l i e s the answer to t h i s p u z z l e of a community which creates i t s own g u i l t along w i t h the need of v i c t i m s to r e l i e v e that g u i l t . M i l l e r ' s experiences i n the McCarthy "witch hunts" c e r t a i n l y l i e behind t h i s " q u a l i t y of mind" t h a t he i s d e s c r i b i n g i n Salem. In the i n t r o d u c t i o n to the C o l l e c t e d P l a y s he gives a remarkable account of a network executive who was c a l l e d to the head o f f i c e and asked whether he had any connections w i t h the L e f t . When he answered that he had none, he was t o l d that that was p r e c i s e l y what was wrong. He didn't have anything to give h i s accusers. They assumed he was g u i l t y and f i r e d him; 77 he returned to h i s house and was unable to recover any d e s i r e to leave 4 i t f o r a year afterward. Here the mind of the accuser presumes to know the most secret thoughts of the accused. There can be no witnesses or e x t e r n a l evidence f o r everything i s based upon what remains unseen. There i s a remorseless kind of judgement present here, a r e f u s a l to allow freedom even to thought, a need to reach the most i n t i m a t e p a r t s of human l i f e . The Salem community i s based on t h i s k i nd of ceaseless v i g i l a n c e . I t i s an i n c r e d i b l y c l o s e d world where one never escapes others or the judgements of others. The g u i l t f e l t before the t r i a l s o f t e n comes from a f e a r of not being good enoughj of not measuring up to the law. The p a r a l l e l w i t h i n the i n d i v i d u a l might be found i n the man of s t r i c t moral conscience whose sense of g u i l t becomes deeper as he recognizes the many tran s g r e s s i o n s which are i n e v i t a b l e . The h y s t e r i a surrounding the t r i a l s then becomes a means of r e l e a s e whereby personal g u i l t takes the form of accusations against v i c t i m s . And here a strange paradox appears, f o r i n t a k i n g a v i c t i m , the s o c i e t y confirms those very laws that created the g u i l t which required a v i c t i m to be r e l i e v e d . I t becomes an endless and v i c i o u s c i r c l e . The m o r a l i t y present i n Salem i s i n c o n c e i v a b l e without some idea of s i n . I t would seen that any s t r i c t r u l e of conduct can only succeed by r i g i d s e l f - d e n i a l . And what i s denied i n e v i t a b l y r e t u r n s as " s i n " . To understand the P u r i t a n m o r a l i t y and the s t a t e of mind i t i n v o l v e s , i t would be best to look at two of i t s major r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s : Reverend Hale and Deputy Governor Danforth. When Hale f i r s t appears weighted 78 down w i t h books on demonology, he i s almost a comic f i g u r e . He has a v a i n p r i d e i n the secret knowledge of the d e v i l which may be found through d i l i g e n t study. He f u l l y b e l i e v e s that "the D e v i l i s p r e c i s e " , that he leaves d e f i n i t e marks of h i s presence and that only he i s q u a l i f i e d to recognize these marks. When he speaks of h i s books he reve a l s a d e f i n i t e passion f o r s e c r e t knowledge: "Here i s a l l the i n v i s i b l e world, caught, d e f i n e d and c a l c u l a t e d . In these books the D e v i l stands s t r i p p e d of a l l h i s brute disguises...Have no f e a r now—we s h a l l f i n d him out i f he has come among us, and I mean to crush him u t t e r l y i f he has shown h i s face.""* But Hale's d e s i r e to catch the " i n v i s i b l e w o rld" i s more i n t e l l e c t u a l p r e t e n t i o n than deep c o n v i c t i o n . When the f i r s t doubts appear, h i s i d e a l s begin to c o l l a p s e rather q u i c k l y . He begins to suspect that p r i v a t e vengeance i s working behind the i n d i v i d u a l t e s t i m o n i e s . When Proctor asks him how anyone could b e l i e v e a woman l i k e Rebecca Nurse capable of murder, he answers, but " i n great p a i n " , "Man, remember, u n t i l an hour before the D e v i l f e l l , God thought him b e a u t i f u l i n heaven". I t i s an important remark f o r i t r e t u r n s to the idea of judging the most p r i v a t e thoughts. Beneath the beauty there must be c o r r u p t i o n and Hale w i l l not be content u n t i l he has found i t and impressed others w i t h h i s knowledge of i t . He advises P r o c t o r to think on the "cause", the "secret blasphemy" of those who are punished by the c o u r t . The assumption l y i n g beneath h i s argument i s very s i m i l a r to that which u n d e r l i e s Danforth's remark to the e f f e c t that where there i s f e a r there must be g u i l t . But Hale l a c k s the deep c o n v i c t i o n of Danforth and he i s brought to the p o i n t where h i s b e l i e f s have c o l l a p s e d to leave him w i t h a view of t h e i r t e r r i b l e consequences. Whatever he has touched with h i s " b r i g h t confidence" has d i e d . Now he can only abandon a l l p r i n c i p l e s f o r the sake of " l i f e " : " I t i s mistaken law that leads you to s a c r i f i c e . L i f e , woman, l i f e i s God's most precious g i f t ; no p r i n -c i p l e , however g l o r i o u s , may j u s t i f y the t a k i n g of i t . " But when he says that P r o c t o r should confess to a crime he hasn't committed f o r the sake of " l i f e " , E l i z a b e t h answers him: " I t h i n k that be the d e v i l ' s argument." She knows that more i s at stake here than j u s t the question of l i f e or death. Hale i s not wrong to argue f o r the s a n c t i t y of l i f e but h i s argument'overlooks the f a c t that f o r P r o c t o r l i f e i s not enough. He must have h i s honour, h i s "name", as w e l l . The doubts that destroy Hale's b e l i e f s l e a d him to abandon those b e l i e f s and f a l l back on the value of " l i f e " . Danforth i s subjected to those same doubts but overcomes them. He i s a c o n s i d e r a b l y impressive f i g u r e , a man who w i l l uphold the law at a l l c o s t s . M i l l e r seems to have been p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t e r e s t e d i n t h i s man as may be seen by some of h i s own comments on the c h a r a c t e r . Before l o o k i n g at these l e t us t u r n to some of Danforth's own pronouncements w i t h i n the play to understand what h i s " f a i t h " i n v o l v e s . S h o r t l y a f t e r h i s f i r s t appearance i n Act 3, he describes the times as f o l l o w s : "This i s a sharp time now, a p r e c i s e time—we l i v e no longer i n the dusky afternoon when e v i l mixed i t s e l f w i t h good and befuddled the world. Now, by God's grace, the s h i n i n g sun i s up and them that f e a r not l i g h t w i l l s u r e l y p r a i s e i t . " Danforth cannot accept t h i s "dusky afternoon", t h i s c onfusion of good and e v i l of which human nature i s made. He chooses to deny that confusion; 80 e v i l may come so f a r but no f u r t h e r , a l l that f a l l s beyond t h i s l i n e w i l l be good. There must be a b l i n d i n g l i g h t which makes everything " p r e c i s e " and d i v i d e s human nature i n t o the good and the bad. He w i l l presume to know the s e c r e t s of the h e a r t . And he f o l l o w s t h i s b e l i e f w i t h t e r r i b l e consistency. The k i n d of judgements he makes when he f i r s t appears are very much l i k e Hale's but they come from a deeper c o n v i c t i o n . Hale suggests that there i s great fear of the court i n Salem to which Danforth r e p l i e s "Then there i s a prodigious g u i l t i n the country." In a sense he i s r i g h t , but the source of t h i s g u i l t i s very d i f f e r e n t from what he imagines. I t comes not from t h e i r having p r a c t i c e d w i t c h c r a f t , but from t h e i r f e a r of not conforming to the judgements of the c o u r t . The u l t i m a t e source of t h e i r f e a r i s the r i g o u r of the Law. Danforth's remarks on w i t c h c r a f t are a l s o important here. Witch-c r a f t i s an " i n v i s i b l e crime". There can be no witnesses apart from the witch and t h e v v i c t i m . But t h i s puts the " w i t c h " wholly at the mercy of the accuser. Any plea of innocence on the part of the accused cannot be accepted f o r i t i s expected t h a t they w i l l deny the crime. Yet to remain s i l e n t would a l s o be condemnation. E i t h e r way, one i s l o s t . A l l t h i s i s i m p l i e d i n that simple yet t e r r i b l e remark of P a r r i s ' : "We are here, your Honour, p r e c i s e l y to di s c o v e r what no one has ever seen." But i t i s immediately a f t e r t h i s remark t h a t Danforth i s brought up ag a i n s t the k i n d of doubts that destroyed Hale's b e l i e f s . A b i g a i l i s brought forward as a witness a g a i n s t Mary Warren's confession that no a p p a r i t i o n s or d e v i l s were ever seen by any of the g i r l s . Danforth proceeds to question 81 A b i g a i l but h i s attempt to get at any t r u t h i s suddenly undermined by the s u s p i c i o n that A b i g a i l as P r o c t o r puts i t , i s "not a c h i l d " , but a woman wi t h p r i v a t e d e s i r e s and p r i v a t e grievances of her own. Her p o s i t i o n as an unimpeachable witness i s shaken by P a r r i s s ' t e s t i -mony that he saw the g i r l s dancing i n the woods. The simple t r i a l suddenly becomes a "nightmare". Danforth looks i n t e n t l y at A b i g a i l , d i s t u r b e d by the f a c t that he now sees more i n her than an innocent c h i l d . That confusion of good and e v i l which he cannot accept has returned. He i s brought c l o s e to seeing a t r u t h which does not conform to h i s be-l i e f s but at the l a s t moment he i s duped (almost w i l l i n g l y ) by A b i g a i l i n t o b e l i e v i n g her testimony. She stages a scene i n which she pretends to be possessed and Mary Warren breaks under the pressure and gives i n to her. Danforth b e l i e v e s her and i n doing so r e f u s e s , as P r o c t o r puts i t , to " b r i n g men out of ignorance" by r e c o g n i z i n g " f r a u d " . Proctor can only add that he and Danforth w i l l "burn together" because of t h i s . Once the executions begin, Danforth w i l l not r e t r e a t from h i s p o s i t i o n . There can be no end to the process of judgement f o r to pardon any of those s t i l l l i v i n g would only cast doubt on the g u i l t of those a l -ready sentenced: " I w i l l not r e c e i v e a s i n g l e plea f o r pardon or post-ponement. Them that w i l l not confess w i l l hang...Postponement now speaks of f l o u n d e r i n g on my p a r t ; r e p r i e v e or pardon must cast doubt upon the g u i l t of them that died t i l l now. While I speak God's law, I w i l l not crack i t s v o i c e w i t h whimpering. I f r e t a l i a t i o n i s your f e a r , know t h i s — I should hang ten thousand that dared to r i s e against the law, and an ocean of s a l t tears could not melt the r e s o l u t i o n of the s t a t u t e s . " I f 8 2 c a r r i e d to i t s extreme, Danforth's "law" would destroy everything f o r who could escape condemnation? The very " p e r f e c t i o n " of the law demands punishment. In a l e t t e r to S h e i l a H u f t e l , M i l l e r has made some i n t e r e s t i n g comments on Danforth. He c r i t i c i z e s Jean-Paul Sar t r e ' s f i l m v e r s i o n of the p l a y on the grounds that h i s treatment of Danforth l a c k s "moral dimension". For what M i l l e r wants i n Danforth i s a man who w i l l i n g l y chooses e v i l , knowing i t as e v i l . To know what he has done and to accept i t as a good t h i n g i s what c o n s t i t u t e s e v i l i n Danforth. But i n the play, i t seems that Danforth doesn't choose to judge or punish because i t i s "good" but because i t i s necessary. That n e c e s s i t y comes from deep w i t h -i n h i m s e l f f o r human nature would no longer be i n t e l l i g i b l e to him i f he admitted any doubts as to the Law. This n e c e s s i t y does not make h i s a c t i o n s any l e s s t e r r i b l e . In h i s speech on h i s r e f u s a l to grant any pardons he seems to r e a l i z e t h a t the course he has chosen may i n v o l v e some profound e r r o r but he cannot t u r n back f o r he would lose hold on h i m s e l f . He would be cast i n t o that " s p i n n i n g world" of confusion that surrounds P r o c t o r and E l i z a b e t h . And so he must choose e v i l out of an inner n e c e s s i t y . Danforth's b e l i e f s r e q u i r e judgement of o t h e r s . John Proctor i s brought to the p o i n t where he refuses to judge another. He i s the c e n t r a l " v i c t i m " of the p l a y , the one who must be s a c r i f i c e d to "mistaken law". But he i s not an innocent v i c t i m . His "goodness" i s based n e i t h e r on n a i v e t y nor on that righteousness that i s completely i n t o l e r a n t of human e r r o r . When he f i r s t appears, i t i s h i s own judgement against himself 83 that he s u f f e r s from. His own f a i l u r e and consequent i n f i d e l i t y to E l i z a b e t h are a source of shame. She r i g h t l y refuses to judge him f o r she knows that he has already condemned himself f o r a c t i n g a g a i n s t h i s own honesty or i n t e g r i t y . He sees c l e a r l y what i s happening i n Salem and knows what " p r i v a t e vengeance" l i e s beneath A b i g a i l ' s accusa-t i o n s . When the t r i a l s begin, nothing i s changed f o r him: "we are what we always were, but naked now." For Proctor there i s no b a t t l e of d e v i l s and angels i n Salem, only a very human s t r u g g l e . As an answer to any c r i t i c i s m that he i s too "good" we have only to look at h i s r e p l y to F r a n c i s Nurse when he confesses to lechery: " I wish you had some e v i l i n you that you might know me." Proctor asks f o r a sympathy which assumes that Nurse has a l s o "sinned", has known " e v i l " . He speaks out of that world which i s so i n t o l e r a b l e to Danforth, the human world where good and e v i l are never " p r e c i s e " . A man l i k e Danforth never deals w i t h others d i r e c t l y , they are "naked" f o r him only when they confess t h e i r s i n s before the law. But P r o c t o r ' s most important d e a l i n g s are w i t h another human being, h i s w i f e E l i z a b e t h . When they meet f o r the l a s t time i n Act 4 they stand i n a "spinning world", above sorrow. They have only one another now and t h e i r c e n t r a l concern turns around the question of judgement and fo r g i v e n e s s . P r o c t o r t h i n k s i t would be hypocrisy f o r himtto d i e a t the hands of h i s accusers f o r i t would give him the appearance of a s a i n t . He puts the t e r r i b l y simple question to E l i z a b e t h : "What would you have me do?" But she w i l l not answer; she won't give him the s a t i s f a c t i o n of any judgement; i t i s f o r him to f o r g i v e h i m s e l f . The conv e r s a t i o n f i n a l l y comes down to 84 the p a i n f u l f a c t s of t h e i r own marriage. But i t never comes to a simple choice of l i f e over death. For P r o c t o r must r e t a i n h i s "name". That i s what i s so i n t o l e r a b l e i n having to s i g n the c o n f e s s i o n . By s i g n i n g i t he would l i v e d i v i d e d against h i m s e l f . He i s t o r n between accepting a death which would make a f a l s e martyr of him and s i g n i n g a c o n f e s s i o n that would destroy whatever remains of h i s i n t e g r i t y . But he chooses to d i e r a t h e r than s e l l h imself to confirm the b e l i e f s of h i s accusers. To Hale's statement that he cannot l e t himself be hanged, he answers: " I can.. And there's your f i r s t marvel, that I can." He accepts that "shred of goodness" i n h i m s e l f which leads him to defy h i s accusers. Hale makes a l a s t p l e a f o r " l i f e " : "What p r o f i t him to bleed? S h a l l the dust p r a i s e him? S h a l l the worms d e c l a r e h i s truth? Go to him, take h i s shame away." But E l i z a b e t h , i n e f f e c t , allows him to d i e , to have h i s "goodness". Hale cannot understand why P r o c t o r should choose to d i e and can only c a l l i t p r i d e and v a n i t y . But Proctor has broken f r e e of that strange c o m p l i c i t y between the accuser and the accused whereby the l a t t e r i s caught up i n an i l l u s i o n of g u i l t . P r o c t o r w i l l , not die to confirm the r i g h t e o u s -ness of h i s accusers; he w i l l not give them anything. I t i s a simple matter to hang a man but they cannot touch h i s e s s e n t i a l freedom, h i s "name". As P r o c t o r i s taken out Hale c o l l a p s e s i n t o prayers and weeping. But Danforth sweeps out of the room w i t h these f i n a l words: "Hang them high over the townf Who weeps f o r these, weeps f o r c o r r u p t i o n ! " One f e e l s a great suppressed anger i n these words. For Danforth must know, even i f he w i l l not admit i t to h i m s e l f , that he has f a i l e d , that P r o c t o r has escaped him i n the end. 85 CONCLUSION M i l l e r chooses to see the g u i l t present i n Salem as i l l u s o r y , but could g u i l t be i l l u s o r y i n a work l i k e Macbeth? The C r u c i b l e presents a man who refuses to share the g u i l t of others because he knows i t i s based on f e a r . P r o c t o r i s not a " t r a g i c " f i g u r e i n the sense of a man who must go f u r t h e r i n t o d e s p a i r , knowing that he i s l o s t . He chooses to defend h i s own i n t e g r i t y against the f e a r and g u i l t of others. He d i e s because he chooses to be "good" whereas Mac-beth dies almost i n defiance of any p o s s i b l e goodness. P r o c t o r wants to be able to l i v e w i t h h i m s e l f , to accept h i m s e l f . But Macbeth moves i n the opposite d i r e c t i o n , towards a d i s i n t e g r a t i o n i n h i m s e l f . P r o c t o r must d i e a t the hands of s o c i e t y i n order to p r o t e c t h i s i n t e g r i t y . But many of the p r o t a g o n i s t s I have been d i s c u s s i n g di e as a consequence of wanting to p r o t e c t something very d i f f e r e n t from i n t e g r i t y . Danforth i s perhaps c l o s e r to the t r a g i c q u a l i t y t h a t surrounds f i g u r e s l i k e Macbeth or Henchard. Danforth cannot break f r e e of h i s be-l i e f i n a Law which makes l i f e comprehensible a t the cost of d e s t r o y i n g i t . Macbeth's dream of power, Henchard's d e s i r e f o r " c o n s i s t e n c y " , or Jim's obsession w i t h honour seem to have something i n common, perhaps t h a t d e s i r e f o r "possession" that I spoke of i n the i n t r o d u c t i o n . Each man hopes to f i n d h i m s e l f i n the t h i n g that he a c q u i r e s . Jim comes c l o s e s t to succeeding f o r at the end he f e e l s a k i n d of triumph and yet he has simply entered i n t o a p r i v a t e dream, a grand i l l u s i o n which i s present i n 86 the very c o n t r a d i c t i o n i n h i s name. Such a d e s i r e f o r possession seems to be based upon a great egoism. In Richard I I I there i s a very b r i e f and accurate expression of t h i s q u a l i t y : "Richard loves Richard that i s , I am I . " ( v . i i i . 1 8 4 ) When someone l i k e Henchard chooses to be c o n s i s t e n t he repeats that simple phrase. The s o l i t u d e of the p r o t a g o n i s t i s i n e v i t a b l e because the t r a g i c hero deals only w i t h h i m s e l f , w i t h h i s own passion. He completes the t e r r i b l e c i r c l e that Richard expresses. He i s then l e f t alone, possessing himself at l a s t . There i s a strong s i m i l a r i t y between these words of Richard's and those of Satan i n Paradise Lost, when he i s f i r s t thrown out of heaven. He dismisses the pla c e i n which he f i n d s himself as of no importance: The mind i s i t s own p l a c e , and i n i t s e l f Can make a heaven of h e l l , a h e l l of heaven. What matter where, i f I be s t i l l the same...(I.253-5) But Satan i s i n h e l l ; no e f f o r t of thought can make i t heaven. When one i s alone a l l things are p o s s i b l e ; any a c t i o n may be completed i n imagination. Where then does the g u i l t begin? I t i s n ' t simply the consequence of an a c t i o n . The g u i l t i s more sudden; i t pre-cedes the a c t i t s e l f . Macbeth becomes g u i l t y before the image of hims e l f murdering Duncan; he becomes g u i l t y before a p o s s i b i l i t y . There could be some s i m i l a r i t y to t h i s i n the case of a man who was too cautious before l i f e and so l i v e d under the f e a r of an unnamed t e r r o r that could f a l l upon him at any moment. He would become g u i l t y because of t h i s f e a r , g u i l t y of r e f u s i n g to r i s k anything. But Macbeth i s n e i t h e r c o l d nor t i m i d ; he chooses to make himself k i n g . Once he begins to act h i s g u i l t 87 is only confirmed on a deeper level and his f a l l becomes a certainty. Are these characters allowed any knowledge of their guilt and can that knowledge save them from it? It seems that once the process has begun there is no turning back. And yet, in the beginning at least, the character must be free to sin. Otherwise his f a l l would simply be a matter of personal compulsion. But whatever freedom i s present in the beginning is soon lost; the protagonist seems to be l e f t in a position where he is conscious that he is f a l l i n g deeper into some great error but is unable to stop, as i f a part of himself were s t i l l sane and sat watching the other part do what i t must. There are exceptions to this, the most obvious being Oedipus at Colonus. In that play the force that determines the course of events is projected outside of the protagonist in the form of a Law governing events. Thus guilt becomes a shadowy thing which doesn't seem to apply to Oedipus. As I said in the chapter on the play, he does not choose his own destruction in the same way as Macbeth does. I began with the problem of the consciousness of guilt; but i t i s now apparent that we cannot speak of the " g u i l t " that surrounds any of these figures in general terms. It must be understood that there i s a difference between the tragedy of a single individual and the tragedy of a society; that difference w i l l affect the way in which we speak of the protagonist's "guilt". Individuals like Macbeth or Henchard, though they are very much a part of a society, seem to destroy themselves out of the very energy of their own characters. They leave one with the inevitable question, Can a man be judged guilty simply because of what he is? 88 Judging a man guilty suggests that the man had a free choice between alternatives and was willing to accept the consequences of his decision. But with a character like Macbeth or Henchard there seems to be no free-dom of the w i l l ; each man's decision seems to arise out of something very basic in his own character. The same cannot be said of figures lik e Tess or Jude or John Proctor. When we speak of guilt in relation to them, we are dealing with a guilt which i s shared by an entire society. Tess and Jude are only guilty in the eyes of a society which has no place for them. Proctor finds that personal integrity i s impossible in the society in which he lives . The cost of that integrity i s his own death. But whether a man is destroyed by the force of his own character, or by the forces in society which are beyond his control, the experience of reading the work does not leave one with any feeling of absurdity as to what has occurred. Marlow says of Jim that he had an intensity of l i f e that made his death matter. The pain f e l t by any of these characters leaves one with the assurance that they were alive, that their death was not that of a hunted animal. 89 NOTES INTRODUCTION 1. Frank Kermode, "The S u r v i v a l of the C l a s s i c " , Shakes pear e, Sp ens e r , Donne. Renaissance Essays, V i k i n g Press (New York, 1971), pp. 178-180. 2. Northrop Frye, Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m , Atheneum Paperbacks, (New York, 1969), p.211. CHAPTER 1 1. Ma r t i n Heidegger, An I n t r o d u c t i o n to Metaphysics, t r a n s . Ralph Manheim, Anchor Books, (New York, 1961), pp.123-138. 2. Sophocles, Oedipus a t Colonus, t r a n s . Robert F i t z g e r a l d , The Complete  Greek Tragedies, ed. David Grene and Richmond L a t t i m o r e , U n i v e r s i t y of Chicago Press, (Chicago, 1968). 3. John Burnet, E a r l y Greek Philosophy, Meridian Books, (Cleveland, 1968), p.135. CHAPTER 2 1. Thomas Hardy, "[On F i c t i o n and A r t ] " , ed. James Gind i n , The Return of  the N a t i v e , ed. Gindin, Norton C r i t i c a l e d i t i o n , (New York, 1969), p.368, 2. Hardy, " [ P h i l o s o p h i c a l Ideas i n F i c t i o n ] " , ed. Gindin, p.361. 3. Thomas Hardy, The Mayor of Casterbridge , Macmillan (London, 1971), p.121. 4. The Mayor of Casterbridge, 5. The Mayor, p.117. 6. The Mayor, p.127. 7. The Mayor, p.128. 8. The Mayor, p.167. 9. The Mayor, p.296. 10. The Mayor, p.321. 90 11. Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D ' U r b e r v i l l e s , New American L i b r a r y , (New York, 1964), p.50. 12. Tess of the D ' U r b e r v i l l e s , p.55. 13. Tess, p.89. 14. Tess, p.107. 15. Tess, p.95. 16. Tess, p.134. 17. Tess, p.174. 18. Tess, p.249. 19. Tess, p.258. 20. Tess, p.289. 21. Tess, p.306. •22. Tess, p.316t> 23. Tess, p.344. 24- Tess, p.359. 25. Tess, p.378. 26. Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure, B o b b s - M e r r i l l Co., (New York, 1972), p. 23. scure, p.69. 27. Jude the Ob  28. Jude, P- 145. 29. Jude, P-192. 30. Jude, P- 236. 31. Jude, P-282. 32. Jude, P- 251. 33. Jude, P-264. 34. Jude, P- 274. 35. Jude, p.311. 36. Jude, P-343. 37. Jude, P-353. 38. Jude, P-355. 39. Jude, P- 359. 40. Jude, P- 370. 41. Jude, P-405. 91 CHAPTER 3 1. Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim, ed. Thomas Moser, Norton C r i t i c a l e d i c t i o n (New York, 1968), p.2. 2. Lord Jim, p.136. 3. Jim, p.13. 4. Jim, p.16. 5. Jim, p.31. 6. Jim, p.46. 7. Jim, p.50. 8. Jim, p.51; 9. Jim, p.57. 10. Jim, p.59. 11. Jim, p.59. 12. Jim, p.64. 13. Jim, p.68. 14. Jim, p.70. 15. Jim, p.78. 16. Jim, p.92. 17. Jim, p.107. 18. Jim, p.107. 19. Jim, p . l l l . 20. Jim, p.129. 21. Jim, p.136. 22. Jim, p.166. 23. Jim, p.191. 24. Jim, p.212. 25. Jim, p.234. 26. Joseph Conrad, Nostromo, Penguin Books L t d . (Middlesex, 1963), p.13. 27. Nostromo, p.208. 28. Nostromo, p.231. 29. Nostromo, p.251. 92 3 0 . Nostromo, P- 340. 31. Nostromo, P- 97. 32. Nostromo, P- 73. 33. Nostromo, P. 344. 34. Nostromo, P- 346. 35. Nostromo, P. 379. 36. Nostromo, P- 429. 37. Nostromo, P- 443. 38. Nostromo, P- 457. 39. Nostromo, P- 463. CHAPTER 4 1. A r t h u r M i l l e r , " I n t r o d u c t i o n t o C o l l e c t e d P l a y s " , i n The  C r u c i b l e , ed. G e r a l d Weales, (New Y o r k , 1971) p.163. 2. Kenneth B u r k e , "The P r o b l e m o f t h e I n t r i n s i c " i n A r i s t o t l e ' s  P o e t i c s and E n g l i s h L i t e r a t u r e , ed. E l d e r O l s o n , ( C h i c a g o , 1965) p.127. 3. M i l l e r , "Brewed i n t h e C r u c i b l e " , Weales, p.172. 4. M i l l e r , " I n t r o d u c t i o n t o C o l l e c t e d P l a y s " , Weales, p.162. 5. A r t h u r M i l l e r , The C r u c i b l e , Mentor M a s t e r w o r k s of Modern Drama:  F i v e P l a y s , ed. R i c h a r d G o l d s t o n e , (New Y o r k , 1969). A l l q u o t a t i o n s a r e f r o m t h i s e d i t i o n of t h e p l a y . 6. A r t h u r M i l l e r , "[More on D a n f o r t h ] " , W e a les, p.174. 93 LIST OF WORKS CONSULTED Auden, W.H. "The Dyer's Hand: Poetry and the P o e t i c Process", The Anchor Review, I I , (New York, 1957), 262-267. Frye, Northrop. Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m (New York, 1969), 206-223. Heidegger, M a r t i n . An I n t r o d u c t i o n to Metaphysics (New York, 1961), 123-138. Kermode, Frank. The Sense of an Ending (New York, 1967). "The S u r v i v a l of the C l a s s i c " , Shakespeare, Spenser, Donne. Renaissance Essays, (New York, 1971), 178-180. 

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