Darkness at Noon Essay

2227 Words 9 Pages
The Russian Revolution and the purges of Leninist and Stalinist Russia have spawned a literary output that is as diverse as it is voluminous. Darkness at Noon, a novel detailing the infamous Moscow Show Trials, conducted during the reign of Joseph Stalin is Arthur Koestler’s commentary upon the event that was yet another attempt by Stalin to silence his critics. In the novel, Koestler expounds upon Marxism, and the reason why a movement that had as its aim the “regeneration of mankind, should issue in its enslavement” and how, in spite of its drawbacks, it still held an appeal for intellectuals. It is for this reason that Koestler may have attempted “not to solve but to expose” the shortcomings of this political system and by doing so …show more content…
Rubashov’s character vacillates between embracing the individualistic traits of his nature to the pull exerted on him by the indoctrination of the ideology of the greater good, even at the expense of individual liberty and freedom. Rubashov, during his time in prison though shows a propensity to acknowledge the failure of the glorious tenets of the Revolution, for he has seen the horror of the totalitarian system in the purges carried out by the party leaders under the pretext of filtering traitors. In an acknowledgement of the folly of his and the Party’s ways, Rubashov states “…we are doing the work of prophets without their gift. We replaced vision by logical discussion…” and it is this acceptance of their shortcomings that shows the transformation of Rubashov.
Rubashov, though a committed Marxist, during his time in the prison seems vexed by the notion that the end justifies the means because he has himself seen that the final result is often not what is seen in the present moment but the truth that becomes apparent only in the light of retrospective thought. Rubashov realizes that it is only history that can pass judgment and thus, the shooting of B. and thirty others by No. 1 will be decided later “He who is in the wrong must pay; he who is in the right will be absolved. That is the law of historical credit;…