Theme Of The Secret Sharer, By Joseph Conrad

1083 words - 5 pages

The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad presents many themes throughout its complex narration of characters and the ideas it explicates through the novella. Amidst all the many themes that are presented there is one main theme that is thoroughly supported by Conrad in The Secret Sharer. The theme that is supported is, the ability that a person has, to change their moral and ethical beliefs due to their inexperience and self doubt as a leader. In the beginning the Captain is an upstanding, law abiding individual, yet his interaction with the murderer, and Leggatt, reveals him as someone who is insecure and easily malleable, this trait allows the captain to make many very illogical ...view middle of the document...

" (pg 653)The crew does not understand his decision and immediately labels him almost idiotic, showing much suspicion in his actions. This opinion of the captain gives the crew an uneasy feeling around the new leading member of the ship, also causing the captain to obtain even more self doubt, and inevitably causing the irrational decision to stow a murderer on board.

 

The captains self doubt continues as he reflects upon his actions, and presumably lead up to the letting of Leggatt to board the ship. As the captain recalls his previous decision, he notes what his deck hands may have been thinking, making him even more vulnerable to an experienced sailors knowledge and input, distorting his decision making capabilities. "I asked myself whether it was wise ever to interfere with the established routine of duties even from the kindest of motives. My action might have made me appear eccentric. Goodness only knew how that absurdly whiskered mate would `account' fro my conduct, and what the whole ship thought of that informality of their new captain. I was vexed with myself."(pg 653) This thought and self doubt allows the captain to become preoccupied with his prior decision making. When he is confronted with the new passenger on his boat, Leggatt, this causes him to make an irrational decision to stow the murderer on board. The captain's first conversation with Leggatt begins with,

 

"'Aha! Something wrong?'

 

`Yes. Very wrong indeed. I've killed a man.'"(pg 657)

 

These first few words should have given the captain the hint of danger, yet is self doubt, and consequent curiosity allowed Leggatt to stay aboard and remain a mystery to the rest of the ship for many days, causing the captain to become uneasy with fright, and doubt himself even more as Leggatt's presence on the boat nearly gets revealed several times.

 

As the knowledge of Leggatt's existence came nearer to becoming spread trough out the boat, the captain became very uneasy with the fact that Leggatt may...

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