Darkness at Noon Important Quotes

Arthur Koestler

Darkness at Noon

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Darkness at Noon Important Quotes

1. “He who establishes a dictatorship and does not kill Brutus, or he who founds a republic and does not kill the sons of Brutus, will only reign a short time” (Epigraph, p. v).

This epigraph, taken from Machiavelli’s Discorsi foreshadows the book’s examination of the brutality of power. Machiavelli’s The Prince is also mentioned, asNo. 1 keeps a copy on his bedside table.Machiavelli’s work provides the source for the logic that “the ends justify the means”, that accounts for the highly repressive tactics of the Party’s leadership.

2. “Man, man, one cannot live quite without pity”(Epigraph, p. v).

Set against Machiavelli’s endorsement of brutality is a quotation from Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment that speaks to the limitations of the precept “the ends justify the means,” as it reminds us of the necessity of pity for the human condition.

3. “Stop this comedy” (Part One, Chapter 7, p. 21).

Rubashov first says this to Ivanov and repeats a version of it later. The “comedy” he refers to is the result of thinking things through to their “logical conclusion.” Logic in the absence of ethical or moral touchstones leads to absurd conclusions, or a “grotesque comedy,” within which Rubashov and those like him are trapped.

4. “I will pay my fare” (Part One, Chapter 10, p. 53).

This phrase responds to Rubashov’s memory of his betrayal of Richard.After their meeting he takes a taxi to the train station and insists on paying the fare even though the driver, sympathetic to the cause, offers the ride for free. The “fare” that he “will pay,” then, is not the money he owed the taxi driver; this symbolic “fare” has a much larger significance. It is the moral debt he incurs as the result of his service to the Party, and the phrase is repeated several times over the course of the book when Rubashov is confronted by a memory of someone he has betrayed.

5. “Must one also pay for righteous acts? Was there another measure besides that of reason? Did the righteous man perhaps carry the heaviest debt when weighed by this other measure? Was his debt perhaps,…

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