11:43:11 PM Jun 23rd 2016
Removed from the examples list because this is general commentary, not specific examples, but preserved here in case somebody wants to use it as the starting point for an Analysis page:
- Full-Circle Revolution: Conrad was deeply pessimistic about revolutions. Most self-calling revolutionaries in his books are self-deluded, cynical and violent thugs no better than the order they hope to replace, this is especially the case in Under Western Eyes. Nostromo is probably the only novel that is sympathetic to the idea of the Revolution, in that it portrays the titular Working-Class Hero as someone who is eternally exploited by both sides with little to show for himself.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: Many of his characters go nuts when they confront their illusions and failed hopes. It happens most famously to Kurtz and later to Martin Decoud in Nostromo and all the terrorists in The Secret Agent, as well as Razumov in Under Western Eyes.
- Gray and Grey Morality: Conrad was famous in his day, the late Victorian-early Edwardian period, for introducing modern elements like Anti-Hero, Villain Protagonist and a general cynicism about conventional morality.
- Humans Are Flawed / Humans Are Bastards: There are very few purely good characters in Conrad's books. All of them are flawed, compromised and corrupt in some way.
- Honor Before Reason: His novels often revolve around characters obsessed by personal notions of honour and guilt, which leads them compromise their reason and make them take reckless self-destructive choices.
- What You Are in the Dark: Conrad's ultimate theme is taking characters past the Point of No Return, having them confront failure and defeat and learn who they truly are.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Averted. Conrad was deeply unsympathetic to revolutionaries, he sees self-calling freedom fighters who use violence as thrill-seekers who use ideology to justify taking innocent lives. His novels The Secret Agent and Under Western Eyes both depict terrorist attacks that condemn these actions in no uncertain times as senseless and brutal.