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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Man's Dual Nature cont'd

Murthwaite is an intriguing character of duality. He is an Englishman with much Eastern traveling experience. In fact, he feels more comfortable in the East than he does among the English. His dual nature gives explanation to the actions and motives of the Indians and aids the investigation of the missing diamond. He alone is able to communicate with the Indians in their native tongue. Without his help, the mystery could not have been solved. Collins allows him to provide the final narrative of the novel in which the diamond is restored to its rightful place; no other character could provide that narrative. In the backdrop of the British-Indian conflict of 1857, Murthwaite suggests that the Indians are not savages and should be given greater sovereignty.

Ezra Jenning, Mr. Candy's assistant, bares out his duality physically. He is the son of an English father and a mother from one of England's colonies. He is dark skinned and Betteredge describes him as having "piebald hair," which is half black and half white. Franklin describes him as looking as young as forty or as old as Betteredge, who is in his mid-seventies. He has been rejected by thoses among whom he dwells due to his appearance, which has resulted in false rumors. Despite being a doctor's assistant, he has attacks which cause him to rely upon laudanum. Jennings decodes the message that Dr. Candy wants to give to Franklin and this message ultimately explains how the diamond left Rachel's possession. Despite his chaotic inwardness, Jennings is able to provide answers that otherwise would have been left unanswered.

Godfrey is another character of duality. He has a philanthropic side, as that is the side with which Miss Clack is most familiar. Betteredge describes this side of Godrey:

"If you ever subscribed to a Ladies' Charity in London, you know Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite as well as I do. He was a barrister by profession; a ladies' man by temperament; and a good Samaritan by choice. Female benevolence and female destitution could do nothing without him. Maternal societies for confining poor women; Magdalen societies for rescuing poor women; strong-minded societies for putting poor women into poor men's places, and leaving the men to shift for themselves;—he was vice-president, manager, referee to them all. Wherever there was a table with a committee of ladies sitting round it in council there was Mr. Godfrey at the bottom of the board, keeping the temper of the committee, and leading the dear creatures along the thorny ways of business, hat in hand. I do suppose this was the most accomplished philanthropist (on a small independence) that England ever produced. As a speaker at charitable meetings the like of him for drawing your tears and your money was not easy to find."

He is seemingly devoted to helping women through charity, but it becomes clear that he is just in it for the money. He sees marrying Rachel as an opportunity to clear his debts but a specific clause in Mrs. Verinder's will prevents his access to Rachel's money; therefore, the engagement is broken. Ultimately, he is discovered to have stolen the diamond but is killed by the Indians before he can pay his debts. The curse of the diamond has manifested itself by wreaking havoc everywhere it has gone until it is back in the possession of the Indians.

Collins shows human duality in other ways as well. He dresses the Indians up as jugglers visiting the neighborhood, though they are actually priests in search of the diamond. Franklin, in an opium-induced expedition, steals the diamond, which Godfrey takes uses as surety for a loan. Collins depicts man as a multi-sided personality.

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