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Leggatt as an Independent Characterin Joseph Conrads The Secret SharerThis essay examines Leggatt as an independent person rather than as a symbol connected to the captain-narrator a view shared by many critics Leggatt is not a negative influence on the captain per se From an objective point of view it can be seen that Leggatts portrayal depends entirely on how the captain as narrator perceives him and that he deserves to be treated as the individual being that he is Many of Conrads critics most notably Albert J Guerard Robert W Stallmann have taken the view that Leggatt of the novella The Secret Sharer is either some sort of symbol of the captains dark side a kind of role model for the captain or that he is part of the captain In this essay I will first examine the captains portrayal of Leggatt then argue that Leggatt is none of these rather he is a complete person in and of himself and not simply part of the captains personality deficiencies At first glance it would seem that Leggatt is either the antagonist or provides a criminal influence on the captain By no means are Leggatts decisions and actions exemplary Murdering mutinous crew members is hardly an acceptable practice and avoiding justice and ones punishment all of which Leggatt do only worsen the issue The captain claims that in swimming to the island Koh-ring his double had lowered himself into the water to take his punishment Conrad 193 However as Cedric Watts argues this is only true because Leggatt by escaping justice will face an uncertain future marooned on an island 134 In reality Leggatt is doing the opposite he is lowering himself into the water to escape from the law for it is unlikely that he would get off scot-free in court The captain describes Koh-ring as a towering black mass like the very gateway of Erebus Conrad 193 Erebus being the
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