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Conrad's story, The Lagoon is the story of a Malayan native Arsat, his brother, and Arsat's beloved Diamelen. Arsat and his brother were two young men having a lot of courage and endowed with a racial spirit of adventurism. They were the sword-bearers of their king. Arsat fell in love with a woman called Diamelen, and desperately desired to possess her. Diamelen belonged to the noble chief Inchimidah, and Arsat became impatient, swept with irresistible passion for her. Arsat's brother gave him the support to elope with the woman, and himself held the king's men at bay with his gun so that Arsat could escape to safety. Arsat chose to escape with his beloved when his brother shouted for life being overpowered by the pursuers. Ever since Arsat lived with his Diamelen beside a weird-looking lagoon in the dark forests, but the death cry of his brother kept ringing in his ears. Arsat suffered from a sense of guilt, a deep sense of moral default. Arsat's beloved also died of some strange disease, and he was all alone, remorseful and forlorn, searching for a light in the midst of the darkness of his soul.
Another important character in the story is that of the white man. Conrad has employed the device of a frame narrative, the narrative of the white man's journey to the jungle habitat of his old friend Arsat and his stay for the night so that Arsat's story can be told as a narrative within the frame narrative. The white man thus chiefly serves as an outer narrator, an observer and a listener, a sort of choric presence, a priest-like persona hearing the cofession of guilt.
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