What does Darkness at Noon suggest happens to revolutions and revolutionary governments as time goes on?
Darkness at Noon suggests that revolutions and revolutionary governments, even if they begin with idealistic goals, eventually become corrupt as time goes on. Koestler gives us a fictionalized history of the Soviet Union and, in the character Rubashov, a portrait of a Communist leader who is victimized by the very system he helped create.
Darkness at Noon is a classic statement, in the form of fiction, of Lord Acton's principle that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Koestler depicts the situation as it was in the Soviet Union in the late 1930s, though he never names the country and its leader is referred to simply as "Number One."
Rubashov is one of the "Old Bolsheviks," a leader of the Communist Revolution who has now run afoul of the regime and been thrown in prison. This is what happened in the Stalinist "purge trials," when Stalin turned on many of his comrades, forcing them to sign confessions that they had betrayed the revolution. In his ruthless authoritarianism, Stalin had become paranoid, trusting no one and wishing to...
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