What is the motivation for Markheim’s actions at the beginning of Robert Louis Stevenson's story "Markheim"?

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The protagonist, Markheim , has a motivation that is as clear as it is immoral: he is motivated by greed and the desire for money and ill-gotten gains. At the beginning of the story he arrives at a dealer’s shop and starts a conversation with the shopkeeper, pretending to...

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The protagonist, Markheim, has a motivation that is as clear as it is immoral: he is motivated by greed and the desire for money and ill-gotten gains. At the beginning of the story he arrives at a dealer’s shop and starts a conversation with the shopkeeper, pretending to be looking for a gift for a lady whom he knows. The dealer makes a suggestion of a hand mirror, which Markheim fobs off, referring to it as a “hand conscience”.

The reader can assume from his use of the word “conscience” that he is already feeling guilty about what he is about to do. His guilt, however, is not sufficient to sway his mind from greed, and while the poor dealer is still attempting to find him the perfect gift, he is stabbed to death by Markheim. The murder could only have been for the motive of stealing the dealer’s stock and money.

After the deed is done, Markheim spends some time in the store considering what he has done, experiencing not guilt but paranoia that somebody will know about the murder. A loud knock on the door then reminds Markheim of his evil purpose, which remains unchanged, and he sets about the job of cleaning up the mess that he has made in the shop.

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