Lafcadio's Adventures

by Andre Gide
Start Free Trial

Why does Lafcadio decide to kill a stranger on a train in Lafcadio's Adventures?

In Lafcadio's Adventures, Lafcadio decides to kill a stranger on a train for pleasure. There is no rhyme or reason to his actions, he simply does it for kicks. For him, the sheer gratuitousness of the murder only adds to the pleasure.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Sometimes there's no real explanation for why people murder each other. All too often we read about senseless killings in newspapers and watch news reports about them on TV and remain none the wiser as to why such appalling acts were carried out.

In Lafcadio's Adventures, Lafcadio's murder of Amedee certainly falls into the category of a senseless killing. If we read about the case in a newspaper, we'd probably wonder why on earth he did such a terrible thing to a man who presented no conceivable threat to him.

As it happens, Lafcadio kills Amedee for the sheer pleasure it brings. In modern parlance, we would describe him as a thrill killer, someone who commits murder for kicks. For such deranged individuals, the sheer gratuitousness of a senseless murder only adds to the enormous pleasure that the act of killing someone gives them.

In releasing the latch of the train door and pushing Amedee to his death, Lafcadio is killing for the sole reason of killing without a reason. Lafcadio knows that his crime is without motive, but that only makes it all the more enjoyable. What's more, it gives him a sense of power to take the life of another human being.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on