Why must Rubashov confess to crimes he didn't commit, and how does he reconcile being forced to do this?

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Darkness at Noon is a fictionalized treatment of the Stalinist purge trials of the late 1930s. An urge to consolidate power and to satisfy his own paranoia led Stalin to turn on many of the "old Bolsheviks," those men who had been most instrumental in the success of the Russian Revolution twenty years earlier. These men were thrown in jail, forced to sign false confessions, and executed.

Rubashov in Darkness at Noon is a kind of composite of different men who suffered this fate. What we see is that Rubashov, in reviewing his life, questions his own motives and the rightness of the communist cause. For instance, as a Party chief, he had ruthlessly dealt with fellow Party members who had presumably not followed orders to the letter but had also not been traitors. It is partly his guilt about this past behavior that makes Rubashov believe his own life is not worth saving. At the same time, he realizes that the revolution has gone astray from its true goal. In the opening pages of the story,...

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