Captain-Leggatte Relationship : Secret Sharer

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The nature of duality, of stability and imperceptibility, is present in Joseph Conrad’s “The Secret Sharer” from the opening lines: “flat shore joined to the sea, edge to edge, with a perfect and unmarked closeness”. The relationship between man and himself as well as man and his surroundings are manifested in the bond between the unnamed Captain and his named counterpart, Leggatt. As these two characters are explored, the distinction between real and imagined gets blurred as it becomes evident the men have a deeper connection. Conrad vociferously makes it clear to his reader that Leggatt is the Captain’s self-proclaimed second self and seems to provide enough evidence for Leggatt’s corporeal being; however Leggatt’s physical existence is questioned when we take the Captain’s sanity into consideration. At the beginning pf the story,the captain felt alone on the ship.The stranger obviously felt isolated and alone.The captain felt he had almost been a stranger to himself and to the crew when he took charge of the boat.Joseph Conrad introduces his reader to Leggatt through the Captain’s discovery of a body floating next to his ship: “a flash of phosphorescent light, which seemed to issue suddenly from the naked body of a man . . . a pair of feet, the long legs, a broad livid back immersed . . . in a greenish cadaverous glow”. The first impression of Leggatt is of a corpse, starting at its feet and travelling up the body while emitting an unearthly glow, a type of reverse creation that indicates the figure’s unearthly quality. Yet before any suppositions can be made, the Captain speaks to the “swimmer” in an “ordinary tone.” The creature is suddenly given a voice (“ . . . calm and resolute. A good voice”) and a name (“My name’s Leggatt”) which establishes an identity for the being ; as a result, his peculiar characteristics are momentarily set aside. However a strange
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