The Lagoon is a story about a man who visits an old friend; they had been fighting in a war and became good friends since then. Nevertheless, a long time had passed without knowing much about each other, and these friends have a lot to talk about. The consequences of a selfish decision seem to doom the life of a man who suffers pangs of conscience. A story written by Joseph Conrad, who is considered one of the greatest novelists of the English Literature, shows how vulnerable and unstable the human morality can be.
What sort of desire would make a man betray his own brother? The selfish desire of a man who pursued love, happiness and peace with her beloved woman would be one of the answers. “There is a time when a man should forget loyalty and respect. Might and authority are given to rulers, but to all men is given love and strength and courage”. (Page 8) The strong love he felt for her, made him to go beyond the limits. His beloved brother supported him; he bravely became selflessly involved in his brother´s love venture for they had always been very loyal to each other since they were children. Therefore, selfishness and cowardice were stronger than brotherhood.
Arsat was so focused on escaping with his woman that he seemed to forgot how much he loved his brother, he did not noticed it, he was risking his life and also the others´. “There is half a man in you now – the other half is in that woman. I can wait. When you are a whole man again, you will come back with me here to shout defiance. We are sons of the same mother”. (Page 9) But these words seemed to have been ignored by him, because what he seemed to have had in his mind was not love really, but obsession. “I longed to be with her in a safe place beyond the reach of men’s anger and of women’s spite. My love was so great, that I thought it could guide me to a country where death was unknown, if I could only escape from Inchi Midah’s spite and from our Ruler’s sword”. (Page 9) Thus, his obsessed mind led him to the despicable betrayal of his brother who loved him.
When the plan was being executed by the three of them, the situation turns out really bad. His brother was about to be caught by the guards and the weak loyalty he had for his brother in that moment of doubt and fear, was influenced by his selfish obsession which encouraged him to push the canoe and scape without his brother. His brother was left to his fate in spite of the desperate shouts he cried. “! I am coming! The men were close to him. I looked. Many men. Then I looked at her. Tuan, I pushed the canoe! […]I heard him cry my name twice; I never turned back”. (Page 10) He could bear all those years without thinking on what he had done to his brother because of his woman, but she was about to die and now he seems to be dying too.
The day he betrayed his brother, seemed to have doomed the rest of his life and certainly it did. His woman was suffering of a strange disease and died. He desperately
tried to recover her but his efforts were useless. And the past comes back to his mind every moment. Although he hopes to find his road to follow, he may not escape from his conscience, a nightmare he will have to face till the day of his death.