Cornelius: Character Analysis in the Novel Lord Jim

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Cornelius's Significant Role in the Novel

      Cornelius's role is of much importance because he played a great role in destroying Jim's career and life, at Patusan. His plot brought about Jim's downfall though he paid by his own life for the conspiracy against Jim. God does justice and let Iamb Itam see Cornelius at the particular moment and made him realize Cornelius's venomous role in the murder of Dain Waris. Cornelius's schemes impart additional excitement and interest to the story and make it more melodramatic. He is one of the most memorable villains in the novels of Conrad.

Cornelius, as a Villain, is Next only to Brown

      Brown is the chief villain in the novel and Cornelius is next to him. He was, half-breed Portuguese, posted as Stein's trade manager in Patusan. Stein had taken interest in him because he had married a woman for whom Stein possessed great regard and affection. But Stein was not happy with him because of his inefficiency. Thus, he sent Jim to replace Cornelius. When Jim reached Patusan and took the charge from Cornelius, he became hostile towards Jim who had robbed" him off his job. This enmity went to the degree of costing Jim his life. Though Cornelius fell as a victim to his intrigue, yet he had succeeded to satiate his hostility against Jim.

Cornelius: Fundamentally Abject and Dishonest

      Cornelius's abjectness prevailed over all his passions and emotions. He became angry abjectly, smiled abjectly, abjectly talked, likewise abject were his indignations and civilities. Even his love was abject Besides being abject, he was dishonest. He was taking much unfair advantage, through Stein's trade, at Patusan.

His Callousness to Jewel and her Mother

      Jim was feeling much annoyed whenever Cornelius ill-treated Jewel and made her much distressed till the moment she started weeping bitterly. Marlow learned from Jim that Cornelius had been making Jewel's life hell after her mother's death. He insisted her to call him father and address him more respectfully. He often abused his dead wife till Jewel ran away from his sight. He chased Jewel and treated her very badly, by uttering filthy words and calling her mother a deceitful devil and so on.

      When Cornelius came to know that Jim had robbed him of his daughter also, he tried to extract some money from Jim, through Marlow. But it was in vain as was his attempt to persuade Jim to pay eight hundred dollars for disclosing the information of a conspiracy against Jim's life.

Cornelius's Conspirary Against Jim and its Aftermath

      Cornelius, a sycophant, had no moral scruples. He seemed just like Satan when he conspired against Jim. He persuaded and instigated Brown to harm Jim's reputation at Patusan. In fact, his plot was that, after usurping Jim's place, he would dislodge Brown also with the help of Patusanians. Subsequently, Cornelius succeeded to instigate Brown; and Brown, unaware of Cornelius's wickedness, fell into his trap. Cornelius led him to the narrow channel and Brown ordered his men to attack the group of Bugis community hidden there and, in this course, chief Doramin's son, Dain Waris, was shot dead. His death was soon followed by Cornelius's murder by Tamb Itam, Jim's faithful servant and bodyguard who recognized the treacherous role of Cornelius in the sudden attack. He chased him and stabbed him to death. Later on, Jim was shot dead by Doramin as a revenge against Dain Waris's death.

      To Sum Up: Cornelius's treachery and villainy played a substantial role in leading Jim's life towards a catastrophe. The portrayal of Cornelius, definitely adds to the variety of Conrad's multiple characters who are very much life-like and seem to be encountered by us in our own life.

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