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A bakhtinian analysis of the protagonists’ ethical dilemma in Joseph Conrad's under western eyes and the end of the tether.

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2020
Ünal, Nergis
Conrad’s Under Western Eyes and The End of the Tether dramatize the protagonists’ ethical dilemmas by showing how a character can be “moral” and yet “immoral” at the same time. By looking at the ethical dilemmas presented in the two works, to what extent the protagonists, namely Razumov and Captain Whalley, can be claimed to have good morals is studied through the ethical perspective of the Russian philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin. The analysis is made through three main points Bakhtin elaborates on in his Toward a Philosophy of the Act: particularity in relation to the protagonist, plurality of value judgments, and the place of empathy and love in the assessment of a character. Making use of the Bakhtinian ethical perspective, this study maintains the argument that Razumov and Captain Whalley cannot be considered to be totally immoral despite the wrongdoings they have committed.