Political Economics in “The Secret Agent”
"The Secret Agent" by Joseph Conrad is about a Mr. Verloc who has a business cellar selling shady wares. He exercised the vocation of being a protector of society. In the story he’s going to meet a Mr. Vladimir at the embassy. They are a group of communists getting together to plot something sinister. Mr. Vladimir was the mastermind behind the communist group. Mr. Vladimir encouraged the fellows to blow something up for the sake of mankind, ironically. Apparently, Mr. Vladimir had been paying Mr. Verloc and threatened his pay if he doesn’t act now and he is subdued. It leads us to believe that to be contradicting since they seem to be fighting for a cause against capitalism and the ...view middle of the document...
” (Ch. 2) From this introduction, you see that Vladimir speaks french. He has a first secretary that looks to agree with him. He seems to have the tendencies of an aristocrat. However, he is a devout enemy of the capitalist system. Michaelis, who had been imprisoned for fifteen years, but came out with a rounded belly. Apparently he is fighting against greedy bankers but is greedy when it comes to food. Then you have Mr. Carl Yund nicknamed the terrorist, yet he had never really taken any action. His idealism is left as an empty shadow. And Alexander Ossipon, nicknamed the doctor, even though he was a medical school dropout. Mr. Vladimir seems to be the puppet master and the other come across more stupid than evil.
Vladimir is frustrated in his vision for how they should get their message across. He thinks they should find a facet of government that people can afford to sacrifice, like science. “ What do you think of having a go at astronomy, there could be nothing better. Such an outrage combines the greatest possible regard for humanity with the most alarming display of ferocious imbecility.” (Ch. 3) As if, blowing up science would solve the world’s problems conveys that Vladimir is a bit extreme or what some would consider passionate. One repetitive concept is the idea that doing something horrible and then saying for the good of humanity.
The author writes about the verocious friends as if to give them insult and admiration in the same breath. He speaks of the disgruntled looking men and makes them seem very ordinary. Verloc’s appearance in one instance is compared to that of a master plumber coming to present his bill. The humor in this novel is very subtle, but if you notice it, you find it more often through the story.