Morality

The Moonstone opens with a short prologue describing an account of how a gem known as the Moonstone was stolen. The narrator of the prologue contemplates the ideas of morality in relation to stealing as well as the difference between evidence and moral evidence. The narrator witnesses his cousin take part in the murder and the stealing of the precious jewel. While he tries to process this information, he gives his cousin multiple chances to explain to himself what happened. However, his cousin chooses not to come clean and the narrator doesn’t press the issue. They just decide to “turn my back on him; and we have not spoken since”(15). While the narrator confesses that he has only moral evidence, throughout the entire prologue he seems to be unsure of himself and the consequences that his recollection of the events could lead to. They also choose not to be proactive in trying to find justice for the killings or the stolen stone. Instead, they are content with letting the curse of the Moonstone do its own form of justice. 

The speaker heavily focuses on the morals of stealing the Moonstone but doesn’t appear to question the morals of colonization in the subsequent death of the native people protecting the stone. This is an interesting concept because the stolen stone seems to be the drive of this whole novel and no characters consider that to break the curse the stone should be placed where it once was as the myth stated. Instead, the characters choose to try to break the Moonstone to stop the curse. Within the novel, there is an odd juxtaposition between colonization and destroying the native’s culture, while at the same time believing in the religion enough that they believe in the powers of the Moonstones curse.

One thought on “Morality”

  1. I really enjoy how succinctly you discuss the issues of morality in the text. It’s a fascinating topic, and considering morals with regard to both theft and colonialism can shed a lot of light on where these characters’ moral priorities lie; perhaps the moonstone can even be read as a metaphor for colonialism in general. When the diamond goes missing from Rachel’s cabinet, everyone is preoccupied with catching the thief and bringing them to justice; however, as you say, no one even considers that returning the stone to its rightful place might get rid of their troubles. Instead, they see the diamond as a valuable object, and would rather break it into pieces to both break the curse and increase its value. This focus on the moonstone’s monetary worth seems to show the way colonialism prioritizes resources and wealth over the cultural values of a colonized land.

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