Vindication of the “Fallen Woman” in Conrad’s Victory


  • Dr. Sanghamitra Ganguly Assistant Professor, Department of English, Maheshtala College (Affiliated to the University of Calcutta) Kolkata India.


Biblical Myth, Delayed Decoding, Joseph Conrad, Lena, Myth, Victory.


Victory is one of the later novels of Joseph Conrad written during the First World War. A critically acclaimed work, it has given rise to extensive metaphysical debates among scholars regarding the value system represented by the protagonist Axel Heyst. But the positioning of the central female character, Lena, is an equally fascinating one. A “fallen woman†according to Victorian terminology, Lena emerges triumphant at the end of the novel as the only character that fulfills her avowed intention. While others remain marred by indecisions and doubts, she alone has the courage of conviction to carry through her plan till the end, even if it means her own destruction. Her supreme love for her beloved which leads to her willing self-sacrifice signals the victory of life and love in the age of moral crisis when the novel was written. Hence I argue that the titular “victory†of the novel belongs to her alone, as she is finally able to convert Heyst’s sceptical mindset to commit to her vision of life.




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