Darkness at Noon

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Michael Bogrov Character Analysis

A former army commander, Bogrov was Rubashov’s roommate when they were in exile after 1905 (the year of the failed Russian Revolution against the monarchy). Bogrov served as Rubashov’s intellectual mentor. Bogrov is imprisoned at the same place as Rubashov, and he is executed. As he is walking down the corridor to be killed, he calls out Rubashov’s name. This call is perhaps the first major event that forces Rubashov to begin to reckon with his past choices and think through the consequences of his adherence to Party policy above all.

Michael Bogrov Quotes in Darkness at Noon

The Darkness at Noon quotes below are all either spoken by Michael Bogrov or refer to Michael Bogrov. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Ideology and Contradiction Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Scribner edition of Darkness at Noon published in 2006.
The Second Hearing: 6 Quotes

Up till now, he had never imagined Arlova’s death in such detail. It had always been for him an abstract occurrence; it had left him with a feeling of strong uneasiness, but he had never doubted the logical rightness of his behavior. Now, in the nausea which turned his stomach and drove the wet perspiration from his forehead, his past mode of thought seemed lunacy. The whimpering of Bogrov unbalanced the logical equation.

Related Characters: Nicholas Salmanovitch Rubashov (speaker), Arlova, Michael Bogrov
Page Number: 145
Explanation and Analysis:

As Bogrov was led along the corridor on his way to be executed, he shouted out Rubashov’s name. As a result, Rubashov—who is familiar with such executions from his own time as interrogator and dictator—is forced to face the material, physical, and sensory nature of being led to one’s death. The notion of death as an abstract necessity in the interest of a larger, collective cause now gives way to the concrete horror of having to face one’s death or having to face one’s own responsibility for another’s death. The fact that Rubashov does begin to feel responsible for Bogrov, who is one of the people he didn’t actually betray personally, suggests that Rubashov is beginning to have a broader sense of his general role in perpetrating Party violence, even indirectly.

The “logical equation” of actions in pursuit of certain goals has always seemed airtight to Rubashov, but it no longer seems so. The public, performative nature of Bogrov’s death that serves the Party (as a warning to others and example of its own power) also creates a kind of stage on which Rubashov can set his own changing theories.


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The Second Hearing: 7 Quotes

“History is a priori amoral; it has no conscience. To want to conduct history according to the maxims of the Sunday school means to leave everything as it is. You know that as well as I do. You know the stakes in this game, and here you come talking about Bogrov’s whimpering….”

Related Characters: Ivanov (speaker), Nicholas Salmanovitch Rubashov, Michael Bogrov
Page Number: 156
Explanation and Analysis:

Ivanov and Rubashov continue their interrogation-cum-intellectual conversation. While Rubashov has kept the details of his concerns about the “grammatical fiction” to himself until now, at this point he’s just told Ivanov that Ivanov, having failed to hear Bogrov’s cry, can’t possibly understand that there may be limits to the Party’s logical reasoning. Ivanov, here, sounds quite a bit like Rubashov himself at earlier moments: he once again underlines the shared intellectual heritage with which they both began their time as members of the Party leadership. Referring to Sunday school, Ivanov again brings up Christianity as an alternative moral system, one that the Party claims to have quashed entirely—though it’s still present enough for the interrogator to have to point to it as a continuing danger, a weakness against which diligent Party members must militate. Indeed, Ivanov seems to chide Rubashov, reminding him that Ivanov is not saying anything Rubashov doesn’t already know. For Ivanov, Rubashov’s newfound humanitarian conscience is not the beginning of an alternately imagined society, but a passé weakness that he must conquer in order to remember what is most important, that is, the power of the revolutionary society (or at least its leaders).

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Michael Bogrov Character Timeline in Darkness at Noon

The timeline below shows where the character Michael Bogrov appears in Darkness at Noon. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Second Hearing: 6
The Individual, or the “Grammatical Fiction, vs. the Collective Theme Icon
...shouting for help, 402 relays for him to pass on. Finally 402 says it’s Michael Bogrov, former commander. Bogrov had been Rubashov’s roommate in exile after 1905, and he’d taught him... (full context)
The Individual, or the “Grammatical Fiction, vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Logical Reasoning and Bureaucracy Theme Icon
...squeaking on the ground, his face turned toward the tiles and mouth hanging open, whimpering. Bogrov suddenly shouts, “Rubashov!” Silence falls. (full context)
The Individual, or the “Grammatical Fiction, vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Logical Reasoning and Bureaucracy Theme Icon
...lies in bed, thinking about that last cry. He asks himself what they did to Bogrov to make the strong sailor whimper in such a way. He wonders if Arlova too... (full context)
The Second Hearing: 7
Logical Reasoning and Bureaucracy Theme Icon
...is standing there over him, a friend who is now an enemy. Rubashov thinks of Bogrov and Arlova, and Ivanov asks if he feels ill. Rubashov asks for a cigarette and... (full context)
The Individual, or the “Grammatical Fiction, vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Truth, Confession, and Performance Theme Icon
When Ivanov asks why, Rubashov says that Ivanov made sure that Bogrov, whom Ivanov knew was Rubashov’s friend, would be dragged in front of Rubashov, with Bogrov’s... (full context)
The Individual, or the “Grammatical Fiction, vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Logical Reasoning and Bureaucracy Theme Icon
After a while, Rubashov asks Ivanov why he executed Bogrov. Ivanov says it’s because of the submarine question. Bogrov wanted submarines of large tonnage and... (full context)
The Individual, or the “Grammatical Fiction, vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Logical Reasoning and Bureaucracy Theme Icon
Change and the Laws of History Theme Icon
...weak at heart, but it once excited Rubashov: what changed? Rubsahov wants to respond that Bogrov called out his name, but, since he knows that doesn’t make logical sense, he knows,... (full context)
The Individual, or the “Grammatical Fiction, vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Logical Reasoning and Bureaucracy Theme Icon
...Rubashov says he’ll think it over. Alone, Rubashov feels both hollowed out and somehow relieved, Bogrov’s final call seeming to recede into painless memory. (full context)
The Third Hearing: 1
Change and the Laws of History Theme Icon
...an extract from Rubashov’s diary, on the 20th day of his imprisonment, he writes that Bogrov has fallen off the swing that began on the day of the storming of the... (full context)
The Third Hearing: 3
Change and the Laws of History Theme Icon
...enter Rubashov’s cell and order him to follow them. He’s taken the same way as Bogrov had been, and Rubashov wonders uneasily (though without fear) where they’re going. He decides that... (full context)