Darkness at Noon

Darkness at Noon

Professor Kieffer Character Analysis

A famous historian of the Revolution, and once No. 1’s closest friend, Kieffer was also quite close to Rubashov. He works on No. 1’s biography for ten years, but when certain changes are required and he’s asked to change some of the facts, he refuses. Kieffer is an intellectual and, while he believes in the Party and the Revolution, he thinks that the cause is best served by truth—a belief that turns out to be woefully old-fashioned, as Kieffer too is imprisoned and executed.

Professor Kieffer Quotes in Darkness at Noon

The Darkness at Noon quotes below are all either spoken by Professor Kieffer or refer to Professor Kieffer. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of Darkness at Noon published in 2006.
The Third Hearing: 3 Quotes

“Rubashov laughed at my father, and repeated that he was a fool and a Don Quixote. Then he declared that No. 1 was no accidental phenomenon, but the embodiment of a certain human characteristic—namely, of an absolute belief in the infallibility of one’s own conviction, from which he drew the strength for his complete unscrupulousness.”

Related Characters: Hare-lip (Young Kieffer) (speaker), Nicholas Salmanovitch Rubashov, Professor Kieffer
Page Number: 208
Explanation and Analysis:

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Professor Kieffer Character Timeline in Darkness at Noon

The timeline below shows where the character Professor Kieffer appears in Darkness at Noon. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Third Hearing: 3
Ideology and Contradiction Theme Icon
Logical Reasoning and Bureaucracy Theme Icon
...Hare-lip says. Now the mists clear and Rubashov says that he initially didn’t recognize Professor Kieffer’s son. Rubashov thinks of his friend Kieffer, the great historian of the Revolution who was... (full context)
Truth, Confession, and Performance Theme Icon
...mood. Gletkin reminds Hare-lip that three months later, his father’s crimes would be discovered, and Kieffer would be executed three months after that. Gletkin asks Hare-lip if, at that time, Kieffer... (full context)
Ideology and Contradiction Theme Icon
Logical Reasoning and Bureaucracy Theme Icon
...that the two men talked scornfully about the present state of affairs of the party. Kieffer had laughed at Rubashov’s decision to make a declaration of loyalty to No. 1, and... (full context)
Logical Reasoning and Bureaucracy Theme Icon
Truth, Confession, and Performance Theme Icon
...was alone with Rubashov, the instigation took place. Rubashov smiles, realizing that the idea that Kieffer would have been present for such a plot was too absurd even for this group. (full context)
The Grammatical Fiction: 1
The Individual, or the “Grammatical Fiction, vs. the Collective Theme Icon
...Prosecutor’s speech, Wassilij turns to the wall and dozes, waking up as she reads about Kieffer’s stammering attempt to throw guilt onto Rubashov entirely. Then she reads Rubashov’s final speech, which... (full context)