I do agree with the statement that the moonstone is at every instance a novel that is focused on the nature of guilt to some extent.
One of the characters who feels guilty is Rachel Verinder, she feels guilty because she hid the truth about the diamond. The truth being that Franklin Blake stole the diamond and Rachel saw him , though she didn’t realise that he was under the influence of lauderman. We realise why Rachel had so much anger built up with Blake, we only realise this in the 3rd narrative chapter 7 when Rachel releases some of her built up emotion onto Blake she screams at him “You coward !” and “You mean, miserable, heartless coward!”. It is at this point in the story that we come to see that something strange is happening. One thing that changes the story and reveals this to us is Rachel’s guilt.
Gofrey Ablewhite is one of the guiltiest characters in the novel. We are lead to believe that Ablewhite used Blake to get the diamond by giving him lauderman, it’s also revealed to us that he was leading a double life, this is revealed to us when Sgt Cuff comes back to the story and reveals that “with regard to the subject in hand, I may state, at the outset, that Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite’s life had two sides to it”. This revelation about Ablewhite furthermore reiterates my agreement that the novel is focused on guilt.
Another point that ties in with Ablewhite’s guilt is in Ms. Clacks narrative. Included in her narrative ,after the events concerning the loss of the diamond and its recovery, when everyone knows that Ablewhite is guilty, yet her narrative is still, very much so, biased towards Ablewhite, mainly because of her secret love for her, we find out that she feels that she has a secret relationship with Ablewhite because she refers to him as Mr.Godfrey.
An example of a character who not only feels guilt but is also truly guilty is Mr Candy, the first reason for Candy being guilty and feeling guilty is when he spikes Blakes drink in order to obtain the diamond, or did he?
We find out that he did it intestinally as a joke and had he not fallen ill, though he claimed that “a doctors skin is waterproof” and then him walking home in the rain is ironic. The only person present when the opium was administered into Blake’s brandy was Gofrey Ablewhite, we are already aware that he was after the diamond thus he wouldn’t have objected to Candy putting this into his drink.
The character which is probably the most guilty is Colonel John Herncastle, the reason behind my belief of this is because It was his greed that provoked the murders when he attacked the palace of Seringapatam, but this was only the first crime he is guilty of in a series, which include :one murder, a suicide , theft, two deaths and an unexpected wedding.
Opium plays a big part in the novel as it is used regularly throughout by most of the characters, it is also the “villain” of the play as it causes destruction of lives, it ruins Roseanna’s secret relationship with Blake as when she sees him taking the diamond with her own eyes she is distraught and extremely upset and confused. This itself is enough to change her view of a man she’s been obsessed with since the day she set eyes on him, she refers to him as “a coward”. There is an irony with the opium as it is the thing that causes the diamond to be returned via a opium induced dream.
Collins himself was an opium addict and no doubt wrote some of this novel under the influence as some parts of the novel are “bigging up” opium and making it out to be a good thing.
The novel itself has opium addicts for example Ezra Jennings and John Herncastle are both addicts, there are other kinds of addicts in the novel such as Blake and Betteredge are both addicted to tobacco, Miss Clack is addicted to the church. We are shown this by her constant distribution of Christian news letters, the reason behind her strange addiction is that performing this action is that it makes her feel normal and satisfied.
In conclusion I do believe that The Moonstone is a novel that focuses upon the nature of guilt. We have an assorted arrangement of characters throughout the novel from the quite perfect Gofrey Ablewhite , the good-looking, rich, well-educated man who we would normally associate with being a doctor, lawyer or a high status business man but in the end he turned out to be a crook after everything that he could get.
The Moonstone is an extremely strange novel in the way it comes across , there are many different ways to describe the book and the diamond but we see the diamond as being Rachel’s virginity, Godfrey Ablewhite wanted it but Franklin Blake got it first, this refers to the diamond aswell as their feelings for Rachel.