Gambling with knowledge?

Knowledge is power, but so is the appearance of having knowledge. Robert Audley demonstrates this when confronting Mr. Maldon about George’s mysterious and sudden disappearance and accuses Mr. Maldon of playing a part in this. Between Robert and the readers, we know a list of possible cues that could lead us to suspect foul play and that Lady Audley as well as Mr. Maldon were apart of this plot. Robert watches “the effect of every syllable as he spoke” (p. 194). Even Robert knows he has no concrete or empirical evidence or knowledge to convict anyone of a crime. He is merely fishing for a reaction and confession from Mr. Maldon. The readers are aware that Robert does not have any hard facts to prove George was murdered and that Mr. Maldon played any role in the act. However, Mr. Maldon lacks this knowledge and does not call Robert on his bluff of accusations against him. It is a bold move for Robert to forwardly accuse Mr. Maldon. Perhaps if Mr. Maldon was not intoxicated and had his wits about him, he would have denied and disregarded Robert’s “knowledge” as superstition. However, Robert is well aware of this, which is why he watches to gauge the “effect of [his] words” on Mr. Maldon (p. 194). The readers know of Robert’s awareness because he previously defines circumstantial evidence to Lady Audley. Right now, all of Robert’s knowledge is circumstantial, but in Robert’s mind it is “yet strong enough to hang a man” (p. 152). Therefore, the appearance of empirical knowledge is just as powerful as having true empirical knowledge. However, it is only as powerful as Robert’s ability to hold the appearance, keep the poker face, and bet that nobody will call his bluff until everybody folds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *