Characters as Symbols
The overall symbolism of the book is concerned with the struggle between love and the powers of darkness.
Lena symbolizes pure love. Of humble origin, she typifies Christ.
Heyst symbolizes the negation of love through mistrust of life.
Schomberg symbolizes that cringing, sneaking form of evil which is often more deadly than open violence.
Ricardo symbolizes the "lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life."
Jones symbolizes the devil.
Wang symbolizes the false face of friendship which deserts when adversity arises.
Pedro symbolizes bestiality.
Throughout the book, the reader will find rich symbolism:
The volcano symbolizes life, always threatening to break out in violence, breeding storms — life as Heyst regarded it. The volcano also foreshadows Heyst's death by fire.
Clouds symbolize the sad fate of both Heyst and Lena.
The books and portrait symbolize the hold Heyst's father's philosophy has on his son.
The sea symbolizes death.
The storm symbolizes the storm of violence in the hearts of the actors in Samburan's final tragic scene.
Ricardo's dagger symbolizes the sting of death, rendered harmless by love. Thus it becomes the symbol of Lena's Victory.
Lena's black dress is a symbol of death.
The spears in the barrier of branches symbolize fear.