The Tale is a short story by Joseph Conrad. Typical of a Conrad story it is set at sea. The sea is symbolic of the unconscious and this story may be read as a story of the unconscious. On the outside, it seems simple; a man tells a woman a tale of the commanding officer of a patrol ship who gives false directions to another ship and sends it to its doom. In between the lines of the seemingly simple plot, however, can be read another tale; one which speaks of a human sea deeper than the sea of water; deeper, darker, and infinitely more mysterious. Man has navigated the sea of water but the unfathomed sea of his own being remains, for the most part, undiscovered. This is a sea different from the sea of this world and Conrad sets sail on it by telling a tale from another world. Sailing with Conrad, the reader can look out on the infinite vastness and try to form a picture of the infinite depth of a sea which is not visible to the human eye.
International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences (Volume 4)
M. R. M. Zadeh "A Reading of Joseph Conrad's The Tale", International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, Vol. 4, pp. 45-48, 2013