I am wondering if it has been noted anywhere that Gerald Emerald must be “bad Bob,” Kinbote’s erstwhile roomer? It seems so obvious to me now, but there is nothing in the listserve archives - perhaps somewhere else?
The convincing clue for me is in the index under Kinbote: “His participation in a Common Room discussion of his resemblance to the King, and his final rupture with E. (not in the Index)” (my emphasis)
These are the words of a spurned lover. “Final rupture” means there had been a bond (real or hallucinated) and a separation. Writing about “bad Bob,” Kinbote says, “I returned to find he had been entertaining a fiery-haired whore from Exton who had left her combings and reek in all three bathrooms. Naturally we separated at once…”
This explains all the antipathy for Emerald and why Izumrudov, his Zemblan counterpart, is “one of the greater shadows.” What could be more hurtful and oppressive (aside from Death) than unrequited love? Izumrudov does not merit a listing in the index either, and it explains why “one hates such men!”
Further in the same index entry: “his loathing for a person who makes advances, and then betrays a noble and naïve heart, telling foul stories about his victim and pursuing him with brutal practical jokes, 741.” That particular commentary is only about Gradus and Izumrudov - not Emerald, and not Kinbote. As a “shadow” you might say Izumrudov was betraying the King, but not making “advances.” This is clearly a conflation of Emerald/Izumrudov/bad Bob. Kinbote feels not just harassed, but betrayed by Emerald.
In my Jungian paradigm for Pale Fire, Emerald is the “Trickster” archetype. The Trickster is a “practical joker.” It is no doubt Gerald Emerald that Kinbote is referring to when he says, “Well did I know that among certain youthful instructors whose advances I had rejected there was at least one evil practical joker.”
Elves and leprechauns are typical trickster figures– hence the name “Emerald” and the green jacket. As King Charles escapes over the mountains, he is beset by “alfear,” fear of elves.