Translated as felons of ourselves, Felo de Se details episodes of struggle in a world that always evades comprehension, revealing Higgins's deep epistemological uneasiness from the outset of his fictional oeuvre.
The stories of Felo de Se generally use the conventions of realism.
The stories of Felo de Se represent barren, passive conditions by presenting dreamlike, linguistically dense fictional worlds.
If a man doe strike another to the ground, and then draweth his knife to kill him, and the defendant lying upon the ground draweth his knife to defend himselfe, and the assailant is so hastie to kill the defendant that hee falleth upon the defendants knife, and so is slain: In this case the assailant is felo de se, for hee had an intention to kill, though not himselfe, yet the Defendant.
The Gravedigger's next demonstration seems to reflect this fictionalization of se defendendo as felo de se, even as it appears to adapt it to the circumstances of both Ophelia's death and that of Sir James Hales: