Abuse of Power in Heart of Darkness and in Frankenstein

1614 Words7 Pages
How is the abuse of power shown in two works that you have studied?

The works I have studied and will be exploring in this essay are Mary Shelly’s ‘Frankenstein’ and Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’. In ‘Frankenstein’ the abuse of power is most clearly exhibited by the protagonist of the story Frankenstein himself, his abuse of power results in his isolation and could serve as a warning to people, telling them not to play with forces that they can not control. In ‘Heart of Darkness’, Conrad abuses his power as the author to distance himself from the novella and in a sense absolve himself from any racist criticism the book may induce. The abuse of power is also a key theme in the novella itself. Firstly there is a sense of hypocrisy in
…show more content…
King Leopold was abusing his position of power to exploit the Congo for it’s raw materials, it can be said that the vivid cruel and gruesome images Conrad conveys in the book are merely mirroring the harsh reality of the brutalisation in Africa. One could therefore conclude that due to Conrad’s own experiences in the Congo he has to tell his story through a framed narrative, as it may be too difficult for him to share his story in the first person. Whether this was the case or not, it is clear than in ‘Heart of Darkness’ Conrad reveals the abuse of power to be ever present in the colonial age that Conrad lived in, and he demonstrates the abuse of power as something to be wary of and to fear, as it can result in madness.

Finally the abuse of power in the Congo also demonstrates the hypocrisy of Imperialism through the corruption observed in ‘the company’. Before Marlow travels to the Congo itself he reveals that it was very difficult for him to ascertain a job, which would result in his exploration of the river which had charmed and fascinated him from childhood. It is at this point that Marlow decides to ask his aunt for help, and she manages to get him a job, which will take him where he desires to go. This clearly demonstrates that Marlow’s abuse of power right at the beginning of the book. He then proceeds to judge others who are abusing power when he is in the Congo. For

More about Abuse of Power in Heart of Darkness and in Frankenstein

Get Access