Characteristics Of Savages In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

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Between the years of 1884 and 1885, King Leopold II of Belgium acquired an area of land 78 times larger than Belgium itself, he named it the Congo “Free” State. Leopold promised that he would improve the lives of the native Africans within this territory by ending the slave trade, converting them to Christians and introducing European health and education systems. Long story short, Leopold did none of those things for the native Africans; rather, he ended up enslaving, mutilating and killing them, all in a bid to take advantage of the Congo’s valuable natural resources. Many people were blind to what was actually happening in the Congo “Free” State; that’s where Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness comes in. Heart of Darkness is a novella which reveals the savage nature of events that took place in the Congo during King Leopold’s reign. Throughout Heart of Darkness, the Europeans in the Congo accuse the Africans of being savages based on their race and the environment they live in. However, according to Marlow it is the Europeans who are the true savages which is displayed through their atrocious acts of crime committed against the Congolese. Before they even experienced the effects that Africa had on them, Europeans were savage in how they showed no care for a single soul, not even those on their side. The European “colonists” who were supposed to be going into the Congo and enhancing life for the Africans were actually not doing what they were said to be doing, instead they
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