Heart of Darkness Essay

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Heart of Darkness Darkness permeates every circumstance, scene, and character in Joseph Conrad's novella, Heart of Darkness. Darkness symbolizes the moral confusion that Charlie Marlow encounters, as well as the moral reconciliation he has within himself while searching for Kurtz. Marlow's morals are challenged numerous times throughout the book; on the Congo river and when he returns to Brussels. Charlie Marlow characterizes the behavior of the colonialists with, "The flabby, pretending, weak-eyed devil of a rapacious and pitiless folly," (25). Marlow distinguishes "the devil" from violence, greed, and desire. He suggests that the basic evil of imperialism is not that it perpetrates violence against native peoples, or…show more content…
However, he continuously interprets the actions in the world surrounding him. "Going up river was like traveling back to the earliest beginnings of the world…prehistoric earth," (59) reflects the Europeans inclination to regard the natives as primitive. Marlow's notion of traveling back in time is later reinforced by the arrows and spears that are used in the attack on his ship, "Sticks, little sticks, were flying about…Arrows by Jove, we were being shot at," (79). Marlow is distraught by the natives he sees along the river bank, "…and the men were--No, they were not inhuman. Well, you know, that was the worst of it-this suspicion of their not being inhuman," (62). Marlow realizes though that the natives are no different from an uneducated and ignorant European. This realization is significant to the personal development of Charlie Marlow and explains his treatment to the natives later in the novella. Further insight to the relationship between Kurtz and the Russian trader is offered in section three. Although the Russian trader is naïve, he came to Africa in search of the same thing as Marlow; something experimental. They both aligned themselves with Kurtz. For Marlow, Kurtz represented the choice of outright exploitation over the hypocritical justifications of cruelty. "'Nevertheless, I think Mr. Kurtz is a remarkable man," (112) Marlow is willing to put aside the reality of Kurtz's cruel and selfish behavior, in order to satisfy the

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