Heart of Darkness vs Crime and Punishment Essay

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In the novel’s “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad and “Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoevsky, the author’s discuss good and evil and how it relates to reality and illusion. Conrad discusses it through Marlow’s journey through the Congo and its comparison to his homeland of imperialist Europe. Dostoevsky discusses it through the development of the main character, Raskolnikov, after his murder and his “split” personality. There are clear distinctions in the novels between good and evil, the Congo representing evil and Europe representing good; and Raskolnikov’s thinking and beliefs in which one wants to do good, and the other bad. These distinctions can also be related to people’s views of illusion and reality.

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This contrast of light and darkness implies that there is a gap between them because the Europeans seem to represent all that is right and good, whereas the Congo represents and evil and wrongdoings. Marlow thinks that many of the men in Congo are mistreated and lead horrible lives and calls them “ants”, but these men do what they have been brought up to do. They represent the working class, and even the lower class; they blast holes, build railroads, and gather ivory. Marlow can’t understand how men can enjoy doing this and living this lifestyle, for he is used to living in an upper class world where people do not have to dirty their hands with “common work”. I think that Conrad is further expressing the point that Marlow’s world in London was a pure illusion, unreal almost because he took luxuries for granted. In the Congo, people work hard to do what they need to do to get by, and know that it is a dog-eat-dog world, which more thoroughly represents reality.

Crime and Punishment” is about the events surrounding the murders of a pawnbroker and her sister by Raskolnikov. Raskolnikov is a very complex character, and has a split personality and mentality. One part of him is the intellectual, conscience, good-natured man; the other part is cold, detached and inhumane. It is this side that allows him to commit a murder and attempts to rationalize it. This could also be seen as a contrast between
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