Marlow Journey in the Congo in Heart of Darkness by Conrad Essay

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The protagonist Marlow believes that: “the mind of man is capable of anything-because everything is in it, all the past as well as all the future” (109). The basis of Heart of Darkness is Marlow's physical journey up the congo river to meet Kurtz. The main character Marlow goes through many physical and psycological changes from the beginning to the end of the story. In the beginning, Marlow is fairly innocent as he goes up the river, he gets closer and closer to Kurtz, and he moves closer and closer he learns more and more about the hearts of men and the darkness. When he eventually reaches Kurtz, Marlow's perception is obstructed and he physically and psychologically, does not know where he is. When Marlow is on the Themes, he talks…show more content…
He wants to see Africa and explore it, so he applies to a trading company where he can operate a steam boat up. His Aunt suggests that the Company is an imperialistic one, but Marlow says, “I ventured to hint that the Company was run for profit” (77). Once he arrives to the Congo, he must quickly adapt to not only new physical conditions but also to new cultures and societies. Because of this shift, Marlow’s “id, superego, ego” becomes unbalanced. Marlow described being in the Congo like “traveling back to the earliest beginnings of the world…you lost your way on that river as you would in a desert…till you thought yourself bewitched and cut off for ever from everything you had known once-somewhere-far away-in another existence perhaps” (Conrad 105-106). Marlow is feeling isolation which shows his abandonment of society and how the id is slowly taking over and moving the superego out of the way. Without society, there is no need for a superego, only the urges of the id. As the story continues, Marlow meets Mr. Kurtz who represents the id. Kurtz has submitted to the id and is not ashamed of it: “You can’t judge Mr. Kurtz as you would an ordinary man” (135). Marlow and others couldn’t judge him for the things he did because he was so far removed from society and traditional civilization that his id became unbalanced which is why Kurtz is characterized as being “sick”. When Kurtz says “The horror! The horror” it shows that his ego has achieved balance. Kurtz is
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