The Heart Of Darkness By Joseph Conrad

Decent Essays

The Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad, is one of the most critically debated novellas of its time. It is about a man, named Marlow, who joins the Trading Company, specifically having to do with the ivory trade, so that he can adventure into the African Congo. The setting of this story is around the time of the colonization of Africa. Due to the time period and the sensitive things that are addressed in the story, there are many ethical decisions and dilemmas found in the Heart of Darkness. This is discovered in the time period itself, in Kurtz’s decisions, and in Marlow’s loyalty.
First, the main event surrounding this novella is the colonization of Africa, and it holds a huge ethical issue. The purpose of the Europeans, like Marlow and Kurtz, coming to Africa was originally to civilize it and bring a positive impact to the continent. However, they soon came to realize that they could profit off of the land. So they began to use the land for trade and sold the natives as slaves (“Colonization Lecture”, 2015). The major ethical question here could be: is going against the original promise something the colonists should have done? At the time, the European’s morals could have been different than those people hold now. In fact, this is a decent example of cultural relativism. The Europeans took their culture as a standard of action. Since their background made it seem that colonialism was okay, they all seemed to act based on this idea. In modern times, however, it is not

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