The Soul of Darkness in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness Essay

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Heart of Darkness: The Soul of Darkness "Heart of Darkness" The name itself implies a sense of unknown evil, and invokes thoughts of secrecy and mystery. Written by Joseph Conrad in 1902, "Heart of Darkness" tells of a physical journey down the Congo during its era of Imperialism, yet also of a mental sojourn into the core of insanity. It also paints paradoxes of seemingly clear concepts and states, such as the mental condition of central character Kurtz, an enigmatic ivory trader deep in the heart of the "Dark Continent." Two of the characters provide insight into Kurtz's moral paradox. The Intended views Kurtz as an emissary of light while Marlow views Kurtz as a god of darkness. Marlow, though he only knew Kurtz…show more content…
And I wasn't arguing with a lunatic either. Believe me or not, his intelligence was perfectly clear-concentrated, it is true, upon himself with horrible intensity, yet clear; but his soul was mad. Being alone in the wilderness, it had looked within itself, and...it had gone mad...he struggled with himself, too...I saw the inconceivable mystery of a soul that knew no restraint, no faith, and no fear, yet struggled blindly with itself" (Conrad, 112-113). Marlow realized that it was not the mind that had been lost, but the soul. Kurtz became to Marlow, a great and terrible fallen angel, who yearned for the light even as he plunged ever deeper into the Darkness. Kurtz's Intended, on the other hand, believed her beloved to be an incorruptible man of supreme goodness and light. She recognizes the sharp intellect and bright intelligence in her lover, yet almost inexplicably fails to see the raging storm of darkness roiling close beneath the surface. She saw the well respected man, the great amassed wealth, his ambitions for ultimate greatness; like a goddess looking upon her final creation, she looked, and saw that it was good: '"...his example,' she whispered to herself. 'Men looked up to him - his goodness shown in every act'"(Conrad, 129). Perhaps she was as mad as her companion-to-be, though from different causes. Professor Richard Yatzeck of Lawrence
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