moralhod Morality in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness Essay

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Morality in The Heart of Darkness

"I trust I shall be forgiven the discovery that all moral philosophy hitherto was boring and belonged among the soporifics" (Nietzsche 561). Maybe so, but the issue of moral philosophy has been discussed though out time and provides a significant element in Conrad's story Heart of Darkness. In general, the timeless discussion traces back to the first philosophical writings of Plato and transcends from general religious grounds to general applications and codes of behavior espoused by Kant and Mills. These individuals and lines of thought try to establish a 'good' code of behavior based on something: a benevolent god, extensible codes similar to The Golden Rule, or even relativistic
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His argument is basically this: if God is omnibenelovent, omniscient and omnipotent then either evil does not exist, or, if it does, it is not really evil. Milton lays the groundwork definitions, aligning the parties in his illustrative argument early. "If then his providence / Out of our evil to bring forth good, Our labor must be to pervert that end, / and out of good still to find means of evil" (Milton I: 162-165). The word 'his' refers to God and relates the word 'good' with him, and relates Satan to the word 'evil'. The justifications for these labels are more implied than anything else, based in the relationship of the Christian God, and thus the Bible and the actions and motivations displayed by Satan. He becomes tied to " ... deep malice to conceal, couched with revenge" (Milton IV: 123) and "... ire envy and despair" (Milton IV: 115). Thus, good is implicitly the opposite of that: kindness with forgiveness, pleasure and joy. Milton's argument follows a path of self-discovery, illustrates a sympathetic character and describes his internal conflict and resulting horror of his situation. Mainly that he cannot ask for forgiveness and is thus locked into downward spiral between the reality of the situation, the expectations of his cohorts, and his own personal motivations. In the end, his actions
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