Analysis Of Joseph Conrad 's Heart Of Darkness Essays

1091 Words Oct 2nd, 2015 5 Pages
Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is set in the African Congo, where white Europeans have gone to reap the treasures of Africa and ‘civilize’ the natives there. However, instead of the “delightful mystery” (59) Charlie Marlow, the novel’s protagonist, expected, he finds himself in a land where the lack of a strong, united government has caused the men to revert back to a life that is “nasty, brutish, and short” (Hobbes)--one of the core ideas explored in the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes. In Heart of Darkness, although Conrad depicts human nature as self-preserving as well as the need of a sovereign to maintain peace, just as Hobbes believed, he also highlights how devastating it can be to the human soul. Hobbes’ belief that humans, without any kind of organization to guide them, are self-centered can be found throughout Heart of Darkness. The pilgrims’ “only real feeling” (82) was the desire to be promoted to a post where they could obtain ivory, despite their “philanthropic pretence” (82) of civilizing the natives, humanizing them to be akin to the Europeans. Though the pilgrims could be dispensing knowledge to the natives, they have no desire to do so, instead chaining the natives up and exploiting them for their own purposes. And although this act is clearly inhumane, what with the black men “connected together with a chain”(70) and thin enough so their joints were “like knots in a rope” (70), Marlow does not attempt to help them or in any way acknowledge their presence.…

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