Archetypal Lens Of Good Vs. Evil In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness
In Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad focuses on the main characters of Marlow, the story’s narrator, who recounts his journey into the interior of the Congo, and Kurtz, an ivory trader, who is shrouded in mystery as Marlow is eager to meet him. Through the archetypes of the hero’s journey and shadow, both Marlow and Kurtz become deeply affected by their setting, which illuminates the theme of good versus evil.
Throughout Heart of Darkness, Marlow, the main narrator and defiant anti-hero, recount his past in the Congo, which his story reflects the hero’s journey, as he follows its stages, which shed light on the the darker nature of men as they clash between good and evil. Marlow in Heart …show more content…
Conrad’s character, Marlow, experiences not only a physical journey “deep within the heart of Africa” and in to the uncivilized Congo, but an archetypal journey of a level. In one of his journeys, Marlow descends into deeper levels of Dante’s Hell. As part of the journey, Marlow describes his fascination with a map of Africa and how “it had become a place of darkness” to him. Marlow also describes the map to contain a large river “an immense snake uncoiled, with its head in the sea.” His description of the snake relates to the serpent in the Bible that coincides with the Devil. The snake also represents man’s descent into darkness and Hell because of its head’s placement at the threshold of the continent. The allusion to Dante’s Inferno continues as Marlow journeys to Brussels, he describes the city as “a white sepulchre”. The city’s description becomes a first hand example to tombs and death that are vital to the image of Hell. As Marlow goes to his meeting in the fogged city, he sees two women “knitting black wool”. The portrayal of the women knitting directly relates to the Fates that are so often portrayed in Mythology and Dante’s telling of Hell. The furthering description of Hell is portrayed in Marlow’s journey on the boats, the boats parallel to Charon and his delivery of the spirits to Hades. Perhaps the greatest example of descent into Hell comes to the readers as Marlow’s description of some of the characters. Kurtz’ description in the novel is that of “a vapour exhaled by the earth… misty and silent” and his voice is depicted with great importance and strength as Satan's voice is in the Inferno. As a result, Conrad’s imagery and allusions depict the