Good And Evil In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

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What is a good action? What justifies something as evil? Good and evil, a common dichotomy found all the time in life. Being able to decipher whether an action can be defined as good or evil plays an immense role in conflicts of everyday life such as ethics, religion, and psychology. In Heart of Darkness the ability to decipher whether something is good or evil, because impossible as they head toward the heart of the Congo. Marlow has an Englishman’s etiquette towards the beginning of the novel, and narrates the novel with a civilized definition of good. This etiquacy helps define that anything that is uncivilized is bad. As he continues his journey and finds himself losing his mind in the Congo, his definition of good begins to change. In …show more content…
As Marlow tells his journey, he explains that the Congo is a dark and uncivilized place. The ivory trade company and all of the white pilgrims are the ones who hold the light and had good, civilized manners, “I met a white man, in such an unexpected elegance of get–up that in the first moment I took him for a sort of vision. I saw a high starched collar, white cuffs, a light alpaca jacket, snowy trousers, a clean necktie, and varnished boots. No hat. Hair parted, brushed, oiled, under a green–lined parasol held in a big white hand. He was amazing, and had a penholder behind his ear” (20). Conrad defines good by the actions of the civilized men. However, as the pilgrims begin to travel closer to the heart of the Congo they beginning to lose themselves and get pulled into the darkness. Nonetheless, the light kept these men civilized and helped Marlow see evil actions, “The flame had leaped high, driven everybody back, lighted up everything—and collapsed. The shed was already a heap of embers glowing fiercely. A nigger was being beaten near by. They said he had caused the fire in some way; be that as it may, he was screeching most horribly” (27). In spite of the light, which was preventing many of the pilgrims from becoming uncivilized, Kurtz found himself being caught in the evil actions of the darkness of the Congo, “[Kurtz] had started the …show more content…
The conflict between whether something is desired or approved of or profoundly immoral and malevolent. It seems as if it can be impossible to understand. Nevertheless, this struggle is prevalent in the novel Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. After reading through the novel, and looking closely at actions performed by the character, it becomes easier to tell how Conrad distinguishes good and evil from each other. Conrad ties good actions or morally justified actions to the white pilgrims doing the ivory trade in the Congo and light imagery. Contrasting his definitions for evil or morally wrong actions are the uncivilized people of the Congo, as well as the darkness that prevails within

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