Ignorance In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

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Ignorance is bliss, as many believe. However, ignorance also leads man into situations they are unable to control, because of what lies in their heart. In the novella Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad utilizes strong symbolism to display how materialistic value can cause ignorance of the truth, which can lead to a man’s state of vulnerability and destruction.
Joseph Conrad utilizes ivory as a strong symbol to display how man’s obsession for worldly items ultimately leads to the obliviousness of their actions and the destruction of everything around them. When Marlow arrived at the central station, he heard “The word ‘ivory’ rang (ring) in the air, (It) was whispered, was sighed. You would think they were praying to it. A taint of imbecile rapacity
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Kurtz was the role model for the pilgrims, everyone wanted to be as ambitious and charismatic as him. However, the picture of Kurtz portrayed does not match with the real Kurtz, as Marlow figured out once he reached Africa. As Marlow walked in to the territory Kurtz occupied, he witnessed the gruesome, immoral sight of heads displayed on sticks that were “black, dried, and sunken with closed eyelids, a head that seemed to sleep at the top of that pole” (Conrad 53). The six month voyage many pilgrims, including Marlow himself, was a huge risk because what they have heard about Kurtz and the ivory economy could not be proven until seen with their own eyes, and this sight Marlow witnessed described the complete opposite of what Kurtz is portrayed as. This turning point of the book symbolizes what happens to man when they ignore their morals, and are left without society for an extended period of time. The true darkness in man’s heart is suppressed by following the moral deeds, but when man begins to ignore those morals, he is left in a state of darkness that overcomes the mind and body. This state of darkness ultimately led to Kurtz decapitating innocent Africans for his own sake of

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