Theme Of Corruption In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

886 Words 4 Pages
In the winter of 1995 a video game, titled Tales of Phantasia, was released for the Super Famicon. What seemed like a trivial game to be played by small children started with a profound quote: “Truly, if there is evil in this world, it lurks within the hearts of men.” Many masterpieces of literature focus on the evil of the world and its relations with humans. One such work is Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Conrad uses the cultural, physical, and geographic surroundings to shift the moral and psychological traits of characters to reveal the stages of man’s inevitable corruption: the ignorant man, the man who has stood on precipice, and the man who fell into the void.
The first type of character revealed in Heart of Darkness is the ignorant.
…show more content…
Individuals who have been on the brink of savagery and insanity see the realities of the world at the risk of becoming mad. Heart of Darkness is centered on Marlow, the only true example of a man who saw and understood without going insane. As the steamboat travels up the river the wailing of savages surrounds the boat. One cannibal tells Marlow to catch them so they can be eaten. Marlow then says, “I would no doubt have been properly horrified, had it not occurred to me that he and his chaps must be very hungry: that they must have been growing increasingly hungry for at least this month past.” Any civilized and proper Englishman would have been horrified to hear such a thing in the streets of London, but Marlow is not in London. He realizes the horror of cannibalism, but also understands the hunger of the cannibal. Marlow starts losing his ideals of laws and order as the boat travels upstream. Although Marlow starts losing the laws of society he does not become one of the mad savages. Marlow is almost the complete embodiment of the process of corruption. He was an ignorant, civilized Englishman who started to become insane, but he had stood on the edge and “had been permitted to draw back [his] hesitating

Related Documents