Summary Of Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

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Conrad’s Purpose of Heart of Darkness
Since the publication of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness in 1899, it has opened the world’s eyes to the evil disposition of humans, which is exactly Conrad’s intention. In fact Conrad once said that “the belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.” Heart of Darkness is a clear representation of those words. Conrad’s novel follows the character Charlie Marlow on his journey into the depths of the Congo. Marlow receives a job working as a steamboat skipper transporting ivory for the Company. The Company is a Belgian business involved in trade in Africa. He witnesses the horrors of the imperialistic rule and ruthless actions of the Company’s
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Through the novel, there is a continual symbol of darkness as well as light giving way to the dark, this is made clear through imagery. The imagery that includes solely darkness emphasizes the despondency that looms over the life in Africa due to the imperialistic practice. Darkness overpowering light symbolizes how at first, Marlow is ignorant as to what is going on in the Congo yet as he comes to find out more about it, it becomes more obvious that it is only powered by greed. Marlow views the natives as “black shadows” and “black bones” and when they look up at him it is as though he is looking at a “white flicker in the depths of the orbs which [die] out slowly” (20). There is little hope for the natives who have been mistreated. Marlow refers to his trip down the river as “[penetrating] deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness” (37). The more information Marlow receives, creates a greater darkness. Kurtz, a main contributor to the immoral actions of the Company, is viewed by Marlow as belonging to the “powers of darkness” (49). Kurtz is one of the most powerful tradesmen on this expedition for ivory. He yearns for ivory, he breathes ivory, and he bleeds ivory; he has made his entire existence centered around this object. Greed radiates off of Kurtz’s character and his dark actions eventually endanger his own life. After Marlow returns from the Congo, he visits the deceased Kurtz’s fiancee. As he enters the home he notes that Kurtz is “a shadow darker than the shadow of the night” (72). Even though Kurtz is now dead, he still leaves a shadow that is even darker than a shadow in the night time; meaning, Kurtz’s actions and the effects of those actions do not die with him, however they continue to leave a mark on the world. The room seems “[grow]” increasingly “darker” the longer Marlow speaks about Kurtz (73). Marlow repeats this observation multiple times, noting that “the room

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