Symbols In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

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Heart Of Darkness is one of the most important Joseph Conrad’s novels. It was written in 1899 in English, his third language, and its main topics are the relation between civilitation and savages and the evil side of the human being.

It is considered to be one of the most difficult books to understand because the quantity of symbols that dull the reading. During the story, there are a lot of details we have to consider and think about them as messages the writter wanted to reflect. Let’s divide it in chapters:

When we pick up the book and we start reading, the first ‘’character’’ that appears is the boat Neally. This introduction is very significant if we want to understand the journey that Marlow did.
As we can read: ‘’It seems to be a
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What’s more, Kurtz will be known for this situation: ‘’All that had been Kurtz’s had passed out of my hands: his soul, his body, his station, his plans, his ivory, his career’’ or “At this moment I heard Kurtz’s deep voice behind the curtain: ‘Save me!—save the ivory, you mean’’.

Related with Africa, Congo River is one more inanimate character. It means the journey into one’s spirit. Marlow progresses further up the river, he learns more and more about himself and his subconscious.
Its shape is a snake, and the snake symbolizes the idea of temptation and evil. The river leads Marlow and the other Europeans into the heart of the continent and, as a consequience, as a big problem, manly Kurtz’s madness and death or the attack by the
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For example: ‘’But there was the fact facing me—the fact dazzling, to be seen, like the foam on the depths of the sea, like a ripple on an unfathomable enigma, a mystery greater—when I thought of it—than the curious, inexplicable note of desperate grief in this savage clamour that had swept by us on the river–bank, behind the blind whiteness of the fog’'.
This fog supposed blindness, insecurity and incertainty. Not only fog doesn’t let us see, but also distorts. For Marlow, this is the first travel he did so that’s the reason fog is synonim of fear and confusion.

Moreover, we can read too: ’’Here and there a military camp lost in a wilderness, like a needle in a bundle of hay—cold, fog, tempests, disease, exile, and death—death skulking in the air, in the water, in the bush.’’

Otherwise, Kurtz represents himself the dark side of mankind, and what it transforms you into what is hated. His last words, “the horror, the horror!”

Finally, in chapter three, as we can read in the title of this book, darkness has its own meaning. Darkness represents, once again, ideas such as evil, madness, and depravity.
As we can read in the end of Heart Of Darkness: ’’The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds, and the tranquil waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flowed sombre under an overcast sky—seemed to lead into the heart of an immense

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