The Importance Of Being Inherently Evil In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

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The world is a place that is shaped by stories. Whether it be stories told by individuals or those found in a newspaper, we hear them and, inevitably, they shape our opinions. However, the majority of these headlines have a darker undertone and are related to the atrocities people have committed, not the good. Based on these headlines it is natural to assume that people are inherently evil. This assumption is not true. Although people are born with a sinful nature, the way that they are raised and the environment they are raised in determines whether or not they are truly evil. When people are born it is with the ability to sin, and as Psalm fifty one verse five says, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived …show more content…
Although Kurtz seems to be his job in a competent, well organized manner, he displays several characteristics that make him seem evil. The first of these is anger. The reader finds out that the attack from the natives that Marlow and the others faced on their way up the river was in fact ordered by Kurtz as the natives did not want him to leave. So instead of just talking with Marlow when he arrives, Kurtz lets his anger rule him and orders an attack that ends up killing several. Kurtz is also blinded by his selfish ambition. He is known for sending the most ivory and when he finds out that the Russian had “a small lot of ivory the chief of that village near my house gave me”( Conrad 56), Kurtz immediately threatens to shoot him. This incidence shows the turning point of Kurtz being a sinful man into him becoming truly evil. Kurtz let his sin of selfish ambition get so out of control that he threatened to murder the man who had cared for him in the past. This situation would not have happened if Kurtz had not been in an environment that had warped his mind and reason. By living in the hostile environment of the Congo for so long, Kurtz let himself go and became truly …show more content…
However this story is unique as it is not one of the main characters that becomes truly evil, but those around him. The story is about a young black man that has been invited to a club to present his speech to some of the town’s prominent white men. Once he arrives he is forced into taking part in the battle royal and at this point we see those around him starting to become evil. Division, dissension and quarreling are obvious as soon as the boys began to fight as everyone in the room begins to yell out insults against the boys and fight with each others over elements of the fight. Not only are the white men insulting the different blacks in the ring but the men in the ring itself are fighting without remorse. As the narrator says, “ Everyone fought hysterically. It was complete anarchy.”(Ellison 227) The fight itself though, although wrong does not make the people in the room evil. Instead, it is the act following the fight that exemplifies the difference between sinful and evil. The men put the boys cash on an electrified rug and make them fight for it, even going so far as to throw one boy directly onto the rug. This is an act of true evil because they were taking people who were dependent on them for the money they needed and torturing them for fun. The environment contributed directly to the men becoming evil. They were drunk as

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