The Horror In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

820 Words 4 Pages
The “Horror” in the Heart of Darkness
The Heart of Darkness is a novella that was written during the time of African imperialism. The continent was suffering moral and social sickness as it was being opened for exploration and commercial expansion. The Heart of Darkness is written through a series of different points of views, which makes the famous last words of Mr. Kurtz, “The Horror! The Horror!” so ambiguous. The author, Joseph Conrad, leaves it up to the reader to interpret the vague “horror” of the story through the narrator, Marlowe, and Mr. Kurtz himself. The introduction even suggests that Kurtz is a self-tortured and corrupted idealist that had succumbed to the dark temptations that African life posed to him [as a European](999). Perhaps the horror of it all could be a combination of everything Marlowe and Kurtz had experienced—the exploitation of Africa, the evil and terror within humanity, and Mr. Kurtz’s own depravity caused by his abuse of power.
The continent of Africa during this story was being explored by Europeans and was being opened up for commercial use. At this point, Africa was considered a “No man’s land” and the Europeans were seen as brave for taking a journey up the river “snake” into the Congo, a region of
…show more content…
Mr. Kurtz is used as a symbol of death within the heart of darkness. Although Conrad uses different perspectives, he portrays the horror through the scenes of the abused African land from European explorers, the evil within the society, and the downfall of the devilish Mr. Kurtz due to his somber pride over his success in the ivory trade. The whole story itself represents the journey to our death by finding the demons within us. The horror of the story is the inevitable death we all face and our lives, which are a “mysterious arrangement of merciless logic for a futile purpose” (Conrad

Related Documents