The Conquest in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness

  • Length: 476 words (1.4 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

Conquest in Heart of Darkness


“ The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much.” (Conrad 65)  So stated Marlow as though this was his justification for ravaging the Congo in his search for ivory.  Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness shows the disparity between the European ideal of civilization and the reality of it as is evidenced by the domination, torture, exploitation and dehumanization of the African population.  Heart of Darkness is indicative of the evil and greed in humanity as personified by Kurtz and Marlow.

These emissaries of light are shown to be crude, sordid and violent.  They had no regard for the destruction of Africa’s natural environment, wantonly destroying hills in a feeble attempt to establish a railway, “No change appeared on the face of the rock....the cliff was not in the way or anything; but this objectless blasting was all the work going on.” (Conrad 76)  This statement reveals the real motive for venturing into the Congo which was not to bring a better, more civilized lifestyle to the poor, underprivileged Africans; but to satisfy their lust for power. “It was just robbery with violence, aggravated murder on a great scale, and men going at it blind - as is very proper for those who tackle a darkness.” (Conrad 65)

Just as Victor Frankenstein in the novel Frankenstein created a monster that was a manifestation of his inner turmoil and demons, so too Kurtz and Marlow’s journey into Africa is an unveiling of their inner darkness which we are all afraid to face.  Like Grenouille, in Perfume and Victor Frankenstein, Kurtz sought power, adoration and godlike status both among his European counterparts and the native Africans.  Just as Grenouille bottled and collected special fragrances so too Kurtz collected human heads displaying them around his hut as trophies.  Kurtz’s journey into Africa, as well as his inner journey, can be likened to Grenouille’s hibernation in the cave for seven years or Victor’s search for his monster across the icy slopes.  During this period each individual underwent a transformation and a realization of the horrors they have created.

Kurtz’s final words “The horror! The horror!” are comparable to Victor fleeing the scene when faced with the manifestation of his handiwork.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Conquest in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness." 19 Mar 2018
Title Length Color Rating  
Essay on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness - ... The British began to see that the ‘others’ had agency and thus the ability to develop into a society similar to theirs in due time. Imperialism was unnecessary, so long as the British Empire maintained control of the world market. Once Germany, Belgium, and The United States were able to compete with the monopoly the British Empire had created, this forced the British Empire to explore new markets. It was the sudden demand for new foreign markets to adopt Imperialism as a political policy moving forward (Hobson 1)....   [tags: Darkness and imperialism] 1271 words
(3.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Theme of Darkness in Conrad's Heart of Darkness Essays - The Theme of Darkness in Conrad's Heart of Darkness Works Cited Not Included It has been said that although Conrad may not have been 'the greatest novelist, he was certainly the greatest artist every to write a novel';. I feel that this is an apt description of Conrad's writing style in Heart of Darkness (1902), as he paints many verbal pictures by using expressive words and many figurative descriptions of places and people. An extensive use of words relating to colour, is evident throughout the novella....   [tags: Heart Darkness Joseph Conrad Essays] 1326 words
(3.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Joseph Conrad's Views On Colonialism Essays - "What redeems it is the idea only. An idea at the back of it; not a sentimental pretence but an idea." "Those who read me know my conviction that the world, the tempered world rests, notably, on the idea of Fidelity." This is a running theme through most Conrad's books. As a sailor he learned that to survive, every crewman did the job he was assigned, and that the survival of the ship, and therefore the community, depended on each man doing his duty. The heart of darkness can be read as a political critique of western imperialism as exercised by the Belgians, who more or less raped the Congo of its resources while brutalizing the country's people and making them slaves of unbridled politi...   [tags: Joseph Conrad] 1505 words
(4.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Colonialism and Imperialism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness Essay - Imperialism Exposed in Conrad's Heart of Darkness      Joseph Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness' is a novel about European imperialism and its far-reaching effects. Conrad relates his personal opinions through the protagonist, Marlow, who learns a great deal about imperialism while on a journey to the African Congo. Although 'Heart of Darkness' seems to be an anti-imperialistic work, this is not entirely true. Conrad condemns the overly idealistic nature of imperialism, but does not attack Britain's competent employment of it....   [tags: Heart Darkness essays papers Conrad]
:: 6 Works Cited
1005 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
lighthod The Web of Darkness in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness Essay - The Web of Heart of Darkness     Marlow’s wilderness is not vibrant nor majestic, nor is it boisterous in its vitality, illuminating and nurturing its lush bounty within its sensuous bosom.  It is not a wondrous place, intoxicating with radiant color and a symphony of sounds those who journey into its interior.  It is not quiescent nor serene, willing to reveal its secrets, easily subdued or tamed.  His wilderness is a primeval, mysterious enigma that swallows light and sound, rationality and language, imprisoning them deep within its immense folds.  It is fascinatingly savage, menacing in its power to mesmerize and lure, and finally to seduce the “bearers of a spark from the sacred fire”...   [tags: Heart Darkness essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
620 words
(1.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Evil of Colonialism and Imperialism in Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad - Exploring the Evil of Colonialism in Heart of Darkness     A masterpiece of twentieth-century writing, Heart of Darkness exposes the tenuous fabric that holds "civilization" together and the brutal horror at the center of European colonialism. Joseph Conrad's novella, Heart of Darkness, describes a life-altering journey that the protagonist, Marlow, experiences in the African Congo.  The story explores the historical period of colonialism in Africa to exemplify Marlow's struggles. Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness is most often read as an attack upon colonialism.  Marlow, like other Europeans of his time, is brought up to believe certain things about colonialism, but his views change as h...   [tags: Heart of Darkness ]
:: 4 Works Cited
1544 words
(4.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on lighthod Light and Dark in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness - Light and Dark in Heart of Darkness        Joseph Conrad's repeated use of darkness in his novel Heart of Darkness has been widely interpreted. Readers have arrived at many different conclusions about the use of darkness throughout the novel. The critics themselves cannot agree what the darkness means.         The critics draw different conclusions about the use of darkness. For some critics, the use of darkness is seen as an intentional literary device. For example, Gary Adelman and Michael Levenson discuss the use of darkness and comment upon Conrad's purpose....   [tags: Heart Darkness essays]
:: 6 Works Cited
2293 words
(6.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Symbols, Setting, and Ironies of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness - Symbols, Setting, and Ironies of Heart of Darkness    Joseph Conrad's novel, Heart of Darkness, is about many things: seafaring, riverboating, trade and exploration, imperialism and colonialism, race relations, the attempt to find meaning in the universe while trying to get at the mysteries of the subconscious mind. Heart of Darkness is a vivid portrayal of European imperialism.  The book in other words is a story about European "acts of imperial mastery" (1503)-its methods, and the effects it has on human nature-and it is presumable that Conrad incorporates much of his own experience in the Congo and his opinions about imperialism into the story....   [tags: Heart Darkness essays]
:: 4 Works Cited
1204 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
journeyhod Spiritual Journey in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness Essay - Spiritual Journey in Heart of Darkness   Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad may be a narrative about colonisation, revealing its drawbacks and corruption, but it may also be understood as a journey into the depths of one’s psyche, if taken at a symbolic level. At the beginning of the novel the reader is informed that Marlow is “not typical”, that he, contrary to stay-at-home-minded seamen, is a “wanderer”. He has no home, in a psychological sense of the word. He simply “follows the sea”. This may evoke an interpretation that the man is disturbed, that he attempts to find out about the secrets of his soul, to get to know himself....   [tags: Heart Darkness essays] 528 words
(1.5 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
The Dispensable Nigger in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness Essay - The Dispensable African in Heart of Darkness Three Works Cited The story is about a man named Marlow, who is hired by The Company, which is a shipping company located in England. Although Marlow had sailed before, he had never sailed to Africa. The people who operated The Company (those located in England) are so far removed from reality, that they have no concept of the devastation caused in order to ship vast loads of ivory. The Company is a perfect example of how these profit driven industries obtain their wealth – through the blatant disregard of the environment and their fellow man....   [tags: Heart Darkness essays] 587 words
(1.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]

Related Searches

  It is as though neither of them can face the reality of what they are responsible for - Victor for playing with science and creating a monster which killed those he loved, and Kurtz for destroying other’s lives, for participating in “unspeakable rites”, and for the “unspeakable secrets” of his method.  At the end of their journey lies not ivory, the secret of regeneration of the most exquisite fragrance, but instead their true inner self - the heart of darkness.

Return to