Analysis Of Joseph Conrad 's Heart Of Darkness Essay

Analysis Of Joseph Conrad 's Heart Of Darkness Essay

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Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s definition of a hero is “a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities.” In Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad explores the way greed and jealousy seize the goodness in a man’s heart, as well as the possibility of them becoming a courageous character. In his novel, Conrad displays that although Marlow and Kurtz are perceived as heroes due to their moral and noble attributes, they are unable to become true heroes. Their lust towards power and control over land and ivory ultimately expands the desire and expansion of darkness in the hearts of people who once had good intentions.
Based on the definition of a hero, Kurtz is the ideal portrayal of one based on his effect over others, but due to his savage-like actions, he does not possess the inner attributes of a hero. His materialist and dominant actions lead him towards a dark path in the novel. Kurtz was highly admired by Marlow and the natives for his charisma and gifted personality, which draws them to believe he is an outstanding individual with virtuous intentions. Even though Kurtz is a charismatic and gifted individual, his true nature is revealed through his view on the natives. While reading the “Suppression of Savage Customs” report that Kurtz had written, Marlow is awestruck by the potency of his words. Marlow describes the feeling it gave him while reading it as a “notion of an exotic Immensity ruled by an august Benevolence. It made me tingle with enthusiasm. This was the unbounded power of eloquence – of words – of burning noble words” (Conrad, 62). The cleverness of Kurtz 's speech is considered a characteristic of a heroic character, but Kurtz soon becomes a corrupt individual by stating at the end of the report to “Exte...


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...dges the natives as human beings instead of the savages they are portrayed as by the Company. He says, “They were not enemies, they were not criminals” (Conrad, 26). Aside from that, he also recognizes the Company’s true purpose by declaring it “as unreal as everything else – as the philanthropic pretense of the whole concern, as their talk, as their government, as their show of work. The only real feeling was a desire to get appointed to a trading-post where ivory was to have, so that they could earn percentages” (Conrad, 34). Despite the fact that he has the moral attributes to realize a person’s corrupt behaviour, he goes along with the Company to satisfy his curiosity by finding Kurtz’s location. Thus, Marlow is unable to display the courageous qualities of a hero because of his air of supremacy over others and his indifference to the safety of the Congolese.



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