Heart Of Darkness

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Every man, or woman --to be politically and socially acceptable-- has buried, within himself, beneath centuries of societal norms and restrictions, a dark side, a savage side. When a man is taken out of society, and left to create his own norms, he must rediscover those primordial instincts which have sustained his species since the beginning of its existence. Survival of the fittest, physically and intellectually, cliqued as it may be, is the foundation of these archaic yet prevalent instincts. Persons who dominate one or many through mental or physical prowess develop a sense of superiority. This feeling, if fostered by the environment, and intensified to the extreme, produces a sense of having god-like powers. A man believing himself to be a or the God is seen, by the society from which he was taken out of, as a monster. Since monsters can not be allowed to roam the civilized world, someone must be sent to destroy it. To find the monster, the person selected must take the same path as the monster. This path is a journey into one’s own mind, soul, or true-self. The person on this path will never see evil so singularly personified as in the face looking back at him. In taking this path, the person runs the risk of becoming the very thing he is trying to destroy. In Joseph Conrad’s macabre story Heart of Darkness, the protagonist represents the person selected to seek out and destroy the monster. Conrad uses many techniques to bring the reader into the darkness: archetype, symbolism, and foreshadowing. The theme of this classic tale is succinctly made through the words of the western philosopher Nietzsche; when fighting monsters the person fighting should be careful not to become one, and when looking into a void the person must be aware that the void also looks into him.

The readers are first introduced to the protagonist, Marlow, as he is being commissioned --by the “Company';-- to hunt down the monster, Kurtz, who is considered by some to be the main character. Marlow, a boat captain, almost nomadic in his need to travel, is also a man of simple morals, simple to the point of religious, the most prevalent commandment seen in his character is “thou shall not lie.'; Marlow, after spending a little time in London, embarks on his journey. The purpose of this journey is to find Kurtz, a man who is also employed by the “Company'; --which is in the ivory business, and has its greedy hand spread over Africa like a malignant tumor (Gatten).
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