Heart of Darkness was based on Conrad’s personal experience in the Congo in 1890, during this time King Leopold of Belgium colonizes Central Africa and forms the Congo Free State. Leopold 's original purpose for colonizing Congo was to harvest Ivory. As a consequence, King Leopold, who was a tyrant used his powers and weapons to force the Congolese’s to work to death. In the same way, that the Hearth of Darkness unfolds; it shares the similarity in which the people of Congo were treated under the authority of Leopold. “The work as going on. The work! And this was the place where some of the helpers had withdrawn to die: “They were dying slowly—it was very clear. They were not enemies, they were not criminals, they were nothing earthly now,
In Joseph Conrad’s unforgettable novel, Heart of Darkness, the profound words of Mr. Kurtz are a judgement of his malevolent life and of humanity in general. “The horror! The horror!” are the uttered words of Kurtz as he returned with Marlow from his civilization in Africa. Conrad left the words open for interpretation, leaving many readers feeling indifferent. As Kurtz encountered death, he reflected on his past and was fond of leaving the diabolical world that he inhabited. He was pleased to be dying due to his own evil, greedy actions as well as the inequality within humanity.
The notion of what it means to be human has been explored through various literature and interpreted in many different ways. Through an intricate series of events and circumstances as well as man's perception of superiority, Joseph Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness reveals challenging issues of imperialism and colonialism and there devastating effects on society. As the novel's title implies, the "darkness" illustrated is the negative human side of brutality and discrimination. The deeper meaning and implication of being "human" is dependent on many factors including one's surroundings affecting his or her behavior and decision-making as well as man's arrogance and feeling of superiority taking ethical actions.
In the heart of Africa lies darkness beyond that of night. Africa, still mostly undeveloped and covered in wilderness has a beast hidden within waiting to be let out. It is widely known that the primal instincts of a human are savage. In Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, darkness is not just found in the pigment of one’s skin; it is found in the primal instinct of all human beings, and every human starts with a heart of darkness.
April 16, 2014
Kurtz’ Heart Of Darkness
In Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Kurtz and the Council demonstrates natural human needs in order to survive and achieve personal desires. His dissolution and corruption take place as he travels deep within the Congo. His behaviour that lacks moral ethics is accepted by everyone in the Congo due to the severity of the area. Kurtz’ imperialistic actions of obsession with power and wealth, and his view of colonialism lead to his ultimate dissolution.
Asking the right questions is indeed an art form . It is however an even bigger burden to try to answer from an analytical presepective these subjective questions which inspire answers and explanations to the ultimate “why” and “how” . As readers we are obligated to carry with us an open mind, an analytical eye and room for suggestive arguments when trying to dissect a piece of writing. Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness offers the perfect platform for interpretation. With a dozen shades of foggy gray's, the short story is begging for a set of eyes that can see it through. Without proceeding too far into the novella, one can draw out a great deal of analytical suggestions as to what the title itself implies. The word Darkness seems to be a consistent theme throughout the book. So much so, that the amount of weight it carries has given it a special place on the cover. Many critics have found common ground on deciphering the interpretation of the word .The concept of darkness could be respresenting evil. However, some significant subjective questions remain unaswered: Exaclty which character in the novella has fallen victim to this evil? Is it Conrad himself, Marlow, Kurtz or the natives? All of them? Are there different forms in which this evil can manifest itself? Is it talking about darkness in the literal or figurative sense? Would we be considered naïve if we thought evil could be contained or is darkness a necessary evil we all posses and an undeniable part of our reality?
He misses his helmsman because unlike the other whites he worked hard. The helmsman was a sailor and Marlow starts to realize that sailors have an unexplainable brotherhood. With the helmsman 's death, Marlow wonders if Kurtz too might be dead. The thought disturbs Marlow, who realizes that he has been longing to speak with Kurtz. More specifically, he has been longing to "hear" what Kurtz has to say. He recounts his obsession and lust to hear Kurtz as “Absurd!”. Marlow after Kurtz’s death starts to feel no sense of purpose in life anymore. He feels that “..he had been robbed of a belief or had missed a destiny in life”(23) which shows that Kurtz held so much value to Marlow that now in his absence he has essentially lost his belief or “faith”. This is a direct parallel to the lost of “faith” that Goodman Brown experiences when he loses whose wife named Faith and after her death loses his faith in the Christian religion and mankind. Marlow, upon discovery of the book starts to see that within the midst of the African jungle lies a bit of the civilized world. The discovery of the book was “unreal” (14) and Marlow’s inability to recount “some such name”(14), the
1. The protagonist of Heart of Darkness is a person named Charlie Marlow. Oddly, his name only appears once in the novel. Marlow is philosophical, independent-minded, and generally skeptical of those around him. He is also a master storyteller, eloquent and able to draw his listeners into his tale. Although Marlow shares many of his fellow Europeans’ prejudices, he has seen enough of the world and enough debased white men to make him skeptical of imperialism. An example of Marlow being independent-minded and philosophical is when he takes a trip up a river, as a break from working on ships. Marlow describes the trip as a journey back in time, to a “prehistoric earth.” This remark on how he regards colonized people as primitive, which is his philosophical viewpoint.
In his novel Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad portrays the role of a woman to be the source that the man relies on when he can no longer bear the harsh realities of the world, and utilizes the idealistic world she creates to obtain a small sliver of hope for the future. He uses the character Kurtz, a European captain who is searching for ivory in the heart of the Congo in Africa, to display how a man will need a woman and her world in order to keep his sanity. When entering the world of the woman, the man will be able to find comfort because he is able to take a break from the real world and find solace in the world of the woman, using her as an audience to display his emotions to. The solace that the man finds in the woman is a way to keep his sanity because the truths that one discovers may leave one with pain and emotions that can drive him mad, while a woman's separate world may cause one to become blind from the actualities of society, the temporary blindness will help not only a man but also the woman to continue to have high hopes and ambitions in order to save themselves from falling into the wrath of reality and succumbing to the darkness that may cause one to fall victim to savagery due to embracing too much pain that comes from the reality.
Heart of Darkness: Critical Analysis
Joseph Conrad’s novella, Heart of Darkness, was written in the year 1902, a time of modernist literature. Heart of Darkness talks about the problems with alienation and confusion as much as it does about imperialism. In the early 1900’s, the lifestyle in England veered towards the Victorian values. Conrad’s novella makes a bridge to connect the Victorian values with the ideas of modernism. Thus “it belongs to a period of change.