Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

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Within each man there is a thing of shadow and opposite representation. It is within the dark side that the animal is hidden. Behind society's obligation and humanity's offered mold there exists a wild whisper of simplistic want. Each man is a moon and each moon is of two faces, one dark and one light, one shown and one hidden. In Heart of Darkness the character Marlow journeys deep into the Congo River to discover the evil within the Id, within human nature.
The novel Heart of Darkness utilizes light and dark imagery to show the ambiguity that obscures good and evil from definition, as it shows that both spectrums there are many shades of grey. Africa is a land of savagery and Europe is a land of civilization, yet each continent also contains special horrors. In “Heart of Darkness” Marlow refers to the company’s headquarters as the “Whited Sepulchre” to emphasize the fact that though the exterior of imperialism may be shining, white and righteous, the interior is filled with hypocrisy and decay. The phrase “Whited Sepulchre” comes from the biblical Book of Mathew, “For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of bones of the dead and all kinds of filth” (Mathew 23: 27-28). The official mission the company hides behind is its obligation to civilize and enlighten the natives, but in truth the work along the Congo River is purely profit-driven. The company’s methods to attain its profits are savage and dehumanizing; they result only in the death and decay of the white men and black native. This dehumanization of the native people by the colonial reveals that within man there exists something ancient and beastly that can be brought out from hiding once unleashed separate from socie...

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...ltimately lost and trapped into the dark savagery of the Id.
Kurtz’s madness and brutality is a reflection of the evil that resides in the hearts of all men. The temptation of the grove, the dark side of human nature, has a strong power over Kurtz, so much so that he prefers to remain in the primitive and savage Africa. He would prefer to be free of society and legal boundary. For Kurtz “the wilderness had patted him on the head, and behold, it was like a ball- an ivory ball; it had caressed him and- lo! He had withered; it had taken him, embraced him, got into his veins, consumed his flesh, and sealed his soul to its own by the inconceivable ceremonies of some devilish initiation” (Conrad, 1990, pg.76). Kurtz is the inner id. Marlow regards savagery as a vice that exists with nature. The Id exists with man, and with it the potential for evil in even the best of men.

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