Marlow Journey in the Congo in Heart of Darkness by Conrad

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The protagonist Marlow believes that: “the mind of man is capable of anything-because everything is in it, all the past as well as all the future” (109). The basis of Heart of Darkness is Marlow's physical journey up the congo river to meet Kurtz. The main character Marlow goes through many physical and psycological changes from the beginning to the end of the story. In the beginning, Marlow is fairly innocent as he goes up the river, he gets closer and closer to Kurtz, and he moves closer and closer he learns more and more about the hearts of men and the darkness. When he eventually reaches Kurtz, Marlow's perception is obstructed and he physically and psychologically, does not know where he is. When Marlow is on the Themes, he talks about the ‘evils’ he experiences while there and how he worked to transport ivory down river. In the Victorian era, Africa was called the ‘dark continent’. Early in the book, Marlow explains that London–though it was at the time the most wealthy and populated city in the world–it too at one point was the ‘dark city’. This concept is similar to Conrad’s tale of the Belgians conquering the savage Africans. Darkness is everywhere including in the hearts of “civilized” persons. It appears often and is explored through the characters. Marlow becomes removed from society in the jungles of the Congo where he is forced to adapt to extreme conditions both physically and mentally these conditions force Marlow to change the way he thinks about things historically and geographically. In order to better understand Marlow’s mental journey and how the challenges in the jungle changed him, it is necessary to inspect the mind through the method of psychoanalysis. There are three different types of psychoanalysis th... ... middle of paper ... ...unlike Kurtz he, himself chose to put up with the id rather then become controlled by it. As a reward of sorts, Marlow lives through the desires of the id and returns to the city an enlightened and wise man, although he returns as a mental wreck. Marlow has gone through three mental phases throughout his trip to Africa which have forever changed him. He has become wise. He has not just experienced new cultures but he has completed an extremely tough mental journey. After this journey had ended he experienced extreme changes to his psyche which had occured on his way to and from the Congo. He begins as a naive sailor who longs for adventure, which represents the superego. Then as he became isolated on the Congo, away from society’s restraints his id instincts came out. He has the courage to continue and when he returns to society, his ego balances his id and superego.
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