On The Genealogy Of Moralism In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

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In 1887, two years before succumbing to utter madness, existential philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche writes his ethical polemic, On the Genealogy of Morals, in search of a man with the strength to evolve beyond humanity: But from time to time do ye grant me… one glimpse, grant me but one glimpse only, of something perfect, fully realized, happy, mighty, triumphant, of something that still gives cause for fear! A glimpse of a man that justifies the existence of man… for the sake of which one may hold fast to the belief in man! (Nietzsche, 18). Nietzsche cringes before the civilization of Europe and seeks a man unencumbered by moral principles, principles that he believes form from the stifling existence of being surrounded by weaker beings. Nietzsche’s cry for a superman is realized in the quest of Marlow in Joseph Conrad’s novella, Heart of Darkness. Marlow travels up the Congo River of Central Africa, driven by curiosity that morphs into raving monomania to find the premier Belgian ivory trader, Kurtz, a man seemingly distinguished from the hollow men of the Company, a…show more content…
But there is one more piece that ties together the personification of the Stations and forces the reader to introspect. The frame narration used by Conrad provides Marlow the chance to exit from the story and speak directly to his audience, and he often uses this occasion to remark, “No, it is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one’s existence,—that which makes its truth, its meaning—its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live, as we dream—alone” (Conrad, 130). The idea behind this comment is solipsism, that no man can really understand any experience but his own. Solipsism personalizes the story, forces the reader into his own heart to see what is there, to see the blackness that is
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