Critical Review of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness The understanding of evil and its genesis could not be achieved without submerging into the reality of iniquity. In Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness", Marlow went through an unsurpassable physiological burden of the Congo River to understand the mystic and the brilliance of Kurtz's dark and destructive mind and soul; the resemblance of true evil. This novel portrays the tragic outcome of the severe European dominion over the helpless African population and the destruction of fundamental human conventions and beliefs. The ignorance and misunderstanding with which the colonists were driven to imaginary wealth and authority nourished the hidden potential of evil that lies within each person and brought a great wave of disaster to the Congo River. The novel places us into the epicenter of mysterious Congo Jungle, full of darkness, savagery, greed and death.
“This heart is drowned in a bath of light shed by the advent of civilization. Norman is an island, and no man can live on the island without becoming a brutal savage. Inside his heart lies the raw evil of untamed lifestyle” (Heart of Darkness: A systematic evaluation). Works Cited "The Congo" Created December 07, 1995 (Accessed 12 February 1997). Conrad, Joseph.
Conrad incorporates darkness to his story as a whole whether through: characters, settings, or motifs. Evil, although not directly mentioned, is the after effect of the Europeans conquest of the Congo. As much as one may want to believe this story is all fictional, it’s not the Belgian Congo really was a part of history. The supposed purpose of the Europeans traveling into Africa was to civilize the natives. Instead they colonized on the native's land and corrupted the natives.
Conrad uses the depths of the Congo to show how morals, restraint, and conscience escape from man when he is taken out of civilization. In his novel, Conrad uses the literary element of symbolism through the painting, darkness, and the white sepulcher to demonstrate the theme of
The only thing that European civilization is capable of is stealing the African wealth. Throughout the novel, Africa is not only being described as dark but also mysterious and dangerous where light could be turned into darkness. The setting when Marlow tells his tale is foreshadowing of what is to come. The setting changes as Europeans drive deeper into the Congo, and the white man collapses under the infinite darkness of the Co... ... middle of paper ... ...e death. "(Page 29 HOD), and this is a clear evidence that proves how Marlow’s morals have been destroyed as he moves to each station.
An essential theme of Joseph Conrad’s book is the critique of the psyche of colonialism and how its mistreatment of the African people, corrupts the human mind. How a human being draws itself to the darker side, by being responsible for horrific and degenerated actions. In order to make it more substantial and concrete, the author makes the choice to describe the psychological shift both in a spiritual (subjective) way and in an physical (objective) way. This is accomplished by putting the setting on the Congo River, so when Marlowe travels upriver, he both goes deeper into the dark and unexplored parts of Africa and of his own soul. With this illustration Joseph Conrad dramatizes how the coexistence of the soul and the material world, makes a mark the mind and body of the individual human being.
The Meaning of Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness has a symbolic meaning behind its title like many other great works of literature. The title can actually be interpreted in many different ways. One way the title can be looked at is that it portrays how Conrad viewed the continent of Africa. It might also represent entering into a more primitive society, witnessing humans transforming from civilized to savage. Perhaps the Heart of Darkness refers to the colonialism and imperialism that the Europeans were practicing at the turn of the 20th century.
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).
He sailed to many places, especially in Africa and Asia, first as a sailor and then as a captain (British Humanist Association). During his travels he witnessed division caused by religious belief and dogmatic attitudes in the many countries he visited (British Humanist Association). Conrad's childhood, humanist outlook, and experiences at sea influenced all his great writings. His journey to Congo in 1890 influenced his most famous novel, Heart of Darkness. During his visit to Congo he witnessed the corruption that ran rampant under the rule of King Leopold II.
In reality, Leopold was only using the Congo for his own advantage. Slave and forced labor, bru... ... middle of paper ... ...tion vs. primitive” as well as in the depiction of the Congolese people. Furthermore, the political impact is shown in the narrative and the character of Mr. Kurtz, and the social significance of the time is highlighted by the theme of racism and the portrayal of two prominent European characters in the text. The incorporation of these historical circumstances in Heart of Darkness indicates how much of an effect the outside world can have on a text. It also illustrates the importance of knowing what some of those circumstances are before making assumptions or conclusions about the text and its meaning.