Not only are women portrayed as being inferior to men, but Marlow's (the protagonist's) seldom mentioning of them in his Congo adventure narrative symbolizes his view of their insignificance. There is a total of five women presented in Marlow's narrative but only three of them are significant minor characters: Marlow's aunt, Kurtz's African mistress, and Kurtz's "Intended." The following essay will examine how the presentation of each of these three women in Marlow's narrative contributes to connecting events in the story.
Despite the generalized view of women of his time, Marlow's narrative indicates a more specified view of the value of women which suggest that they are all naïve but with culturally dependent personas. In presenting female characters, Marlow may have intended to add more essence to his narrative. Nonetheless, each of their appearances and his descriptions of them served to be metaphoric, yet powerful contributions to the story line.
From the beginning, Marlow sends a clear message to the reader regarding his position on the image of women. He relates how he "tried the women" after he found no man to help him achieve his travelling and trading ambitions. He did something out of the ordinary for his time; he went to a woman for financial aid. Because this woman is actually his aunt, one might argue that perhaps Marlow is not thankful enough to his...
... middle of paper ...
...he associates her with having powerful qualities, she is still considered naïve for not having expected departure from Kurtz. She displays sorrow and grief as she throws her hands to the sky as the steamboat pulls away. Finally, Marlow uses Kurtz's Intended to support his view of women as being accurate. In order to save their fantasy worlds, Marlow argues that men can stoop as low as lying. In unique ways the three significant female figures influence the development of Marlow's story but they do not influence the theme of the story; which is Marlow's exploration of the darkness of the human soul. Preserving the "beautiful world" of women as Marlow suggests denies women journey into the Darkness. Their role is therefore limited to their cultural environment and their own world because they might not have the strength to handle all the difficulties and temptation.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Women have gained equality with men over the many centuries of the evolution of the modern western civilization. Hence, it cannot be overlooked that there still exist many literary examples of social disregard for woman potential. Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" exemplifies the Western patriarchal gender roles in which women are given the inferior status.<p> Not only are women portrayed as being inferior to men, but Marlow's (the protagonist's) seldom mentioning of them in his Congo adventure narrative symbolizes his view of their insignificance.... [tags: Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness]
1190 words (3.4 pages)
- In the novella Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad uses many literary devices to create, for his readers, a vivid picture of what his definition of light and darkness really is. Conrad suggestively uses a technique whereas for every one character that portrays darkness there is an opposite character that portrays some extent of light. This technique can be explained in the form of comparison and contrast, for instance the “Harlequin” and the Manager. Though these two characters share few comparisons, their contrasts are one in a plenty.... [tags: heart of darkness]
788 words (2.3 pages)
- In Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad, the strongest conflict is an internal conflict that is most prominently shown in Marlow and Kurtz. This conflict is the struggle between their image of themselves as civilized human beings and the ease of abandoning their morality once they leave society. This inability has a close resemblance to the chaos theory. This is shown through the contrast of Kurtz as told by others and the actuality of him and through the progression of Marlow's character throughout Heart of Darkness.... [tags: Joseph Conrad]
1125 words (3.2 pages)
- The Role of Women in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness Women have taken an increasingly important role in literature. Only recently have authors portrayed women in a dominant, protagonistic light. Sophocles and other classical writers portrayed women more as reactors than heroines. Since the ancient Greeks, however, a trend has been established that gives women characters much more substance and purpose. A definite shift from the antediluvian ways can be seen, and the overall complexity of women characters has increased exponentially.... [tags: Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness]
968 words (2.8 pages)
- The Role of Women in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness is more than a mere exploration of the harsh realities of European colonialism in Africa during the late nineteenth century. In fact, it is rich in symbolism as demonstrated by his negative portrayal of women. Conrad chooses his language well, for his prejudice towards women is easily recognizable. To him, women were nothing more than soft, delicate, and naive. However, Conrad's condemnation of women is no longer a valid interpretation of women in the 21st century; thus, we must overlook Conrad's invalid judgment of women and take a modernistic approach in scrutinizing the women's actual repres... [tags: Heart Darkness essays Joseph Conrad]
1476 words (4.2 pages)
- Foolishness and Maliciousness in Exposed in Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad paralleled the Eldorado Expedition in his novel Heart of Darkness with the Katanga Expedition of 1890-1892. By doing so, he illustrated the folly and malevolence of the leaders of the Katanga Expedition and of Imperialist profiteers in general. The foundations for the Katanga Expedition were laid in 1883 when King Leopold proposed that he would leave the Congo state to Belgium in his will if he could borrow 25 million francs without interest to finance development of the area.... [tags: Heart Darkness essays]
791 words (2.3 pages)
- An Analysis of Conrad's Heart of Darkness In the twentieth century, nihilistic themes, such as moral degeneration, man's bestial instincts at the core of the soul, and cosmic purposelessness, have preoccupied many works of literature and philosophy.... [tags: Conrad Heart Darkness]
1464 words (4.2 pages)
- Use of Symbolism in Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad played a major role in the development of the twentieth-century novel. Many devices that Conrad applied for the first time to his novels gained wide usage in the literary period he helped to create. Perhaps the most effective of his pioneering techniques was his application of symbolism in his novels. In Heart of Darkness, Conrad's symbolism plays a dominant role in the advancement of themes in the novel. These themes are revealed not through plot, but instead through the symbolic characters and elements present in the narrative. Joseph Conrad's use of symbolism in his portrayal of the Africans, the Company, and Kurtz in Heart o... [tags: Heart Darkness essays]
1483 words (4.2 pages)
- Light and Dark in Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad's repeated use of darkness in his novel Heart of Darkness has been widely interpreted. Readers have arrived at many different conclusions about the use of darkness throughout the novel. The critics themselves cannot agree what the darkness means. The critics draw different conclusions about the use of darkness. For some critics, the use of darkness is seen as an intentional literary device. For example, Gary Adelman and Michael Levenson discuss the use of darkness and comment upon Conrad's purpose.... [tags: Heart Darkness essays]
2293 words (6.6 pages)
- Beyond the shield of civilization and into the depths of a primitive, untamed frontier lies the true face of the human soul. It is in the midst of this savagery and unrelenting danger that mankind confronts the brooding nature of his inner self. Joseph Conrad’s novel, Heart of Darkness, is the story of one man's insight into life as he embarks on a voyage to the edges of the world. Here, he meets the bitter, yet enlightening forces that eventually shape his outlook on life and his own individuality.... [tags: Heart of Darkness Essays]
1790 words (5.1 pages)