Joseph Contrad's Heart of Darkness

Joseph Contrad's Heart of Darkness

Length: 1133 words (3.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓

“The Horror! The Horror!';

Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness'; is not just a suspenseful tale of a man’s journey to one of the Earth’s few remaining frontiers, the African Congo; it is a psychological insight into the
true pits of the human mind, in search of the true “heart of darkness';, which resides not geographically, but is a part of all of us, living under the restraints of society and civilization.
Conrad explores the idea that under the taboos and societal mandates, there is a potential for actions and beliefs that are shocking to the common individual. Yet, if a man is released to do as
he wills, without society to judge him, he can cross into a state-of-being that we consider primal and non-human. Without civilization, one would become an agent free to do whatever he chooses, and will do it willingly.
Conrad demonstrates and hints at this conclusion using several literary devices, ranging from symbolism to the subtle changes in Marlowe, the narrator, that represent his growing distance
from civilization and reality. The strongest device and example of this phenomenon is the transformation of Mr. Kurtz, the director of the Inner Station. In this essay, I will explain and analyze Kurtz’s “de-humanity';, and how effective it is in achieving Conrad’s goal. This “deconstruction'; of Kurtz culminates with his utterance of the phrase, “The horror! The horror!';, as he lay dying. Yet, first we must explain what Kurtz was before he stepped over the edge.
From the moment Marlowe arrives on the coast of Africa, he hears tales of an incredible man, who runs a trading post deep in the Congo. The accountant at the first station said, “He [Kurtz]
is a remarkable person.... Sends in as much ivory as all the others put together....'; (Conrad 33-34) The bricklayer at the second station calls Kurtz an “universal genius'; (43). Marlowe himself tells us that Kurtz is an educated man, who had originally been commissioned to bring civilization and light into this, one of the darkest and vilest places on the Earth. Furthermore, the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs has asked to Kurtz to submit a report, for the future reference of the Society. Marlowe, himself, has reads the report and refers to it as a “beautiful piece of writing';; yet, through Kurtz’s rhetoric on how the superior white man has a responsibility to civilize and help the primitive natives, the report ends with a phrase scrawled in unsteady handwriting and it reads, “Exterminate all the brutes!'; (66) The last entry into his report gives a hint at what has become to the “remarkable'; Mr.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Joseph Contrad's Heart of Darkness." 123HelpMe.com. 20 Apr 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=60804>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on The Heart Of Darkness By Joseph Conrad

- In The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, a seaman named Marlow examines European imperialism before his very eyes and how it is affecting the natives in the area they are imperializing, which is the Belgian Congo. Conrad conveys to the reader that multiple people have multiple views on the natives and their habitat. On the other hand, Conrad also displays how the natives have different feelings for the Europeans that are intruding on their land. Through Marlow’s eyes, we see a very prospective view as he speaks of how he does not favor the treatment of the natives yet he does nothing to stop it....   [tags: Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad]

Research Papers
1169 words (3.3 pages)

Heart Of Darkness By Joseph Conrad Essay

- The novella, Heart of Darkness (1899), written by Joseph Conrad, is one big metaphor for the insatiable desire for land and commodity of Imperialist Europe. The protagonist is Charlie Marlow, a steamer captain during the Scramble to Africa, tells his crew of his travels into the heart of Africa, up the Congo River to an ivory trading station, deep within the impenetrable forest of Congo. He is trying to get to Mr. Kurtz- a lead ivory exporter of the area. Praising this mysterious authoritarian figure, Marlow is transformed by what he witnesses....   [tags: Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad]

Research Papers
1388 words (4 pages)

Essay on Heart Of Darkness By Joseph Conrad

- Joseph Conrad’s novella, Heart of Darkness, showcases a steady decline of one 's sanity, through the voyage that the main character, Marlow, takes through the Congo River; this is shown by the french ship firing into the jungle, Kurtz’s letters, and the stops at the three stations: the outer, center, and inner. The first showcase of madness in this novella is when Marlow is about to enter the congo and he sees a French war ship firing randomly into the jungle. The French have a French warship firing into an uninhabited land, so they can battle the natives that live the congo....   [tags: Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad]

Research Papers
1240 words (3.5 pages)

The Heart Of Darkness By Joseph Conrad Essay

- The Heart of Darkness, a complex text was written by Joseph Conrad around the 19th century, when Europeans were colonizing Africa for wealth and power and were attempting to spread their culture and religion in Africa. It was also a period in which women were not allowed to participate in worldly affairs. Therefore, the text deals with issues such as racism, European imperialism, and misogyny. This essay will look at the different themes in the novel and argue whether or not The Heart of Darkness is a work of art....   [tags: Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Africa]

Research Papers
1101 words (3.1 pages)

The Heart Of Darkness By Joseph Conrad Essay

- When writers write, it is often to convey a deeper meaning or truth to it readers. With this in mind, we should first take the book at face value then analysis the story to see the point that the writer revels. In The Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad does this very well. The story goes from what we originally thought as just a story of a journey into Africa to a story of indeed a journey to the hearts of men. Conrad’s truth in The Heart of Darkness is multi-layered in dealing with imperialism and colonialism, but leads us to a critique of humanity as a whole....   [tags: Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad, Africa]

Research Papers
1192 words (3.4 pages)

The Heart Of Darkness By Joseph Conrad Essay

- The novel, The Heart of Darkness, is written by Joseph Conrad. Throughout the story he puts many literary devices to use. The most apparent method he used was the symbolism of light and darkness. Marlow, the narrator, throughout the story makes the Europeans which are white, equivalent to the light in the world, while he makes the Africans, whom are black, equivalent to the darkness in the world. As Marlow proceeds further into the Inner Station, the darkness and lightness symbols mix with meanings that make them contradictory to what they normally mean....   [tags: Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Colonialism]

Research Papers
1338 words (3.8 pages)

Essay on Heart Of Darkness By Joseph Conrad

- Joseph Conrad’s s book Heart of Darkness portrays an image of Africa that is dark and inhuman. Not only does he describe the actual, physical land of Africa as “so hopeless and so dark, so impenetrable to human thought, so pitiless to human weakness”, (Conrad 154) as though the continent could neither breed nor support any true human life. Conrad lived through a time when European colonies were spread all over the world. This event and the doctrine of colonialism bought into at his time obviously influenced his views at the time of Heart of Darkness publication....   [tags: Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Human]

Research Papers
1441 words (4.1 pages)

Heart Of Darkness By Joseph Conrad Essay

- Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is a story of change, and not all of the modifications that the characters make are positive. Most of the decisions that are forced upon the main characters are harsh and overwhelming, and the pressure of these choices seems to always make a character revert to their most barbaric state. “Albert Guerard (Language, Psychoanalysis) asserts that Heart of Darkness isn’t really about Africa, it’s a metaphor for a psychological exploration to the heart of human nature and the animal selves that lurk beneath our civilized veneers....   [tags: Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad, Savage]

Research Papers
1222 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

- The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad Marlow, an ordinary sailor with idealistic dreams, goes on a dark yet fascinating journey as a newly hired riverboat captain, traveling up the Congo River, seeking out the legendary chief of the Belgium trading company. When describing typical sites and events situated in the Congo, Joseph Conrad wrote "The Heart of Darkness" in a first person's view, with Marlow as the highlight character. As he writes on about Marlow's experiences, he portrays typical issues set in the time period of the late 1800's, such as slavery, trading and imperialism....   [tags: Joseph Conrad Heart Darkness]

Research Papers
1187 words (3.4 pages)

Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness Essay

- Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" Joseph Conrad's novel "Heart of Darkness" written in 1902 is an overwhelming chronicle of Marlow's journey into the heart of the African continent. It is one of the most influential novels of the twentieth century. In this ghastly and horrific tale, Marlow leads an expedition up the Congo River, only to find everything is not as it seems. This haunting and mysterious story takes him into the unbearable core of the jungle. The novel also explores trade and exploration, imperialism and colonization....   [tags: Heart Darkness Joseph Conrad Essays]

Research Papers
755 words (2.2 pages)

Related Searches

Kurtz.
Near the end of the story, we meet Mr. Kurtz&#8217;s fiancée. We learn from her that, once upon a time, Kurtz was a great orator, who could sway any audience to his cause. She tells us that Kurtz had so many things planned, so much to offer to the world (92-93). Earlier in the book, a Russian sailor foreshadows the fiancée&#8217;s idealistic view of Kurtz. Apparently, the Russian had befriended Kurtz soon upon his arrival. The Russian speaks of Kurtz&#8217;s prowess at reciting poetry, which he has written himself. Also, the Russian speaks, repeatedly, of Kurtz enlarging his mind (80).
By the time Marlowe finally meets Kurtz, he is obsessed with this image of a white-clad knight, who is lifting this dark country into the civilized world. Yet, the reality is not what Marlowe or the reader expects. Kurtz is dying and, for all intensive purposes, insane. The Russian, along with his praises, recounts a story of Kurtz threatening to kill him for a small amount of ivory that a chief had given him. Marlowe learns of the methods Kurtz uses to obtain all of his precious ivory. Kurtz had, basically, raided the tribes surrounding his trading post and presented himself as a deity. Kurtz used his oratory skills, his immense height, and his firearms to completing his transformation into a god.
Kurtz had lost all sense of reality and humanity. He lived by no rules, only his will and whim. He allowed the tribes to practice terribly inhuman rituals, which they seemed to offer to Kurtz, himself. The most striking example of Kurtz&#8217;s complete loss of humanity and his obsession with his image as a deity is presented with Kurtz, who was on his death-bed and unable to walk, literally, crawling on his hands and knees towards the pagan rituals of the natives, which were being offered to him. Marlowe confronts him and we learn that the most shocking part of this man, is that he is aware of what he is doing, and proceeds with it, regardless of his former
humanity.
In his final words, &#8220;The horror! The horror!';, Kurtz finally comes to the realization of what he has become. He realizes that he has succumbed to the savagery and inhumane acts that he and the
European society had deemed their responsibility to erase. Kurtz sees in his final moments that this place nor the natives are the true &#8220;heart of darkness';, but is is himself and his European
contemporaries. Not only is this a culmination for Kurtz, it is a climax for Marlowe and the reader himself. Marlowe, who had been slipping towards the edge of humanity and his &#8220;heart of darkness';, sees what awaits at the end of that path and steps back from the edge. The reader recognizes that the Congo is not the &#8220;heart of darkness';, but it is actually the heart and soul of every human. One learns that the natives in their primitive and brutal ways are actually more pure and good, than the Europeans and their greed.
Conrad uses Kurtz, an ideal human of remarkable mettle and impervious morals, and demonstrates what lies beneath all men, the evil that is present and waiting in all of us. Marlowe walked down that path, along with all removed from civilization&#8217;s constant reminders of morality and restraint. The reader even grows numb as we traverse the river with Marlowe, towards Kurtz and the recognition of the &#8220;heart of darkness';; the reader becomes accustomed to the slavery, to the senseless murder, and to the greed. Until that last moment, the moment Kurtz recognizes his and the European&#8217;s fault, and our own. Kurtz lost in the end, and unleashed what lay beneath the
surface of our so-called &#8220;humanity';; but, Conrad achieves his goal of demonstrating that humans are not so far removed from what their society and civilization condemn. The true &#8220;heart of darkness'; is not the Congo, the natives, Africa, or even Kurtz, himself; the &#8220;heart of darkness'; is not a place, but a part of you and me, a part of all of us, which we all must keep in check or, in the end, lose or humanity.
Return to 123HelpMe.com