Heart Of Darkness

Heart Of Darkness Every man or woman has buried within themselves a dark side, savage side. When a man is taken out of society and left to create his own norms, he rediscovers those instincts, which have laid dormant since the beginning of existence. Survival of the fittest, physically and intellectually, is the foundation of these instincts. Persons who dominate one or many through mental or physical powers develop a sense of superiority. This feeling, if fostered by the environment, and intensified to an extreme, produces a sense of having God-like powers.

A man believing himself to be a or the God is seen as a wicked person or a monster. Since monsters can not be allowed to roam the civilized world, someone must be sent to destroy it. To find the monster, the person selected must take the same path as the monster. This path is a journey into one’s own mind, soul, or true self. The person on this path will never see evil so clear and defined as in his/her own reflection.

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In taking this path, the person runs the risk of becoming the very thing he is trying to destroy. In Joseph Conrad’s story Heart of Darkness, the protagonist represents the person selected to seek out and destroy the monster. Conrad uses many techniques to bring the reader into the darkness: archetype, symbolism, and foreshadowing. The theme of this classic tale is made through the words of the western philosopher Nietzsche; when fighting monsters the person fighting should be careful not to become one, and when looking into a void the person must be aware that the void also looks into him. The readers are first introduced to the protagonist, Marlow, as he is being commissioned –by the Company– to hunt down the monster, Kurtz, Marlow, a boat captain, almost nomadic in his need to travel, is also a man of simple morals, simple to the point of religion, the most prevalent commandment seen in his character is thou shall not lie.

Marlow, after spending a little time in London, embarks on his journey. The purpose of this journey is to find Kurtz, a man who is also employed by the Company –which is in the ivory business, and has its greedy hand spread over Africa like a malignant tumor (Gatten). Having lost control of Kurtz, the Company choose to relieve him of his post and had, before Marlow, already employed another man –who eventually joined Kurtz– to retrieve him. With hopes of a successful recovery, of both the monster and the ivory which he guards, Marlow makes the journey down the Congo, which is never named as such, into the heart of Africa –the heart of darkness. Darkness, meaning literally, a country where the inhabitants are themselves dark. Darkness, meaning symbolically, the savage part of a man’s soul.

The readers, reaching the midpoint of the story, find Marlow encountering one delay after another. Months of delays force him to observe his environment and the mentality of the people who surround him, both foreign and domestic. Marlow realizes that Kurtz is entrenched within a society which has few rules. Of these few rules, which direct the savage African society surrounding him, Kurtz is the creator and enforcer of the majority. Unrestricted by society, human nature is left to itself in its purest form. Were the natural human instincts are left to grow and thrive on the minds of any one in the presence of the darkness. Kurtz, a far superior being mentally than the savages who surround him, suffers from a god-complex.

With this mental disorder in full effect, he is left unopposed to claim his position as a god. On his journey to find Kurtz, Marlow realizes the same principles that Kurtz had realized on his. Human nature is inherently both good and evil, light and dark the, yin and yang. It is the society’s perception of good and evil which lead to its definitions. Evil is universally accepted as being tempting; shown by the adage; Be a slave in heaven, or a ruler in hell.

This temptation is most prevalent in environments lacking rules, environments like that in which Kurtz was ensconced, or the same environment that we all encounter every day. This struggle inevitably creates unrest within the soul of the those involved. Finally reaching Kurtz’s station, after the delays and dealings with the savages and others also employed by the Company, Marlow finds his prey ,the monster, Kurtz, closely following the stereotypes of what a monster is expected to do. Kurtz was found to be participating in monstrous acts such as: having heads of rebels impaled upon sticks, as an admonition to others of his power. Without the constraints of society, Kurtz is able to seek out and fulfill his inner desires and go beyond any restraints that he may have had before.

In Kurtz, Marlow sees, the inconceivable mystery of a soul that knew no restraint, no faith, and no fear, yet struggling blindly with itself (113). T. S. Eliot said, we are continually reminded of the power and terror of Nature, and the isolation and feebleness of Man. Marlow also believes that the very wilderness speaks to Kurtz, telling him secrets; whispered to him things about himself which he did not know, things of which he had no conception till he took counsel with this great solitude –and the whisper had proved irresistibly fascinating (98).

A man’s growth is through his experiences, and both Marlow and Kurtz grow, through their respective journeys, at a meteoric rate. Kurtz, dying, struggles against the evil consuming his soul, . . .both the diabolic love and the unearthly hate of the mysteries it had penetrated fought for the possession of that soul satiated with primitive emotions. .

. (116). The war between good and evil within his soul is immense, as he struggles between what he once was, and the evil that he now is being consumed by. Kurtz, a genius at whatever he attempted, was hired by the Company to collect and deliver –out of Africa– any and all ivory found. Kurtz is also an extremist, and with these extremes he has been in many environments from which he learned and applied to the world in which he now dies in; In doing his job to the extreme, Kurtz eventually was earned a title of god by the aborigines, and the title of monster by the society in which he once lived.

As they trek through the wilderness to leave the station Marlow comments, A voice! a voice! It rang deep to the very last. It survived his strength to hide in the magnificent folds of eloquence the barren darkness of his heart. Oh he struggled! he struggled! (115). Kurtz’s greatness is as prevalent as ever as he fights the darkness consuming his soul. Marlow, watching his captured prey move closer to death, sees its face and expressions; . .

.on that ivory face the expression of somber pride, of ruthless power, of craven terror –of an intense and hopeless despair (118). All of these horrid expressions came from his understanding human nature; . . .the appalling face of a glimpsed truth. .

. (119). Marlow watches as Kurtz is dying, knowing that he can do nothing to save him, His was an impenetrable darkness. I looked at him as you would peer down at a man who is lying at the bottom of a precipice where the sun never shines (117). At some point in his self-discovery, or observing Kurtz’s, Marlow finds that he is very similar to him (eternally connecting the two) from which loyalty is born.

His loyalty to Kurtz is so profound that it takes precedence over his own morals, Even after he discovers Kurtz’s violent acts, Marlow is still drawn to him, as if he were a god,, lies for him, and even risks his life. Having none of the barriers created by society, Marlow finds that in the wilderness (in the darkness) Kurtz was not only able to see, in a deadly moment, the truth of human nature, but also demonstrate his epiphany with a single phrase: The horror! The horror! (118). In this climactic scene Kurtz passes his secret –the antagonist– onto Marlow. The most incredible part of his death was that, . . .his stare, could not see the flame of the candle, but was wide enough to penetrate all the hearts that beat in the darkness (119).

From their initial meeting Marlow refers to Kurtz’s soul as being either consumed by evil, fighting off the evil, or no longer existent; It echoed loudly within him because he was hollow at the core. . . (98). After his death, Marlow ponders the monster’s last words, whispered on a breath, knowing the truth of the words; .

. .it was a victory (120). Even after death, his loyalty to Kurtz was unyielding; I did not betray Mr. Kurtz –it was ordered that I should never betray him –it was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice (109). Of the many techniques used in this novella, archetype, symbolism, and foreshadowing are the most predominant.

The first technique, archetype, being the age old battle between good and evil, is see from beginning to end –on every page. The second and third techniques, symbolism and foreshadowing use similar descriptions of myriad objects and ideas: the river –the serpent– with its colors and actions; a mighty big river. . .resembling an immense snake uncoiled, with its head in the sea, its body at rest curving afar over a vast country, and its tail lost in the depths of the land (11). The women in black, both symbolizing and foreshadowing death; She seemed uncanny and fateful. .

.knitter of black wool (16). The blankness of the destination on the map, symbolizing and foreshadowing discovery; . . .blank spaces on the earth. . .

(11). The darkness, symbolizing the savage part of man, and foreshadowing death; . . .into the depths of darkness. .

. (29). Droll thing life is –that mysterious arrangement of merciless logic for a futile purpose. The most you can hope from it is some knowledge of yourself –that comes too late –a crop of inextinguishable regrets, (119) laments Marlow –after the death of Kurtz. Albert J.

Guerard’s thesis is that the journey was of a self-discovery into the savage part of man, the evil part inherent in all men. Destined to encounter one another, Marlow had a connection with Kurtz from the moment the name was given to him, as if he recognized a long lost family member. Marlow is tormented by both Kurtz and his abhorrent secret. He, also being a great man, keeps the torment to himself. Having fought the monster, and defied the temptation to become one, Marlow looked into the void, was the darkness, and survived.

English Essays.

Heart Of Darkness

Heart Of Darkness The contrast between Kurtz’s intended and black mistress The Heart of Darkness is a story about a man telling a tale of an adventure that he had on the Congo River. During this adventure he meets a guy named Kurtz. Kurtz was congregating with a tribe of people who worshiped him and did what ever he told them to do. Kurtz was a very special person in the way he influenced the feelings of two very different, but somewhat similar women. Among this tribe of savages was a woman that was said to have been Kurtz’s mistress.

Back home he had a woman who he was supposed to marry. Kurtz’s black mistress and intended were two very different people, from different places, who shared the same devotion towards him even though there were many obstacles in the way of their love. Kurtz’s intended was from the city and was well off with money. Kurtz’s black mistress was in a tribe of savages in Africa. She to was well off in her possessions. You could tell she was well off or important in the things she wore and the way that Marlow described the way she carried herself and the way the other members of the tribe watched what ever she did.

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In the city the intended’s family labeled Kurtz as being not good enough. Marlow says that it was because, he was not rich enough or something. (p.249) This is ironic because his black mistress’ tribe or family treats him like a god. Both women felt the same undying devotion to Kurtz. When Kurtz was being taken away by Marlow on his ship the tribe came running and hollering trying to get him back.

The woman even entered the water with her arms stretched towards the boat. Marlow blew the whistle to scare away the tribe. This worked and even made the ones closest to the shore fall down flat on their face as if they were dead. The whistle did nothing to the woman and she remained in the water with her arms out. The whistle did not scare the woman like it did the rest of the tribe because she was devoted to Kurtz and wanted to be with him. Kurtz intended shared the same devotion towards him as the black tribal woman did. Marlow went to see her, a year after the death of Kurtz, and she was still in mourning. The woman accepted Marlow into her home because he was a friend of Kurtz.

She was glad he had visited, so she would have someone to talk to about him. She talked of how she loved him and of how he needed her. They talked of when he died and she got upset. She said, And I was not with him.(p.251) She said she would have treasured everything he did and said. Marlow tells her that he was with him till the end and that he heard his last words.

She wanted to know what they were and said, Repeat themI want-I want-something-something-to-to live with.(p.251) She says this so Marlow will tell her his last words. He tells her that his last words were her name. This makes her feel good and at the same time makes her weep in her hands. Kurtz played an important role in the lives of both women and had a tremendous impact on the way they loved him. Both women were very different and at the same time very similar in the way they loved Kurtz. Both went through very tramadic experiences to show their undying love for him.

Heart Of Darkness

By: Jeff M
I had read this story once before when I was a freshman at a branch campus of Penn State called Behrend. I read it for a literature class dealing with short stories and their analyzation. I didn’t really like the story back then, and it really hasn’t moved-up any spots on my list of favorites. Although I really didn’t care for the story, I did notice quite a bit of symbolism throughout the book. Conrad seemed to use black and white as his main source of color symbolism. Just as in the old westerns, white is good and black is bad. One instance in which you could see this is the many times that Conrad speaks of the white souls of the black people and the black souls of the white people that exploit them. The old ladies in the Belgian office sat there and knitted black wool, symbolizing the dark fate and tragedy that were to follow. You can find many, many other examples of the usage of black and white to symbolize feelings and emotions, as well as a few other colors. There are also some objects that Conrad uses to create a symbolism. Take, for example, the stick of wax that the manager breaks while he is talking about Kurtz. I don’t know, but if you ask me the manager wishes that the wax actually was Kurtz. I think that the oil painting that was done by Kurtz shows that he was completely aware of what was going on and what he was getting himself into. I also noticed that grass was mentioned a lot in the story. I remember from my class at Behrend that the professor mentioned that Conrad liked to include a lot of references to Biblical scripture in his works. I can’t remember what it was supposed to mean, but I think that the grass has something to do with the Bible. Well, even though this wasn’t the greatest book that I have ever read, there were a lot of interesting things that it gave me to think about. The question was posed in class on Tuesday…What kind of leader would you be if you could make all of the rules?? You know, the longer that I sit here and think about that question the more that I think I would be horrible. To have the power to make all of the rules that you want…to do ANYTHING that you wanted to do, whenever, wherever and to whomever you wanted is just so unbelievably huge. Absolute control. I think that I would probably go around making up all kinds of laws that I always thought made sense. The kinds of laws that other people thought were pretty stupid. I’m pretty sure that I would end up having some people executed (i.e.-ALL of the people that are on death row spending up all of our tax dollars to keep their asses alive). I can only think of a couple of people that would pay dearly due to the fact that my laws would apply to crimes’ that took place as far back as I saw fit. This would only include a couple of people that I have been acquainted with in the past. Obviously, complete power is a very scary thing. I think that, given the opportunity, a large portion of the citizens of the world would abuse the power given to them. I think that people would just get so caught up in the immenseness of their power, they would just end up losing control and doing things that they normally wouldn’t even think of doing. Deep down, we’re all capable of some pretty evil things.
Word Count: 614

Heart Of Darkness

Heart Of Darkness Good and Evil: Fight to the Finish William’s Lord of the Flies, (1954) an Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, (1902) there are affective comparisons and contrasts between the protagonist and the antagonist. Even though the protagonist and the antagonist have the same intentions, they have different motives. In Heart of Darkness, Marlow wants to save Kurtz, but the manager doesn’t want Marlow to bring back Kurtz, because the manager is afraid that if Marlow brings back Kurtz than he’ll have to quit his job and give it to Kurtz. In Lord of the Flies, Jack wants to take over the leadership and Ralph, on the other hand, wants to be a leader himself. Ralph wants to be the leader so that he could make some kind of plan to get off the island, but Jack wants to be a leader so he can be the ruler and hunt, so that he has meat for himself. (9, 137) The protagonist wants victory over the antagonist and the antagonist wants to de-feat the protagonist.

Where as the e antagonist has an evil purpose and the protagonist had a good purpose. A similar concept between the protagonist and the antagonist is that both of them are brave enough to dare to go against each other. They don’t hide from each other, but they both of out and confront each other. In Heart of Darkness, Marlow knew that the manager didn’t want Kurtz back, but he was brave enough to try bringing Kurtz back. the manger knew Marlow was just like Kurtz.

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That he will not give up so easy. The manager did everything in his power to stop Marlow. Even if they think their opponent is stronger, they don’t back away from the fear of facing them. In Lord of the Flies, Piggy knows that Jack and his tribe is stronger than him, but still he goes over to the tribe and speaks his mind out about how they were wrong. (156) when a person makes up their mind to confront their opponent, nothing can stop them. Another comparable characteristic between the protagonist and the antagonist is that both of them seek revenge.

One or the other have rage of revenge in their minds. In Lords of the Flies Jack is jealous of Ralph, because he was chosen for leadership. Jack wanted revenge and he started his tribe and becomes the chief of the hunters. He turns himself and his group into savages. (141) In Heart of Darkness, Kurtz was going to be the manager didn’t want to let go of his job.

So when Kurtz was sick and needed medication. the old manager never sent Kurtz anything. He was seeking revenge because he thought the officials of the trade company were going to hire Kurtz. Revenge is one of the things which one can’t resist, but at the same time the results are often bad. In Heart of Darkness and in Lord of the Flies both of the heroes, Marlow and Ralph, have a someone or something to rely on.

This gave them strength and it is what motivated them to do the acts of bravery and both of them depend on it for their survival. Ralph has a conch, which symbolizes his leadership. When it is crushed, everything starts to fall apart. Jack and his tribe start to take over. (164) Marlow had to save Kurtz that was his mission and that’s what kept him going After Kurtz death Marlow left the ivory trade.

After Marlow left the manager was in charge. The primary distinction between a protagonist and the adversely is that a protagonist always tries to do the right thing and follows the path of integrity and the adversary always tries to come in the way and create problems. Ralph and Piggy want to keep the fire going so that they can be rescue, but Jack and his followers want to cook the meat and they don’t care if the fire is gone. (133-135) this citing shows how differently the mentality of the two rivals work. Ralph is in touch with reality, he wants to keep the fire going, but Jack stands in the way preventing him from what he wants to accomplish.

In Heart of Darkness when Marlow’s steamer breaks down and he asks the manager to get riverts to fix the steamer. the manager keeps on making excuses. Another difference between the protagonist and the antagonist is that the protagonist is kind and tender, whereas the antagonist is cruel and evil. Ralph take care of the littluns and tries to keep them safe. (118-119) Jack and his tribe turned into savages and killing people. They did their dance of death to kill Simon mercilessly, who was innocent.(139)Simon’s/Beast’s death symbolizes the fierceness of Jack’s tribe.

No matter what the manager told Marlow about Kurtz being a thief , Marlow didn’t give up on Kurtz he had faith and trusted Kurtz better than the manager. Manager didn’t care about anyone but himself. In conclusion, the antagonist is an obstacle for the protagonist and the protagonist is supposed to overcome the obstacle. The protagonist most often pulls through one way or another. In Heart of Darkness Marlow escapes the manager, the ivory trade, and defeats all his adversaries and in Lord of the Flies, Ralph escapes from Jack and his tribe.

Both protagonist and antagonist have similar motifs. But also are different because of many things such as being evil or good and being able to of the right thing or not. Environmental Issues.

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