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Good Versus Evil In Heart Of Darkness English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1079 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Heart of Darkness is a story about one man’s frightening journey to Africa. On a British boat called the Nellie, there were three men who listened to Marlow narrate his journey to Africa as a representative for the Company, which was an ivory trading industry. During his journey, he witnesses cruelty and hate between the native African community and colonizers, become intertwined in a power struggle inside the Company, and lastly learn the truth regarding the mysterious Kurtz, who was a mad agent who turned out to be both a prisoner and a god of the native Africans. Marlow rescued Kurtz from the local African people, and after that he watched in dismay as Kurtz succumbs to insanity, disease, and at last death. Marlow’s verdict to support Kurtz in his company makes the audience doubt his moral integrity.

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Can the characters in the book differentiate between good and evil? In the Heart of Darkness the Theme of Good vs. Evil is clearly brought out. A large part of Heart of Darkness is about Marlow’s struggle to keep his sense of morals as power scheme rage everywhere around him furthermore the inexplicable figure of Kurtz attracts his curiosity [1] . Marlow’s yearning to do good grow more and more futile as he is forced into a world which has no goodness the only option he had was to choose between collections of nightmares. In the end, we find that all the characters become unable to differentiate between good and evil. Conrad demonstrates this moral vagueness with light and darkness descriptions that often blends mutually, yet is instilled with an overall unavoidably sinister shade.

From the beginning what does civilization signify? In the Heart of Darkness there is a connection between Man and the Natural World. Civilization and Nature rather positively symbolize the dichotomy of the cultured Europeans and primitive non-Europeans. Civilization comes to denote the supposed refinement and enlightenment of the Western humanity. The British imperialists’ sense their inspiration of black savagery are established when the native Africans assail the pilgrims and expose their cannibalism. Consequently the white Europeans aspire to tame these native Africans with civilization; however the idea becomes difficult when noble altruism symbolizes a protection for blind imperialism. The audience quickly recognizes the white men who referred to their actions as altruistic, as hypocrites [2] .

In the Heart of Darkness there is Racism. The split of the races into white and black adds complication to Conrad’s thesis of light versus darkness as well as good versus evil. The conservative use of black as evil and white as good is clearly challenged when we look at it in the course of the lens of race, mainly when we observe white men cruelly subjugating moreover making black Africans to hard labor just for profit. The Europeans defended their oppression of the Africans that they were spreading civilization.

Most of Marlow’s troops have ambitions of being promoted in the corporate ranking of the Company. Voracious greed for power and wealth defines their personality. This greed rapidly demolishes any logic of morality they could hold and we locate a handful of them trying to get in Marlow’s excellent graces for his aunt’s manipulations. Kurtz’s aspirations do not stop at just being promoted in the Company; he wishes to prove himself better to all native Africans. Even Marlow is absorbed; he tries fanatically to get so close to Kurtz both emotionally and physically. Marlow is very much attracted to power the same as his corrupt contemporaries.

What is Marlow’s view of women’s place in society? As for women and femininity in the heart of darkness, Marlow has a very precise and sexist stance towards women. The women only play minor roles inside the novel and repeatedly live vicariously through their male partners. They are hardly ever given voices of their own furthermore are more regularly seen than heard. There are however few exceptions that is Marlow’s aunt as well as the Intended frequently confirm Marlow’s supposition that women are idealistic and naïve. He believes that they blind themselves to facts turn out to be Marlow’s only belief; nevertheless he seeks to maintain them in their idealized and beautiful world [3] .

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Marlow’s trip towards the interior Africa and towards Kurtz appears to be predictable, as if Marlow is brought closer to the heart of darkness by his personal morbid curiosity as well as by his childhood force to explore. In reality, the two women weaving in Brussels symbolizes the Fates of primordial Greek mythology. Through their appearance, Marlow begins to sense as if his trip is ill starred yet he decides to carry on. The relationship between free will and fate informs the act of the plot, questioning whether Marlow could have done away with his descent into insanity, his corruption, as well as his subsequent disclosures as to human nature.

What attracts Marlow’s curiosity regarding Africa? There is so much exploration in the novel. Curiosity is Marlow’s significant characteristic. Marlow has a desire to explore moreover fill in the vacant spaces on maps that foremost brings him in the interior. Subsequently, his interest is aggravated by multiple mentions as well as rumors regarding Kurtz. It motivates Marlow to disobey some of his moral limits to gratify his curiosity [4] . His contemplation and discoveries about Kurtz oblige him to explore his personal sense of right and wrong, furthermore expand his lenience for evil. The author brings readers all along for the traverse when he starts searching the nature of good and evil by unbelieving his crew’s entertaining ideas and decency of Kurtz’s integrity. The novel ends with Marlow’s mortified visit to Kurtz’s fiancée to give her Kurtz’s personal letters.


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