The Heart Of Darkness By Joseph Conrad

1022 words - 5 pages

The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad’s masterpiece, The Heart of Darkness, speaks of many
characters with many different characteristics and personalities. It
contains characters from all standings of society. In every case,
except for Marlow and Kurtz, the characters are referred to by their
position. Albeit the name of Fresleven, the man who commanded the
steam boat on the Congo before Marlow, is mentioned, he is dead. The
only characters that are called by name after that point are Marlow
and Kurtz. These characters are set apart from the others in the
novella. They are the two main characters of the story, however, there
is ...view middle of the document...

The two named characters, Marlow and Kurtz,
go about things differently. Kurtz shows this in his writing. This man
has a different view on the natives, which varies much from that of
the pilgrims. The idea of exterminating the natives is what Kurtz sees
as the best situation. Although it is a horrible and evil thought, he
shows it openly at the end of his reports when he writes, “Exterminate
the Brutes.” Marlow also reveals himself to other people in the story.
Simply by telling his story to the four other men in the Thames River,
he is revealing deep thoughts and personal experiences. The two men
are not afraid to openly show themselves.

Although the Europeans possess great knowledge of the world, they are
blinded to the truth in this story. They do not see the folly and the
truth that is around them. The women of the story serve as an example
of this. Material possessions and the simplicity of their lives are
the extent of what they see. If ivory is coming to them, they think
that everything is going well. They do not realize what is behind
getting the ivory. This is shown when Marlow and his aunt are speaking
of the people of Africa. His aunt speaks of how the Europeans were
“weaning those ignorant millions from their horrid ways.” Marlow, who
is not living the same lie as her and says to the reader, “It’s queer
how out of touch with truth women are.” This can be taken as a sexist
remark, however, the comment holds truth behind it. Women of that time
did not go out into the savagery of the jungle. They simply enjoyed
what came out of the killing and suffering of others. Such people
could never be exposed to the truth because it would destroy their
world. Being blind to the truth is, perhaps, better for them in the

Enlightenment is something seldom obtained in our world. Only those
who search for it and see the truth can ever be enlightened. Except
for Marlow...

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