An Analysis of Heart of Darkness

Conrad\'s novel, Heart of Darkness, relies on the historical period of imperialism in order to describe its protagonist, Charlie Marlow, and his struggle. Marlow\'s catharsis in the novel, as he goes to the Congo, rests on how he visualises the effects of imperialism. Marlow\'s "change," as caused by his exposure to the imperialistic nature of the historical period in which he lived is one of the main concerns of our study.Because, Joseph Conrad develops themes of personal power, individual responsibility, and social justice in Heart of Darkness to reveal the evil produced by man who is seen as the product of society. Marlow is asked by "the company", the organisation for whom he works, to travel to the Congo river and report back to them about Mr. Kurtz, a top notch officer of theirs. When he sets sail, he doesn\'t know what to expect. When his journey is completed, this little "trip" will have changed Marlow forever! For Colleen Burke, ?Like a knight of the Round Table, Marlow sets off in search of strange adventures. He only gradually acquires a grail, as he picks up more and more hints about Kurtz. Like a knight he is frequently tested by signs he must confront, question and interpret. Among these signs we can count the title of the novel, the contrasts made by the narrator throughout the story, the jungle, the ivory trade, the shadows of the jungle, pilgrims, Kurtz, the painting of Kurtz and the last words of Kurtz, and the lies of Marlow when he returns home. On the other hand, since for us all these signs were applied by Conrad for one thing; that is to uncover the evil side hidden in man by plunging deep into the darkness of his heart with great courage in order to find what was laying there and to take it out to the daylight. That is why, Heart of Darkness is a story of one man\'s journey through the African Congo and the "enlightenment" of his soul. It begins with Charlie Marlow, along with a few of his comrades, cruising aboard the Nellie, a traditional sailboat. On the boat, Marlow begins to tell of his experiences in the Congo. Heart of Darkness is set in the Congo. However, it is not really set in the Congo. Rather, it is a story that we infer takes place in the Congo, narrated by Marlow from a barge on the Thames. We infer that it is in Africa because we know that Conrad was there, and because of the images he uses. Heart Of Darkness is based on Conrad\'s own experience as the captain of a West African river steamer in 1890. Conrad reveals the story of Marlow, the protagonist, who travels up the Congo in search of Kurtz, an ivory trader. Marlow\'s voyage from the coast takes him past signs of Europe exploitation of the natives toward the "heart of darkness," Where Kurtz, once an idealistic young man, is now the leader of what Marlow calls "unspeakable rites." Conrad\'s story hints at horrors that Marlow is unable to describe, leaving the reader to imagine actions that lie outside civilized human behavior. The reality of Heart of Darkness is that the entire time, we never leave the Thames. During the time when Conrad wrote Heart of Darkness, and even before that, during the imaginary time when Marlow went to the Congo, the British colonial empire was at its height. Britain was the preeminent world power during the second half of the nineteenth century. She had colonies around the world, including India, Malaya, Hong Kong, and much of Africa. Britain controlled the Suez Canal, the east coast of Africa, and the route to the source of the Nile. The images from the Thames in Heart of Darkness lend support to the argument that this is, at a basic level, a novel about imperialism. At the beginning of the novel, Conrad connects the Thames to the Congo. The Thames is "a waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth." It is connected to the Congo like "an interminable waterway." It is connected both symbolically and actually. It is connected physically as all rivers are connected to each other. It is also connected by shared