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INTRODUCTION <ul><li>Heart of darkness, a novella by Joseph Conrad was published in 1902. It also appeared as three part series in Blackwood’s magazine. It is a significant work of English literature. Before writing this book Conrad had gone to serve as the Captain of a Congo streamer. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The theme of Darkness lurking beneath the surface of even “civilized” persons appears prominently that is explored in the character of Kurtz and through Marlow’s passing sense of understanding with the Africans. </li></ul>MAIN THEME
<ul><li>Themes developed in the novella are various forms of darkness in the Congo; the British traders and colonialist’s abuse of natives and man’s potential of duplicity. There is a struggle between good and evil, light and darkness in every (major) character’s soul. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The journey in the Heart of Darkness not only transverse the capricious waters spanning our physical worlds but also the paradoxical ocean which exists in the heart of Everyman. It is a tale of man’s realization of his dark and evil side. Marlow, the second narrator of the framed narrative, embarked upon a spiritual adventure on which he witnessed the wicked potential in Everyone. </li></ul>
The atmosphere in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness <ul><li>Joseph Conrad uses mood and atmosphere a portrait called, the journey to the inner self to find one’s own self the setting ‘’took in the forest, the creek, the mud, the river-seemed to beckon with a dishonoring flourish before the sunlit face of land a treacherous appeal to lurking death, to the hidden evil, to the profound darkness of its heart’’. Conrad did not even mention their exact location which is very peculiar. </li></ul>
Spiritual voyage of self discovery <ul><li>The central emphasis of Heart of Darkness concerns Marlow and his journey toward and through certain facets and potentialities of self. He reiterates often enough that he is recounting a spiritual voyage of self discovery. He didn’t know himself before setting out, and that he likes work for the chance of it provides to ‘find yourself . . . what no other man can ever know’. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Marlow’s temptation is made concrete through his exposure to Kurtz, a white man and sometime idealist who had fully responded to the wilderness: a potential and fallen self. ‘I had turned to the wilderness really, not to Mr. Kurtz’. At the climax Marlow follows Kurtz ashore, confounds the beat of the drum with the beating of his heart, goes through the ordeal of looking into Kurtz’s ‘mad soul’, and brings him back to the ship. He returns to Europe a changed and more knowing man. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The river Congo is described in the form of a snake. </li></ul><ul><li>All the twists and turns are required to find </li></ul><ul><li>any one’s inner self. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Imagery is very insightful as there is a lot of animal and hell imagery that branches together to form the main theme of the novel, the journey of finding one’s self; the soul. </li></ul><ul><li>Except Kurtz and Marlow every character is of general names, perhaps it is the lost identity. </li></ul>
<ul><li>In the long process of the journey into one’s self, where not everything appears to be what it seems Kurtz is a great example when he changes from “a great musician” to “a corrupt” by being swept up and digested by the darkness. It is a dangerous and frightening journey; the journey within. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Marlow’s journey to find his soul is filled with danger and a foul smell, the stench of mot knowing the area, the people or himself. The unknown is “the lurking death, to the hidden evil, to the profound darkness of its heart” this experiences are significant but no one really knows where they are. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The voyage is indeed an inward one. One must face their unknown side to find themselves and their soul. “Kurtz” who embarks on a harrowing night journey into the savage heart of Africa, only finds his dark and evil soul”. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>Heart of Darkness is a story of insecure and morally isolated men who meet and commit themselves to even more isolated i.e. Marlow’s conversation with Kurtz at the edge of jungle. On the level of psychological symbolism, communication is with a deepest self; a symbolic decent into the unconscious result in immobilization and is followed by partial or full release. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Certain degree of darkness is within every person. Marlow defeats his evil and gains self knowledge while Kurtz is defeated by his darkness and falls prey to its wrath. </li></ul>