Literary Analysis Essay on Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Paper Type:  Literature review
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1683 Words
Date:  2022-05-23


The Novel Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad is fascinating and quite informative telling us the role that is played by a group of individuals to try and curb slave trade in Africa. The Novel began at dusk with Marlow and a few other gentlemen on board Nellie, a pleasure ship. The ship lied secured at the banks of the Thames, sitting tight for the tide terminate. Five men unwind on the deck of the ship: the Director of Companies, who is additionally the chief and host, the Accountant, the Lawyer, the anonymous Narrator, and Marlow. The five men apparently were old companions and were specifically held together by the obligation of the ocean. The men were eager yet reflective, as though sitting tight to something to happen. As murkiness falls, and the scene turns out to be less splendid. However, more significant is the fact that the men review the considerable men and boats that have put forward from the Thames on voyages of exchange and investigation, every now and again never to return. All of a sudden, a sad comment if made by Marlow about the spot they were. According to him, the spot was one of the dull spots of the earth. He further expound that when the Romans initially came to England, it was an incredible, savage wild to them. He envisions what it probably been similar to for a youthful Roman skipper or trooper to go to a place so distant from home and ailing in solaces. This is a clear indication that the various settings that the characters find themselves in this book are monumental and key in the development of the entire story. While at the show in Europe, the setting is friendly and is compared to heaven. The situation is Europe is friendly with immense hope of the success of the mission to Africa. However, Marlow's line of reasoning leads to the reflection of his sole involvement as a new water mariner. As a young fellow, he captained a steamship going up the Congo River. He describes that he initially got the thought when, subsequent to coming back from a six-year voyage through Asia, he went over a guide of Africa in a London shop window, which revitalized his youth dreams about the clear spaces on the guide. Marlow described how he acquired an occupation with the Belgian Organization that exchanged on the Congo River which was now a Belgian domain. According to Marlow, the Company was anxious to send him to Africa, since one of the Company's steamer chiefs had been murdered in a fight with the locals. Clearly, it was a difficult job as it exposed one to attacks that could lead to death. Considering the different stories in different settings, it can be clinched that the settings in Europe, the middle station and the inner station represent a biblical heaven, purgatory and hell respectively.

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Europe: A Biblical Heaven

While still in Europe, the team is anxious about the mission and is hopeful of achieving their goals. The mission looks very simple while they are still in Europe. This symbolizes Europe as biblical heaven in the entire story. While in Europe, it is very easy for Marlow to get information in that he compares both the exterior and the interior swarm Heart of Darkness. As the storyteller states toward the start of the content, Marlow is more intrigued by surfaces, in the encompassing quality of a thing as opposed to in any concealed chunk of significance profound inside the thing itself. "The word 'ivory' rang in the air, was whispered, was sighed. You would think they were praying to it" (Conrad, 2010). This upsets the standard order of importance: regularly one looks for the profound message or shrouded truth. The need put on perception shows that entering to the inside of a thought or a man is inconceivable in this world. In this way, Marlow is stood up with a progression of surfaces and outsides among them the waterway's banks, the woodland dividers around the station, Kurtz's expansive temple - which he should decipher. "A taint of imbecile rapacity blew through it all, like a whiff from some corpse. By Jove! I've never seen anything so unreal in my life" (Conrad, 2010). These outsides are all the material he is given and they furnish him with maybe a more significant wellspring of learning than any dishonestly developed inside part. "And outside, the silent wilderness surrounding this cleared speck on the earth struck me as something great and invincible, like evil or truth, waiting patiently for the passing away of this fantastic invasion" (Conrad, 2010). While at Europe, Marlow believed that the mission would be simple and easy to embark on. However, as they continue to advance towards Africa, reality hits Marlow. Clearly, in the mind of Marlow, Europe present simplistic ideas making him believe that the mission would be easy until he started advancing into the interiors. In totality, the setting in Europe symbolized the biblical heaven.

The Middle Station: A Purgatory

The middle station was worse than the setting in Europe but better than the interior thus termed as a purgatory. At this particular space, things started getting tough but Marlow still was hopeful of his survival throughout the mission. Marlow picks up a lot of helpful information by viewing his general surroundings and by catching others' discussions, as when he tunes in from the deck of the destroyed steamer to the chief of the Central Station and his uncle talking about Kurtz and the Russian merchant. This marvel addresses the difficulty of direct correspondence between people: crucial information must come as the aftereffect of chance perception and shrewd translation. Words themselves neglect to catch meaning enough, and along these lines they should be taken with regards to their articulation. Another great case of this is Marlow's discussion with the brick maker, amid which Marlow can make sense of significantly more than basically what the man needs to state. The middle station setting symbolizes the Hypocrisy of Imperialism whereby Africans are treated as less equal. The Belgian Company tortures Africans and treats them as slave. They however justify what they do as trade and the overall torture of Africans as a civilization process. On the other hand, Kurt is straight on his ivory business as he says he takes the ivory from Africans by force through suppression. "Long afterwards the news came that all the donkeys were dead. I know nothing as to the fate of the less valuable animals" (Conrad, 2010). When information reach Marlow about the death of the Animals, he consider them as worthless thus do not inquire. "They howled and leaped, and spun, and made horrid faces; but what thrilled you was just the thought of their humanity-like yours-the thought of your remote kinship with this wild and passionate uproar" (Conrad, 2010). As Marlow and the team traversed the African continent, he could hear the beats of drums, songs, chants and ululations and could not help himself but think if Africans were also humans. " Ugly. Yes, it was ugly enough; but if you were man enough you would admit to yourself that there was in you just the faintest trace of a response to the terrible frankness of that noise, a dim suspicion of there being a meaning in it which you-you so remote from the night of first ages-could comprehend" (Conrad, 2010). The treatment that Africans are subjected to by Kurt as well as the Belgian company is quite disturbing that Marlow finds himself questioning his conscious. However, he remains strong and convinces himself that Africans are primate and of no equality to his potential. Therefore, while at the middle station, the setting clearly shows how lives of Africans and animals are taken with less care. The level of cruelty is high that it can only be compared to purgatory.

The Inner Station: A Hell

Lastly, the inner station has a completely adverse setting with inhuman acts hence the reason as to why it is compare to hell. At this setting, high level evil is witnessed. At this setting, Marlow and his team as well as Kurt showcase high levels of affectation, vagueness, and good perplexity. "The brown current ran swiftly out of the heart of darkness, bearing us down towards the sea with twice the speed of our upward progress; and Kurtz's life was running swiftly, too, ebbing, ebbing out of his heart into the sea of inexorable time. . . . I saw the time approaching when I would be left alone of the party of 'unsound method" (Conrad, 2010). It detonates the possibility of the famous decision between the lesser of two indecencies. As the optimistic Marlow is compelled to adjust himself to either the double-dealing and pernicious pioneer administration or the straightforwardly malicious, lead challenging Kurtz, it turns out to be progressively certain that to endeavor to judge either elective is a demonstration of imprudence. "I was within a hair's-breadth of the last opportunity for pronouncement, and I found with humiliation that probably I would have nothing to say" (Conrad, 2010). Marlow feels that he cannot save the situation as the world had already gone mad and immorality was the order of the day. Therefore, he maintained that Africans were inferior people who had to be subjected to suffering to see civilization. At the Outer Station, he watches local workers shoot away at a slope considering no specific objective. "This is the reason why I affirm that Kurtz was a remarkable man. He had something to say. He said it. . . . He had summed up-he had judged. 'The horror!' He was a remarkable man" (Conrad, 2010). That the genuine and the ordinary are dealt with likewise recommends significant good disarray and a huge deception: it is unnerving that Kurtz's destructive vanity and a flawed pail incite basically a similar response from Marlow.


In retrospect, the novel Heart of Darkness portrays how settings in Europe, middle station and inner station represented biblical heaven, purgatory and hell respectively. Middle and inner stations located in Africa were full of evil with people's hearts filled with darkness.

Works Cited

Conrad, J. (2010). Heart of Darkness and The Secret Sharer. Boston:

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