Heart Of Darkness Essay

578 WordsApr 25, 20123 Pages
Heart of Darkness Essay There are many interpretations as to what the true “heart of darkness” is in the novella Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Throughout the book, one wonders whether Conrad is a social critic scrutinizing western civilization or just a pessimist condemning mankind. The darkness can be seen as a symbol for man’s internal darkness. Throughout the book, darkness seems to operate allegorically rather than specifically. Darkness can be seen throughout the book as both a physical presence and a metaphor for the implications of Imperialism. Conrad uses the imagery of darkness to establish a harsh criticism of what is considered a civilized society. The opening paragraphs of the book create a dark, looming image of London, the epicenter of society and civilization. “A haze rested on the low shores that ran out to sea in vanishing flatness. The air was dark above Gravesend, and farther back still seemed condensed into mournful gloom, brooding motionless over the biggest, and the greatest, town on earth” (Conrad 36). The dark imagery paired with the implications of the “light” begins the extended metaphor, which continues through the majority of the book, between civilization and society. The Heart of Darkness can be seen physically as Kurtz’ station. As Marlow sails along the river, the jungle is described as extremely dark and foreboding, and the ship is heading directly into the “heart of darkness” (Conrad 86). Conrad constantly uses imagery of darkness do describe the island and the things and people on the island. Kurtz dies, he is in the woods, sitting in the dark, as Marlow comes across him there, Marlow blew out the candle that he had brought. The darkness shows the time ending on a dark man. The heart of darkness in this case shows the physical representation of darkness and the true evil in society. In Kurtz’ last words, “The horror!

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