Heart of Darkness1

Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness is a novel of indescribable horrors and actions that lie outside the human mind. It describes a man’s (Marlowe) voyage on a West African river to find an individual, Kurtz. The actual journey truly is towards the “heart of darkness”, where it takes Marlowe by evidence of European indignity towards the natives. Marlowe wants to see this land for himself, he does not quite believe in himself of what is indeed there. This story hints at horrors that Marlowe is incapable of describing, which in turn leaves the reader to imagine
actions that are outside of normal, everyday life.
The voyage that Marlowe has taken has been long and exhausting. It’s an adventure for him; he has experienced a great deal of confrontation with the natives, jungle dangers, and brutal
savagery. There is no interest of the humans who lie here, for they are extremely mistreated.
Yet to them, this is “normal human behavior”; nothing has been done differently.

Nowhere did we stop long enough to get a particularized impression, but the general sense
of vague and oppressive wonder grew upon me. It was like a weary pilgrimage amongst
hints for nightmares. (pg. 79)
This describes Marlowe’s voyage to the “heart of darkness”, the literal heart of darkness, Africa,
so to speak. He was fully warned against, and well-aware of the evil he would encounter;
however, he chose to ignore that aspect in efforts to satisfy his curiosity. Here, the author is also
saying something about human nature in general. Human curiosity about an unknown place can
make one cross the line of civilized human behavior and enter a world of "nightmares".
Marlowe wanted to see it all for himself; but what made it most fascinating was this land
was something he had never experienced before. He knew he would be a "weary pilgrimage
amongst hints for nightmares", but he wanted to prove something to himself that could remain
doubtable if not seen. There is a persistence and passion by virtue of the human instinct that
pushes people to try to grasp the unknown and placate their most deepest desires and questions.
To actually see and experience the unknown are the only true ways one will believe.
Moreover, this adventure novel can mean a whole different thing. The “heart of
darkness” can be a symbolic journey into the dark center of the heart and soul of a human,
revealing the concealed evil of one‘s own nature and his capacity for evil. It is a psychological
exploration of the inner self; it reflects the unconscious self of a human. Ironically, the truth is
exposed not in terms of light, but in terms of darkness. As a result, Marlowe doesn’t get pulled
into this “heart of darkness” for he has the power within; he experiences awareness of his own
self obligations and learns many things as a result of this journey. Marlowe learns of his evil
capacity. Yet Kurtz falls into the exceedingly large chasm that has grown on the account his
“heart of darkness”.
The Heart of Darkness discusses the fundamental inquisitions of human nature: man’s
capacity for evil, the effect of darkness and human isolation, and the essentiality to find ones’
own salvation. It allows the reader to ponder their own heart of darkness. The story indicates
horrors that Marlowe is unable to describe, leaving the reader to imagine actions that lie outside
civilized human behavior.