Heart of Darkness5



[Every man, or woman has buried within themself a dark side, savage side. When a man is taken out of society, and left to create his own norms, he rediscovers those primordial instincts which have laid dormant since the the beginning of existence. Survival of the fittest, physically and intellectually, is the foundation of these instincts. Persons who dominate one or many through mental or physical prowess develop a sense of superiority. This feeling, if fostered by the environment, and intensified to the extreme, produces a sense of having god-like powers. A man believing himself to be a or the God is seen, by the society from which, as a monster. Since monsters can not be allowed to roam the civilized world, someone must be sent to destroy it. To find the monster, the person selected must take the same path as the monster. This path is a journey into one\'s own mind, soul, or true-self. The person on this path will never see evil so clear and defined as in the face looking back at him. In taking this path, the person runs the risk of becoming the very thing he is trying to destroy.] In Joseph Conrad\'s story "Heart of Darkness", the protagonist represents the person selected to seek out and destroy the monster. Conrad uses many techniques to bring the reader into the darkness: archetype, symbolism, and foreshadowing. The theme of this classic tale is made through the words of the western philosopher Nietzsche; "when fighting monsters the person fighting should be careful not to become one, and when looking into a void the person must be aware that the void also looks into him".
The readers are first introduced to the protagonist, Marlow, as he is being commissioned --by the "Company"-- to hunt down the monster, Kurtz, Marlow, a boat captain, almost nomadic in his need to travel, is also a man of simple morals, simple to the point of religion, the most prevalent commandment seen in his character is "thou shall not lie." Marlow, after spending a little time in London, embarks on his journey. The purpose of this journey is to find Kurtz, a man who is also employed by the "Company" --which is in the ivory business, and has its "greedy hand spread over Africa like a malignant tumor" (Gatten). Having lost control of Kurtz, the "Company" choose to relieve him of his post and had, before Marlow, already employed another man --who eventually joined Kurtz-- to retrieve him. With hopes of a successful recovery, of both the monster and the ivory which he guards, Marlow makes the journey down the Congo, which is never named as such, into the heart of Africa --the heart of darkness. Darkness, meaning literally, a country where the inhabitants are themselves dark. Darkness, meaning symbolically, the savage part of a man\'s soul.
The readers, reaching the midpoint of the story, find Marlow encountering one delay after another. Months of delays force him to observe his environment and the mentality of the people who surround him, both foreign and domestic. Marlow realizes that Kurtz is entrenched within a society which has few rules. Of these few rules, which direct the savage African society surrounding him, Kurtz is the creator and enforcer of the majority. Unrestricted by society, human nature is left to itself in its purest form. Were the natural human instincts are left to grow and thrive on the minds of any one in the presence of the darkness. Kurtz, a far superior being mentally than the savages who surround him, suffers from a god-complex. With this mental disorder in full effect, he is left unopposed to claim his position as a god. On his journey to find Kurtz, Marlow realizes the same principles that Kurtz had realized on his. Human nature is inherently both good and evil, light and dark the, yin and yang. It is the society\'s perception of good and evil which lead to its definitions. Evil is universally accepted as being tempting; shown by the adage; "Be a slave in heaven, or a ruler in hell." This temptation is most prevalent in environments lacking rules, environments like that in which Kurtz was ensconced, or the same environment that we all encounter every day. This struggle