Books and Movies Reviews

Heart of Darkness

The Heart of Darkness is an example of the kinds of dilemmas that met the European trading companies as they set out into the uncharted lands of Africa.The main character Marlow is new to his company and when he arrives in Africa he is immediately presented with the atrocities and geographic obstacles that set the tone for the darkness he is entering.While Marlow is repulsed by the treatment of the natives he does not condemn his counterparts for their abusive tactics.Like them he had been told the continent of Africa was a raw, untamed place with a people who have no moral standard to live by.It was to be the understood goal of the companies then to bring civilization and "morality" to the natives of Africa.Kurtz, the man that ends up being the true destination of Marlow's journey up the river into the heart of Africa, comes to represent the inner evil that Conrad believes exists in every man.It is in fact the journey into the wild and uncivilized place that brings out the evil in Kurtz and other men in the company.There is an opportunity to play god to the natives and Kurtz cannot resist.
The opinions most Europeans had of Africa and its inhabitants is clearly stated in Harlow in Carter, particularly in the passage by G.W.F. Hegel entitled Africa.In one section Hegel said, "The Negro… exhibits the natural man in his completely wild and untamed state.We must lay aside all thought of reverence and morality – all that we call feeling – if we would rightly comprehend him."He went on to say, "There is nothing harmonious with humanity to be found in this type of character."So the employees of the trading companies entered Africa with the idea that they would be dealing more of an animal than a human when they met the natives.The characters in the book certainly perpetuate that idea in their treatment of Africans.Marlow refers to them as animals, sometimes sarcast…


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