Heart of Darkness

An Inward Journey

The journey in Heart of Darkness traverses not only the capricious waters spanning our physical world, but also the paradoxical ocean which exists in the heart of man and all of mankind. Through Marlow's somewhat fanatical eyes we view the enigma that is humanity, and the blurred line between light and dark. It is a voyage into the deepest recesses of the human heart and mind, leading to epiphany, enlightenment, and finally spiraling downwards into the crevices of a hell existing within each and every one of us. Although through Marlow Conrad depicts a journey into the Congo, his use of symbolism and wordplay divulge that it is something much more profound.

The Heart of Darkness as an entirety is one immense metaphor, whose numerous annexes can be either convoluted or self-evident. Almost every action, object, and character in Conrad's book has a deeper, more relevant meaning behind it, serving to bring the reader ever closer to the conclusion that the voyage is indeed an inward one. The first major indication of this is the posture of Marlow as he recounts his journey into the Congo. According to the narrator, "he had the pose of a Buddha preaching in European clothes and without a lotus-flower." This lotus...

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