Heart of Darkness

"The Dark Horror: Dark Imagery in Heart of Darkness"

In Joseph Conrad's The Heart of Darkness, Mr. Kurtz's chilling final words reveal his epiphany about the true nature of man. He has come to realize that the flickering light of his own morals could not overcome the darkness of his human nature. By weaving images of dark and light throughout the book, Conrad gives the reader a true sense of the darkness and "the horror!" present inside every man (239). Through Marlow's journey into the darkness of the Congo, Conrad's use of light and dark imagery as well as symbolism indicate that he is also on a journey into the deepest recesses of the darkness of his soul.

Marlow's first words to break the silence in the novel set the dark tone of his tale. He states that "this also has been one of the dark places of the earth" (138). With Britain's role in colonization, it truly has become a place marred with darkness. He describes the river Thames as a "running blaze on a plain, like a flash of lightning in the clouds," a flash of bright surrounded by the dark sins of the British civilization (139). All that Marlow sees and experiences leads him to this conclusion, and his narrative is his attempt to convey this knowledge to his shipmates...

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