As the ship sits at anchor on the Thames, Marlow is reminded of the past. The Thames is a "waterway... to the utmost ends of the earth" the river represents the "spirit of the past" Why has the Thames been "one of the dark places"? What is the significance of the refrence to the invasions of the Romans?
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I think Marlow's point is that, Like the Congo, the Thames River and England was once one of the "dark places." It was not until the Romans invaded and "civilized" them. Is this Marlow's justification for imperialism into Africa? If so, I'm not sure he completely believes it.