Aspects of Human Nature in “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad

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Joseph Conrad’s fresh Heart of Darkness encompasses many subjects and constructs covering with the very nature of humanity and its complexness. This novel is set up in two different locations. the Thames River and the Congo River. Conrad uses these two rivers to stand for the different civilizations that clash in this novel. which are the “civilized” and the “savages” . While researching these two different universes Conrad exposes the human nature at its nucleus through the characters in this fresh proving that non everything is straightforward and is at it seems. The Thames River located in Southern England represents the advanced European universe.

In this novel the Europeans regarded themselves as civilized and cultured. On the other manus. Conrad embeds legion dark intense imaginations to depict this “enlightened” civilization such as violent. decease. incubation somberness. and more. While the Congo River represents the barbarian native dwellers that are described as “utter savagery” ( Conrad. 1990. p. 4 ) . but the nature that surrounds the Congo is described as cryptic. glittering. and cherished. The contrast of these locations and representations reveals different facets of human nature. One un-admirable quality of human nature that is shown is pride.

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The European characters in this novel had the outlook that they were superior to the indigens. Because of their superior position they felt that European Imperialism and the Stationss set up were meant for “humanizing. bettering. instructing” ( Conrad. 1990. p. 29 ) the barbarian barbarians. Alternatively these civilized European work forces “Christianizing” and seeking to conform the indigens to their criterions they have succumb to the darkness within the jungle exposing their true nature. Another facet of human nature shown by the dry descriptions of the “civilized” and “uncivilized” locations is man’s destructive nature.

There were legion events in this novel that portrayed man’s destructive nature due to subterranean motivations. An illustration that destructive behaviours are apart of human nature is when Kurtz raids countless folks for tusk for the really intent of deriving wealth and power. Another illustration of man’s destructive nature is when Numberss of “pilgrims used to turn out in a organic structure [ river horse ] and empty every rifle they could put custodies on at him. Some even had sat up o’nights for him. ” ( Conrad. 1990. p. 25 ) . These work forces waited for and otiose shootings merely to kill an old and guiltless animal non for survival intents. but for amusement.

Conrad enforces the construct of adult males destructive nature in the beginning of the novel when he is depicting the “civilized” universe. An illustration on page one Conrad describes the scenery of this “superior” civilisation as “The air was dark above Gravesend. and farther back still seemed condensed into a plaintive somberness. dwelling motionless… ” Later on in the fresh Marlow reads Kurtz booklet and is led to believe that Kurtz is non another greedy. self – functioning. and power crazed single like the many characters he has met up with on his journey. but that Kurtz portions the same beliefs that he does.

Marlow’s belief that the intent of European Imperialism in Africa was to better the civilization and to profit them every bit instead than do pandemonium for their ain personal addition. Marlow’s exhilaration to run into Kurtz based off his booklet and how good everyone speaks of him is an illustration of how non everything is straightforward. Kurtz wrote his booklet in a manner that intrigued Marlow and convinced him that they shared the same beliefs. but when Marlow eventually met Kurtz he realized that Kurtz is sick physically and mentally. Trickery and incompatibility is embedded within human nature.

Equally much as one would wish to believe that worlds are consistent and honest. that is non true and evident in this novel. The chief character is non exempt from human inclinations of incompatibility. Earlier on in the fresh Marlow provinces. “I hatred. detest. and can’t bear a prevarication. ” ( Conrad. 1990. p. 23 ) . On the other manus at the terminal of the book he lies to Kurt’s intended to give her sense of peace and saves her from more hurting and heartache. Though his logical thinking is non selfish he still went against his ain beliefs and proves incompatibility.

Throughout this full novel Conrad introduces several European characters that portrayed so many non – admirable qualities such as greed. haughtiness. enviousness. retribution. sloth. and much more. Yet they are considered the “civilized” 1s. Ironically the man-eaters and the other indigens in this fresh show more admirable qualities such as trueness. difficult work. obedient. strong will. and most significantly restraint. While the civilised work forces were plotting against one another believing merely of themselves the indigens displayed much more honest character. For illustration. the native folks that pledged their trueness to Kurtz were obedient and remained loyal.

They would attach to him on expeditions and kill on his bid. Another illustration of honest qualities portrayed by these “uncivilized savages” was restraint. The man-eaters that assisted Marlow on his journey had been hungering for months and ne’er made a move to assail their fellow crew- members. These “heathens” displayed true character in this state of affairs because “It takes a adult male all his congenital strength to contend hunger decently. It’s truly easier to confront mourning. dishonour. and the Hell of one’s psyche – than this drawn-out hungriness … no earthly ground for any sort of scruple.

Restraint! … the fact confronting me – the eye-popping fact. ” ( Conrad. 1990. p. 38 ) . Through the fresh “Heart of Darkness” Conrad portrays and exposes human nature at its best and at its worst. Conrad embeds sarcasm throughout the full novel to demo that non everything is as it seems and that when affecting worlds there are contradictions. The chief point that Conrad is conveying to his reader is that technological progresss do non do a civilization superior or civilized. but instead the moral codification that they live by. There is non one civilization superior to the other.

Besides that each human being is responsible for their ain civil or barbarous behaviours. What makes one civilized is based off of what they do when no 1 else is about and how they react to any given state of affairs good or awful. This fresh served as a warning from Conrad of man’s true darkness and the “human secrets that baffle probability” . ( Conrad. 1990. p. 37 ) . One is non civilized based on where they grew up. but their reactions to the universe they live in. To be civilized is to move with morality. but to be a barbarian is to encompass the bosom of darkness.

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Aspects of Human Nature in “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad. (2017, Jul 18). Retrieved from

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