Throughout the novel, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, the contrasting of light and dark images permeated the text.The use of this imagery created an underlying theme revolving around the conflict between savagery and culture, knowledge and ignorance.Conrad depicts the events, locations, and ideas that Marlow encounters in terms of light and dark.These archetypal roles in novel often become a paradox when being purely one or the other can attain neither.Instead of analyzing this novel in terms of black and white, it should be analyzed in varying shades of gray.
Marlow begins his narrative by describing London as a former darkness that is now light.The city is depicted as a place of enlightenment, knowledge and civilization creating an atmosphere of light but as his perspective changed while traveling the river he began to see civilization that "lead into the heart of an immense darkness.”This alteration in thought can be compared to "The Allegory of the Den" by Plato.
When only one truth is known it seems to be the only, but when another reality is discovered it pains the eyes.Plato states " …that the bewilderment of the eyes are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light, which is true of the mind's eye, quite as much as the bodily eye."After Kurtz' death and Marlow's return to Europe, his eyes are bewildered by the change in light, so much so that all of his views were challenged. The manager became a darkness that was heavily contradicted by a sarcastic light.The implication of him being somewhat hallow became more like a statement of his wickedness.This was also brought to the surface by the description of the painting in his room, that Kurtz had painted.Oils are a Christian symbol that created the whitish symbolism but this contradicted the somberness of the painting.This included a dismal s…
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