Symbolism has long been a tool of the storyteller, finding its origins in the folklore of our earliest civilizations. In more recent years, however, symbolism has taken on a new role, forming the skeleton upon which the storyteller builds the tales of his or hers thoughts and adventures. Knowing the power of this element, Joseph Conrad uses symbols to help the reader explore dark interiors of men. The symbols become a vehicle that carry the audience from stop to stop, the ride becoming an evaluation of the darkness contained inside the hearts of mankind. Through the use of Dark Africa as an overpowering symbol, Conrad's Heart of Darkness tells a story that evaluates man's tendencies to fall back on barbaric methods when not protected by civilization.
As Marlow proceeded through the jungle towards the uncivilized world of Kurtz, he said, of the men they passed , 'They passed me within six inches, without a glance, with that complete, deathlike indifference of unhappy savages'(Conrad, 80).
Marlow's advancements into the jungle, acted parallel with my discovery: In our deepest nature, all men are savages. Marlow connects with the very backbone in which constitutes Conrad's theme 'The shade of the original Kurtz frequented the beside of the hollow sham, whose fate it was buried presently in the mold of primeval earth. But both diabolic love and the unearthly hate of the mysteries it had penetrated fought for the possession of that soul satisfied with primitive emotions, avid of lying fame, of sham distinction, of all the appearances of success and power'(Conrad 146).
Our enlightenment into the corruption of men's souls eventually becomes complete when Marlow meets Kurtz and finds out what Kurtz has really become, one with the land, devolved to a primitive state. Marlow and Kurtz could be considered as two conditions...