Heart of Darkness

Essay by inestimableUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2004

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In the story "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad he uses a lot of metaphors to describe the actual "Heart of Darkness." One of the metaphors he uses really stood out toward the end of the story and that is the contrasting differences between Kurtz's European Intended and his "magnificent" African mistress with whom he was involved. His intended, a pathetic white European woman, who represents the illusion of pureness, goodness, and the civilization of Europe, waits faithfully for him to return to her, unaware of his adultery. The wild eyed, red hot, inflamed, and extremely emotional African mistress serves as a delusion of the darkness in the story and ultimately the theme of the story. Kurtz's Intended represents the illusion of the civilization that loses Kurtz and the African Mistress symbolizes the jungle that destroys him.

The two female characters are represented very symbolically in the story.

They are represented as an illusion of light and darkness in the story. The European intended is "fair hair, pale visage, and pure brow." Unlike the mistress who is "savage and superb, wild-eyed and magnificent." She symbolizes the wildness, inhabitant land, and unknown mystery of Africa. She is a dark skinned woman with arrogant ways, and is unable to be swayed or diverted from her customs. Her superiority and savage like nature portrays her as evil and darkness. Unlike the European woman, who waits for her fiancé faithfully. She represents the very essence of Europe's illusion of women with her simple mindedness. She values the delusion that Kurtz is dedicated to "saving" and "civilizing" the Africans. She is a proud woman upholding Kurtz's illusion with her unquestioning loyalty and faithfulness into his return.

The Intended and mistress also serve as an explanation to the savage like nature Kurtz...