Heart of Darkness- Joseph Conrad- explores truth in the novel

Essay by petrakelseyHigh School, 12th gradeA-, April 2002

download word file, 3 pages 3.0

Heart of darkness essay

Marlow, hero in Joseph Conrad's The Heart of Darkness, bravely sets out into the depths of the Congo looking for truth and adventure. He starts out with a strong set of moral beliefs concerning the greatness of truth and the evil of lies. However, things turn out to be not so black and white for Marlow, and he ends his journey telling one of the greatest lies of all. Marlow shows a strong passion for the truth until horrific truths are revealed and he surrenders himself to lies. Conrad represents this as mans failure to speak the truth when faced with an ugly reality.

Marlow's devotion for the truth is apparent and describes a lie as "biting into something rotten"(pg.45). As he begins his long story of the Congo, he sits with the "pose of a Buddha" (pg. 9) as if sharing a piece of truth and enlightenment with his fellow sailors.

Then he begins to tell of the others in the Congo, the "Red-eyed devils" - men who rape and "murder on a great scale, going at it [blindly] - the only way for those who tackle darkness" (pg. 10). Marlow describes their ignorance to be the sin that they hold as well as their violence. Then Marlow remembers his visit with his Aunt. She believes that the company is in the Congo for noble missionary purposes. Marlow, however, knows this is false and "ventures to hint that the company was run for profit" (pg. 19), instead of lying to protect her. Next, when he is actually in the jungle, Marlow describes the jungle striking him as either "evil or truth"(pg. 23). This is where he actually defines truth as opposite of evil. This definition changes drastically later on when evil becomes truth.