Counter-Imperialism In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

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Joseph Conrad’s counter-imperialist novella, ‘Heart of Darkness’, pursues the arduous pilgrimage of a predominated group of men circumnavigating up the unfathomable Congo River in a steam boat. Although, Conrad digresses to an abyssal allegory he fundamentally elucidates towards colonial opposites and the flaws of human intention – applying imagery of light and dark to exhibit civilizational primitiveness, the imperialist dream and malevolence. Similarly, Nicolas Roeg’s 1993 film adaptation of ‘Heart of Darkness’ is considerably honest to the storyline provided by Conrad’s original – particularly in the chronology of events as the boat encroaches upon the bosom of Africa. On that premise, there are evidently several substantial changes within…show more content…
Kurtz is choreographed by Conrad to be under the thrall of “The Company” which speaks through his deformed and lifeless body like a puppeteer. Perhaps simulated by the black strings woven by the women that Conrad intends to represent two out of three mythological ‘Fates’, immortally existing to guard the door of the underworld and orchestrate the entire operation of bringing light into the dark continent of Africa. The novel displays multi-dimensional and Caravaggio-esque dramatisim, an epistemological dependency on the experience of light as Marlow progresses towards the “heart of an impenetrable darkness”, which is in fact the backdrop behind the entire story that contrasts against the pale skin of the colonists which is modelled by the natural light of the barbaric African Helios, as evident in the authors intention. Unlike his depiction in the film version, Kurtz is outlined in a certain nature, contrastingly God-like and powerful yet increasingly weak. Conrad indicates through the description provided by Marlow as “short” and with “unsettling mannerisms”. He continues to illustrate a specific sense, “I could not hear a sound, but through my glasses I saw the thin arm extend commandingly” and “the lower jaw moving, its bony head that nodded with grotesque jerks”. Conrad de-personifies Kurtz in Marlow’s retelling and describes the physical effects of his disease as deforming and disfiguring as a result of the soul penetrating radiation of imperialism and The Company from which it emits. The voice of Kurtz is contradicted by his appearance as he seems “incapable of a whisper” as if an enigmatic power speaks for him “almost without the trouble of moving his lips”, depicted as a reference to the technique that puppeteers use to throw their voices into inanimate objects.

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