Heart Of Darkness Imperialism

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Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness begins with the narrator admiring the Thames River and its history with imperialism. The narrator glamorizes the Greek men who colonized England and even goes on to refer to them as knights. Just then, the main character, Marlow, refers to the Thames River as a part of darkness, obviously referring to the brutality of imperialism. Marlow refers to the “knights” Conrad speaks of as “no colonists” but as “conquerors” and explains that the power they have is only due to the weakness of others, basically discrediting their supposed success. Moreover, Marlow announces that he does not believe that he is too different from Africans, a very rare occurrence at the time. This is to say that Marlow does not agree that…show more content…
In other words, the dehumanization of people of color in order to “civilize” them was both widely accepted and scarcely challenged. As George Washington Williams made obvious in his “Open Letter to King Leopold…,” the people of the Congo were widely abused and none of the Belgian King’s claims of an ultimate “work of peace” were even scarcely true. When Williams visited the Congo for himself, he saw the atrocity which was under King Leopold’s watch. Although King Leopold claimed his men were not open to hurting the natives, it was very obvious that the men took advantage of their position and power, going so far as to “[bury] slaves alive in the grave of a dead chief [and cut] off the heads of captured warriors in native combats” (___). Clearly, the King’s men were going out of their way to let the natives know they did not identify as equal to them. Williams also claims that King Leopold was involved in the slave market at the time, which is not unlike observations made by Marlow. Coincidentally, the bright, flashing lights Leopold hung around reality were quickly cut off by Williams, such as Marlow did the narrator. Williams, much like Marlow, had begun his journey to the Congo with a boyish excitement and what he witnessed first-hand contradicted all he thought he knew about the colonization of the Congo, therefore making his experience very
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