Human Corruption In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

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A person who is in denial that human corruption is not to blame for social issues in today’s society emphasizes their weakness as a result of their reluctance to admit to their own evils. In Joseph Conrad’s, “Heart of Darkness,” Kurtz’s journey along the Congo is symbolic of humanity’s evolution to corrupt beings and civilization’s eventual downfall. The author continues to depict this journey as a negative progression of Kurtz’s wrongdoings as a human which reflects Conrad’s attitudes towards the future of humankind. In the final part of the novel, Marlow travels to Kurtz with concerns of his whereabouts considering he has not sent back any ivory from the jungle. He discovers that Kurtz is deathly ill and takes him out of the jungle and back…show more content…
Although Conrad uses Kurtz’s savage-like actions to represent most of humanity’s flaws, he also uses the absence of effort from Kurtz’s followers to represent its equal damage to the success of civilization. As Marlow observes what seems to be Kurtz’s realization of his faults, Kurtz, “crie[s] in a whisper at some image, at some vision[...] ‘The horror! The horror!’”. This serves as Kurtz’s final judgement of his life as well as that of rising human corruption. The author makes is known that even though Kurtz warns Marlow of “the horror,” it is too late to fix his brutality towards the natives and transform his values into those that do not revolve around imperialism. Although he never directly admits to his evils, Kurtz clearly recognizes his faults and attempts to make change by notifying Marlow of humanity’s flaws. The author prolongs the reader’s view of Kurtz’s complete awareness to emphasize the persistence in one who clearly chooses their own dignity over the survival of an entire people. Conrad’s decision to allow the reader to interpret what “the horror” is establishes a connection between the text and the reader’s society that also inspires he/she to long for change in humankind. Therefore, Kurtz’s reluctance to admit his evils until threatened with death proves humanity’s conviction of individual successes rather than those of a
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