Knowledge And Truth In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

1592 Words7 Pages
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad provides an essential link between the strict Victorian expectations and the contrasting paradigm of a Modernist text. Conrad’s own experiences aboard a steamship that travelled to the Belgian Congo provided much of the insight and inspiration for Marlow’s quest in the novel. Many of Conrad’s real-life encounters are reflected in the novel through the eyes of Marlow. This overlap between reality and fiction will be examined throughout this essay. Furthermore, this essay endeavours to reveal the connection between light and dark symbolism and epistemology, as well as how these themes reflect upon knowledge and truth in the text. Finally, the essence of the novel as a Modernist text will be analysed and linked to the aforementioned themes of knowledge and truth. One predominant aspect of Conrad’s…show more content…
Perhaps one of the most interesting examples of the symbolic nature of light in the novel is the description of Brussels as a “whited sepulcher” (Conrad 7). Interestingly, Marlow’s description is a biblical reference to the Book of Matthew which states that, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness” (23:27-28). This comparison portrays Brussels as a magnificent city, but the true events taking place there taint it with evil and ungodliness. Heart of Darkness is unique as it manipulates the ingrained notions of what Light and Dark represent. Light is not portrayed as good; instead, it embodies the European hunger for wealth and power
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