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Home » , » Heart of Darkness is Marlow's exploration of his own mind as much as his exploration of the Congo?.Discuss.

Heart of Darkness exploration

Heart of Darkness is a record of a two-fold Journey -a journey into the Congo,which had at Conrad's time not yet been fully explored, and a journey into the dark recess of Marlow's mind and in a sense into the dark realm of the human mind in general .While narrating his experiences on board,  the Nellie to the small group of his friends, Marlow gives them not only his experience of outward happenings but also his inward reactions to those experience .

Marlow's encounter with the manager of the Central Station and the Brick -maker there also gives rise to many thoughts in his mind.The manager seemed to be a man of empty brain ,while the Brick-maker appeared to be a clever and curious man who asked Marlow whether he had any influence over the higher officials of the trading company. Although Marlowe hats telling lies ,he let the Brickmaker assume that he did have a lot of influence over the high officials of the company .

Marlow also reflect upon work ethic .He had to work very hard to pull the wrecked steamer out of the river and repair it.He did not like the work ,but he liked what was in the work , becsuse, work gives a man the chance to find himself and his own reality. In command of a steamer ob strange and unknown river, Marlow felt like a blind -folded man driving his motor -van over a bad road .He also reacted to scenery ,"we penetrated deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness."
heart of darkness
Heart of Darkness

Further Marlow's reflection on hunger and self-restraint of the cannibals crew are noteworthy. The hungry cannibals could easily kill the whitemen on board the steamer and eat their flesh ,but they did not do so.Marlow sees the cannibals with great admiration and curiosity about their impulses, motives, capacities and weaknesses.

Again we find him admiring Mr. Kurtz despite his demonic character.

Even after returning to Europe , Marlow remains loyal to Mr . Kurtz's memory ,because ,when Mr. Kurtz's fiancee asks him what his last words were before his death , Marlow tells her a lie and says that Mr. Kurtz's last word was her own name. This loyalty to Mr. Kurtz may be explained as Marlow's own response to the primitivism and barbarism,Which mr.Kurtz had been practising among the savages . This means that if Marlow had stayed for sometime longer in the Congo and had begun to mix with the savages,  he too would have followed the same path as Mr. Kurtz had begun to tread.

Thus Herat of Darkness certainly describes a physical journey but at the same time , a psychological and mystical journey also.Marlow conveys to us indirectly and subtly the influence of Mr.Kurtz's primitivism upon himself.This sub-conscious mind is also the heart of darkness,which Marlow or Conrad tries to explore.


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