In composing “Heart of Darkness”, Conrad’s exploration of the very worst aspects of humanity has resulted in the very best of literary achievements.
Published on the verge of the 20th century, a time where Africa astringently suffered from the effects of European Imperialism, Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’ is not merely a well composed fictional piece, but a literary embodiment of the external and internal failings of humanity, and a contrivance regarding the very lowest of human morality. Through exploring the very core of mankind's ethicality, in such a perilous point in time, Conrad engendered a literary masterpiece, of high merit, recognised as equally relevant in our time, as it was in the time of its publication.
For a text to achieve sempiternal literary merit, its author must propose and critically delve into conceptions that are dear to mankind. In many cases, the author's notions are so intricate, that their whole text becomes a magnet to both appreciation and reprehension. Only when that text meets this criterion, is it able to stand amongst its fellow highly acclaimed books, on the shelves of grand literary achievement. Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness,’ disguises the worst aspects of humanity, with a storyline that is intriguing literary wise and simultaneously acts as means of which Conrad expresses his exigency towards exposing European Imperialism and Colonialism. Through Marlow, the main character and most often the narrator in the text, Conrad puts forth his notions towards the avarice in the European self, and how that amongst other things has led to the ruthless Colonising of vulnerably susceptible societies.
'Heart of Darkness,' is an amalgamation of a journey towards ‘The Congo,’ (the heart of Africa) and the unveiling of the European kind, which is at worst symbolised through Kurtz, a highly acclaimed commander of Ivory trade in Africa, and a demigod among native Africans who Marlow seeks to return to the coast. Conrad writes in a way that seemingly makes Marlow the reader's guide into the conception of the false image that the ‘European self’ puts forth vs. the true agenda and malevolent desires of that same ‘European self.’ This image of the worst aspects of humanity may very well be Conrad’s reproval towards King Leopold II, who despite claiming to be a philanthropist and a humanitarian, was responsible for much of the African Colonisation that occurred between 1881-1900. Kurtz is a symbolic figure in ‘Heart of Darkness,’ one that represents the idea of man verbally expressing one thing to paint a pretty image upon themselves, and yet when placed in the particular circumstance, unleashes his nefarious desires and dominance upon the innocent. Kurtz, in the same manner as King Leopold II, expressed his reasons for peregrinating to the congo in the name of “humanising, improving, instructing” (65) the African people, but in actuality, took the natives under his direct rule and enslaved them to suit his desires....