Psychoanalytic and Marxist Analysis: Heart of Darkness
Looking at Heart of Darkness by Conrad through the theoretical lens, we can see that the story can be interpreted through Psychoanalytic and Marxist theory. Psychoanalytic and Marxist theory both play a part with the characters actions and choices.
Through Marxist theory, oppression, imperialism, and capitalism are visible. At the beginning of the story, we are aware of the separation within the people. Not only men and women, but based off of their economic status. We can see the disparity between the rich and poor. The Director of Companies is the wealthiest and the others were poor. The main character Marlow had to struggle in order to have a job. This is why his aunt helped him. From Marlow, we learned that the director has “so many millions”. This lets the reader know he does not work, he is in a higher class, and those under him are over worked. There was no equality of wealth within the characters of the story.
The characters of the story focused on receiving wealth by trading ivory. Ivory was their main source of wealth. Wealth was visible within the story, for the natives and others by it being on their land, yet it wasn’t at their reach. The “capital people” became very wealthy from the ivory that was transferred from the Native’s land to the capitalist. They were basically taking all of their riches for their selves as the Natives struggled to simply find food. Since there was no equality and the classes were separate, the Natives worked for no pay. Life was unfair, but those who had money, had power and value. Even though the Natives worked day in and out, they weren’t respected as the capitalist were. The capitalist did what they knew best, be greedy and take all of the merchandise for their selves, as the Natives lose out on all rewards.
Kurtz was a character within the story that possessed and showed greed, even though his intentions were to complete great things such as “humanizing, improving, and instructing”.“He declared he would shoot me unless I gave him the ivory and then cleared out of the country, because he could do so, and had a fancy for it, and there was nothing on earth to prevent him killing whom he jolly well pleased. And it was true, too. I gave him the ivory. What did I care! But I didn’t clear out. No, no. I couldn’t leave him. I had to be careful, of course, till we got friendly again for a time. He had his second illness then. Afterwards I had to keep out of the way; but I didn’t mind. He was living for the most part in those villages on the lake. When he came down to the river, sometimes he would take to me, and sometimes it was better for me to be careful.” (Conrad)
He wasn’t always like this. Before he left for Congo, he was still your average unhealthy man, but he wasn’t a savage nor greedy. Once he left Congo, for adventure and to trade ivory, he received a taste of imperialism f...