Joseph Conrad"s most read novella heart of Darkness has double meaning in the title. One dictionary definition is that the title refers to the interior of the Africa referred to as Congo. An additional hidden definition is, the title stands for the darkness or the primitiveness the every human possesses in his or she mind and heart.

You are watching: What does heart of darkness mean


*
Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)


The etymological meaning of the expression Heart that Darkness is the innermost region of the are which is however to be explored, where people led the nomadic and also primitive way of living. The setup time that the novel Heart that Darkness dates ago to those periods once the continent the Africa was not totally explored. Therefore the continent was dubbed the heart of darkness. The significant and significant events the the novel take location in the Dark Continent, though the very first and the finish of the story bring away place outside the continent. The central character, Kurtz, come under the influence of the savages and also becomes one of them in the same dark place called Congo. The savages and Kurtz, in fact, belong come the heart of darkness.

The summary of the see by Marlow adds something critical meaning to the location of the novel. The wild scene, thick and impenetrable jungle, the pictures of the natives hiding in the thick jungle, the silence and also the attention stillness of the river Congo, the special fog, every these functions are suggestive come the location Heart that Darkness. The outer physical setting intensifies the horror and also the fear among the readers. The reading about the summary of the natives and their means of showing up in the novel carry the great effect in the mind of the reader.

On one occasion, Marlow is struck by the natives in his steamer. In that attack the helmsman is killed. The natives strike the steamship of Marlow not learning why the is there, however in the ignorance. The ignorance and also backwardness that the savages, the purposeless attack creates the feeling choose being in the middle of the heart of darkness. The assault to the steamship is to plan by Kurtz, that has end up being one savage living with the natives. He becomes more barbaric than the inhabitants. The essence of savagery, brutality and cruelty sums increase in the presence of Kurtz. Kurtz's mission to be to civilize the natives, to educate them, to improve their method of living and also the necessary one is to carry the light right into their lives and also into that dark territory. Yet he ends in convert himself into the savages, and also the most striking thing is the he has collection himself like a god in that Dark Continent. The starts following their unspeakable rites. He does any type of brutal raids for the services of repertoire of ivory. Follow to Marlow, Kurtz has end up being a adversary being failure to manage his ethical restraint. He lets his inner self, the primitive self, dance openly in the lap of darkness and becomes the representatives of the darkness. His superstition and also evil has end up being the embodiment that darkness. Psychologically, Kurtz is the symbol of everyman's darkness which is veiled under the curtain of civilization. Kurtz is the heart of darkness.

The term heart of darkness represents another meaning too. The journey of Kurtz and Marlow to check out the interior of the Dark Continent referred to as Congo is not only the physical search of some the territory, but it is an expedition of the innermost part of the human being mind and also the human being heart. The geographical search is comparatively much easier than the search of one's self, one's Dark Continent. Both Kurtz and Marlow are in one implied feeling in the trip to uncover their dark region of mind and heart. In instance of Kurtz, he cannot host the mystical and also attractive strength of his savagery self, his suppressed primitive self and also gives in. He fails to control his ethical restraint. He submits to the dark next of his personality and also becomes one savage. He reaches to the heart of darkness, however cannot stand up to its power upon him and he can not come earlier from his subconscious state of mind. But in the situation of Marlow, he as well travels to the heart of darkness, the subconscious. That reaches there and witnesses the heavy influence the primitive self on Kurtz. That notices that he has end up being totally a devil, deviating native his main aim to civilize the savages. Marlow, despite the truth that Kurtz has actually been transformed right into the barbaric self, praises him and is attracted in the direction of him. He has actually fallen a near prey come the primitiveness. But, amazingly, that does no submit self to the savagery me of his subconscious. The reaches to the love of darkness, witnesses the transformation of Kurtz, and also gets to know the irresistible strength of barbaric covert self, praises it and also again comes ago to the irradiate of civilization. The is therefore able to manage his morality and also spirituality. His trip to Africa is, symbolically, expedition of the dark side of human being life, either psychologically, or morally and also or spiritually.

See more: What Does A 500 Pound Man Look Like To Weigh Over 500 Pounds?

A movie critic commenting top top the title of the novel, Heart the Darkness, says that the darkness here is many things: it is the unknown, the is the subconscious, that is the moral darkness, the is the angry which swallows increase Kurtz, and also it is the spiritual emptiness, which the sees in ~ the center of the existence, but over all that is a an enig itself, the mysteriousness that man's spirituality life.