Heart of Darkness

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Heart of Darkness
Carley Rodrigues

Heart of Darkness: Metaphor Analysis

Joseph Conrad uses symbolism to enhance the main theme of the novel, Heart of Darkness, by setting certain symbolic elements in opposition to contrasting ones. In order to achieve this, he relies heavily on metaphors. Conrad's theory: when men are taken away from civilization that the true darkness of a man's heart is righteously discovered and the "savage" within takes over, was shown through Conrad's use of irony and poetic expression . Conrad's metaphorical use of writing in Heart of Darkness allows an eloquent yet clever approach to showing Marlow's experiences of British Imperialism upon the Congo.

Heart of Darkness is embedded with complex layering of interconnected and overlapping symbols. One of them being the Congo River, the means in which the British found there way to Congo and remains their main way of transportation throughout the novel. It is in the beginning pages that Marlow associates the Congo River to a coiled snake. Thus, exhibiting a symbol of danger, and readiness to strike at anytime. You see this theme as he explores the dangers in Congo, however most of the dangers are the British Imperialists themselves.

Another very hidden metaphoric use within Heart of Darkness is the ivory. Ivory is the main reason the British Imperialists travel to Congo. Ivory as it self, is very simple and pure, however the want for it ruins the purity in the first place and the means of inquiring it are extremely horrid. Thus, showing that ivory is a sign of not only the greed the british have but also the purity and the beauty of the congo before the british reached it.

It is not only the Ivory that contrasts congo and the lust the British have for taking control of the land. The intended (Kurtz’s Fiancé), symbolizes all the values and morales the British were “intended” to bring to the Congo. However, we can see that these so called “values and morales”...
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