Heart of Darkness and Allegory of the Cave Short Extended Response

Topics: Africa, Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness Pages: 2 (697 words) Published: September 11, 2008
Extended Response Practice- English

Allegory is a way of revealing a quite complex idea using a seemingly simple structure. The term allegory is best known as an extended symbolic narrative with a didactic purpose. An allegory is usually an extended narrative in which the characters and incidents symbolise underlying ideas, usually moral or ethical. Main ways the writer achieves this is by using techniques like symbolism, personification and metaphor, which he/she use to express abstract ideas in concrete terms. Joseph Conrad’s novel, ‘The Heart of Darkness” is such a tale that qualifies as an allegorical text. Another is a more ancient that it’s allegorical counterpart which is Plato’s ‘Allegory of the Cave’.

‘The Heart of Darkness’ is a psychological masterpiece, revealing the relationship between subconscious life and conscious motivations. In the text, Conrad through Marlow reviews the memories of his journey to the Congo: personal nightmare is mixed with his own psychological complexities. He is looking for self-understanding, and showing his own mental picture of the conflicts between savagery and civilization. Many critics have called it the best short novel written in English. The text involves the reader in dramatic and decisively difficult moral judgements, which are in parallel with the central characters: Marlow and Kurtz. It is a dramatic, layered, paradoxical and problematic novel: a mixture of autobiography, adventure story, religious drama and a symbolic text, thus making it an allegorical text. It is a book about the discovery of an unknown Africa and the vagueness hidden in the human soul. It emphasizes the interface of personal and social experiences in different conditions: conflicts between personal and public codes. It is about Kurtz, a sophisticated and civilized man whose work in Africa has led him to insanity. Africa is responsible for mental disintegration as well as for physical illness. This is used to outline...
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