Heart Of Darkness By Conrad

In Heart of Darkness it is the white invaders for instance, who are, almost
without exception, embodiments of blindness, selfishness, and cruelty; and even
in the cognitive domain, where such positive phrases as "to
enlighten," for instance, are conventionally opposed to negative ones such
as "to be in the dark," the traditional expectations are reversed. In

Kurtz's painting, as we have seen, "the effect of the torch light on the
face was sinister" (Watt 332). Ian Watt, author of "Impressionism and

Symbolism in Heart of Darkness," discusses about the destruction set upon
the Congo by Europeans. The destruction set upon the Congo by Europeans led to
the cry of Kurtz's last words, "The horror! The horror!" The horror in

Heart of Darkness has been critiqued to represent different aspects of
situations in the book. However, Kurtz's last words "The horror! The
horror!" refer, to me, to magnify only three major aspects. The horror
magnifies Kurtz not being able to restrain himself, the colonizers' greed, and

Europe's darkness. Kurtz comes to the Congo with noble intentions. He thought
that each ivory station should stand like a beacon light, offering a better way
of life to the natives. He was considered to be a "universal genius":
he was an orator, writer, poet, musician, artist, politician, ivory producer,
and chief agent of the ivory company's Inner Station. yet, he was also a
"hollow man," a man without basic integrity or any sense of social
responsibility. "Kurtz issues the feeble cry, 'The horror! The horror!' and
the man of vision, of poetry, the 'emissary of pity, and science, and progress'
is gone. The jungle closes' round" (Labrasca 290). Kurtz being cut off from
civilization reveals his dark side. Once he entered within his "heart of
darkness" he was shielded from the light. Kurtz turned into a thief,
murderer, raider, persecutor, and to climax all of his other shady practices, he
allows himself to be worshipped as a god. E. N. Dorall, author of "Conrad
and Coppola: Different Centers of Darkness," explains Kurtz's loss of his
identity. Daring to face the consequences of his nature, he loses his identity;
unable to be totally beast and never able to be fully human, he alternates
between trying to return to the jungle and recalling in grotesque terms his
former idealism. Kurtz discovered, A voice! A voice! It rang deep to the very
last. It survived his strength to hide in the magnificent folds of eloquence the
barren darkness of his heart.... But both the diabolic love and the unearthly
hate of the mysteries it had penetrated fought for the possession of that soul
satiated with primitive emotions, avid of lying, fame, of sham distinction, of
all the appearances of success and power. Inevitably Kurtz collapses, his last
words epitomizing his experience, The horror! The horror! (Dorall 306). The
horror to Kurtz is about self realization; about the mistakes he committed while
in Africa. The colonizers' cruelty towards the natives and their lust for ivory
also is spotlighted in Kurtz's horror. The white men who came to the Congo
professing to bring progress and light to "darkest Africa" have
themselves been deprived of the sanctions of their European social orders. The
supposed purpose of the colonizers' traveling into Africa was to civilize the
natives. Instead the Europeans took the natives' land away from them by force.

They burned their towns, stole their property, and enslaved them.
"Enveloping the horror of Kurtz is the Congo Free State of Leopold II,
totally corrupt though to all appearances established to last for a long
time" (Dorall 309). The conditions described in Heart of Darkness reflect
the horror of Kurtz's words: the chain gangs, the grove of death, the payment in
brass rods, the cannibalism and the human skulls on the fence posts. Africans
bound with thongs that contracted in the rain and cut to the bone, had their
swollen hands beaten with rifle butts until they fell off. Chained slaves were
forced to drink the white man's defecation, hands and feet were chopped off for
their rings, men were lined up behind each other and shot with one cartridge,
wounded prisoners were eaten by maggots till they died and were then thrown to
starving dogs or devoured by cannibal tribes (Meyers 100). The colonizers
enslaved the natives to do their biding; the cruelty practiced on the black
workers were of the white man's mad and greedy rush for ivory. "The
unredeemable horror in the tale is the duplicity, cruelty, and venality of

Europeans officialdom" (Levenson 401). Civilization is only preserved by
maintaining illusions. Juliet Mclauchlan, author of "The Value