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The Evil Soul Revealed in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness: Evil Soul Revealed

In Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, there is a great interpretation of the feelings of the characters and uncertainties of the Congo. This intricate story reveals much symbolism due to Conrad’s theme based on the lies and good and evil, which interact together in every man. By probing into the heart of the jungle Conrad was trying to convey an impression about the heart of man through symbolism of the jungle itself and the manager.

The story is written as seen through Marlow’s eyes. Marlow is a follower of the sea. His voyage up the Congo is his first experience in freshwater navigation. He longs to see Kurtz, in the hope of appreciating all that Kurtz finds endearing in the African jungle. Marlow does not get the opportunity to see Kurtz until he is so disease-stricken he looks more like death than a person. There are no good looks or health. In the story Marlow remarks that Kurtz resembles “an animated image of death carved out of old ivory” (Conrad page #).

Like Marlow, Kurtz is seen as an honorable man to many admirers; but he is also a thief, murderer, raider, persecutor, and above all he allows himself to be worshipped as a god. Both men had good intentions to seek, yet Kurtz seemed a “universally genius” lacking basic integrity or a sense of responsibility (Roberts 43). In the end they form one symbolic unity. Marlow and Kurtz are the light and dark selves of a single person. Meaning each one is what the other might have been. Kurtz is the violent devil Marlow describes at the story’s beginning. It was his ability to control men through fear and adoration that led Marlow to signify this.

Throughout the story Conrad builds an unhealthy darkness. At every turn he sees evil lurking within the land. Every image is dreary and dark. The deadly Congo snakes to link itself with the sea and all other rivers of darkness and light. The setting of these adventurous and moral quests is the great jungle, in which most of the story takes place. As a symbol the forest encloses all, and in the heart of the African journey Marlow enters the dark cavern of his own heart. It even becomes an image of a vast catacomb of evil, in which Kurtz dies, but from which Marlow emerges spiritually reborn.

An Analysis of Sonnet 64

An Analysis of Sonnet 64

The formal structure of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 64 is largely reinforced by the logical and syntactical structure; each of the three quatrains begins with the same extended conditional “When I have seen” clause and contains the completion of the thought expressed by the clause. However, the first quatrain also contains a second conditional “When” clause (lines 3-4), and the last two lines of the third quatrain introduce the “That” result clause for all the foregoing lines. The repetition of the four conditional “when” clauses, and especially the three anaphoric extended “When I have seen” clauses, build up expectation for the result clause and final resolution. The “When” clauses by their very nature emphasize the changes brought about by the passing of time, for the poet is stockpiling examples of…

The above is provided to make the student aware of the focus of the Analysis of this sonnet. The complete essay begins below.

Paraphrase of Sonnet 64

When I have seen the wealth and pride of splendor of long ago despoiled by the passage of time; when I see once lofty towers that are now tumbled down, and even brass, which is supposed to last forever, altered by the mortality of time’s passing; when I have seen the hungry ocean wash up to encroach upon the shoreline, alternating back and forth between loss and gain; when I have seen this interchanging flux between states, or those states themselves (with the possible additional meaning of political states) brought to decay, then pain has made me think that time will also take away my love. This thought is like death to me, and can only choose to weep for the possession of that which it fears it will lose later.


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…of mutability and exemplifies the image of give and take in line 8. This “interchange” brought about by alliteration and assonance works against the regularity of the meter and the repeated “a” rhymes in the lines. The slight dissonance in the di-syllabic rhyme of “defaced” and “down-razed” creates a slight jarring which is also suggestive of the imperfection attendant upon mutability. Alliteration and assonance which occur in two elements that are widely separated in the same line create a kind of tension by pulling the line both apart in terms of proximity and together in terms of similarity of sound, as in “slave . . . rage,” “proud . . . outworn,” “thought . . . cannot,” “ruin . . . ruminate,” and “Time . . . take.” Alliterative pairs also serve to tie in the first two words of line twelve (“That Time”) with the beginning of the couplet (“This thought”).

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