Portrayal Of Light And Darkness Through Characters In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

818 words - 3 pages

In the novella Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad uses many literary devices to create, for his readers, a vivid picture of what his definition of light and darkness really is.
Conrad suggestively uses a technique whereas for every one character that portrays darkness there is an opposite character that portrays some extent of light. This technique can be explained in the form of comparison and contrast, for instance the “Harlequin” and the Manager. Though these two characters share few comparisons, their contrasts are one in a plenty. The Harlequins character is said to be a Russian man who has an eccentric taste in fashion, coining him the nickname Harlequin. He is also considered the character Kurtz’s “disciple”, because as a young boy the harlequin had run away from home, in which later landed him deep into the Congo, where Kurtz had soon taken him under his wing and molded him. “Kurtz has enlarged my mind” which is his catch phrase meaning that Kurtz had given him knowledge and taught him to think outside of the box. The Harlequin represents inferred light in the story. Though, there are no discussions of “good deeds” he performs, like some of the other characters, he illustrates innocence and purity.
On the other hand, the Manager is none of these things. The way Conrad makes him out to be is, in a nutshell, fake. He is described as a man who is vague in his actions, and provides no emotions behind his words. He also has beady blue eyes and a vacuous smile that is said to be "seal applied on words to make the meaning of the commonest phrase appear absolutely inscrutable.” In other words, all his malarkey is made to appear philosophical by his enigmatic, but blank, smile. Conrad even goes on to insist that the Manager is literally vacant. The Manager
remarks to Marlowe as to why he is so resistant to disease by saying that “there is nothing within me” insisting that he had no entrails, and that anyone who worked for him at the Central Station
should be the same way. Conrad’s very creepy way of vividly articulating the Manager, gives the inkling that he is indeed the darkness that the title exclaims.
Though, these characters may seem to be the polar opposite of one another, they do share some defining qualities. Conrad depicts both characters displaying very bizarre behavior. The Managers...

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