The Character Of Marlow In Heart Of Darkness

2909 words - 12 pages

Heart of Darkness has been reviewed by many different critics. There are many issues in Joseph Conrad’s book such as imperialism, cruelty, and how isolation can change a person. A noticeable topic in the book is the ending with Marlow. The book has an outer and inner story. Marlow tells the inner story because it is of his previous experience in Africa. In the beginning of the book, Marlow says that he hates lying yet he lies to Kurtz’s Intended. In order to figure out why Marlow lied and how it affects the story, evidence from different sources must be viewed.
Birgit and Daniel Maier-Katkin focus on the broad topic of how humanity is affected and the banality of evil. They address the “problem of evil in an environment dominated by crimes against humanity: the Congo during the reign of the Belgian King Leopold” (Maier-Katkin 584). They also address the ending of which Marlow lies to the Intended of Kurtz. They describe Heart of Darkness as a tale that “arouses suspense, turns on elements of surprise, and concludes unexpectedly, all the time focusing awareness on aspects of reality that are seemingly inexplicable and inaccessible to reason” (Maier-Katkin 585). The Maier-Katkins also say that the “language hints of earlier creation and the primitive power of less domesticated nature, themes that later dominate the inner narrative” (Maier-Katkin 586). In other words, themes that did not seem quite as important in the beginning hold a greater impact later on in the story. They then give a short summary of the outer frame of the book. After the summary, they dive into the main idea of their work which is the “three brilliant depictions of the origins and nature of evil: the base, primitive, perverse allure of evil in the human heart; the heart of darkness in the soul of civilization; and finally the banal evil resident in the day-to-day conformity of ordinary, decent people like Marlow” (Maier-Katkin 586). They separate the article into three parts: primitive evil, evil at the heart of civilization, and banal evil.
The Maier-Katkins begin their discussion with the outer frame. They describe that ideals such as efficiency, order, and refinement are present in the outer frame but the inner frame contains “chaos, inefficiency, fecundity, and the base, primitive power and allure of nature” (587). This shows the differences between the two frames of Heart of Darkness. Birgit and Daniel Maier-Katkin express the inner story as “Marlow’s encounter with evil in Africa, and his efforts to rescue Kurtz, the antihero in Heart of Darkness, from the jungle and from himself” (Ibid). This description reveals the basic plot of the inner story. Their analysis of the inner story then begins. As they start they make note that there is an idea that the experience in Africa changes the people who return (Ibid). This idea is seen in Marlow as he “returns to Europe cynical and somber with such knowledge of the world as makes it impossible to remain comfortable in the old...

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