Is Marlow Illuminated in the “Heart of Darkness”
Marlow is illuminated in the heart of darkness. Discuss with reference to heart of darkness by Joseph Conrad.
Marlow is definitely a major instead main character of the novel, illuminated by Joseph Conrad, in “Heard of Darkness”. The purpose of categorizing Marlow in the list of main character is not because he narrates the story but he is important being part of the same. Obviously, his role cannot be underestimated,as, by doing so;interest of the reader in the story will be abolished. Usually, when someone narrates a story, he keeps himself away from it but that is not the case with Marlow. He being hero of the novel, having good as well as bad qualities, states his involvement, which he has experienced, during his visit to Congo River. There is no hesitation in saying that Marlow is not only a character but evident of the experiences of Joseph Conrad during his visit to Congo River.
As far as illumination regarding the character of Marlow, by the writer, is concerned, it is totally not true that he is illuminated or exaggerated. The word illumination, itself is ambiguous. If we take illumination as exaggeration then it is not true at all, as the writer has narrated his experiences, based on reality but if illumination is considered as writer’s biography, in the character of Marlow, then it is true. Through Marlow, writer keeps himself away from the tale but it is crystal clear that he is writer himself in the guise of Marlow, who visited the Congo River and have interest in the adventurous journeys. A glance at Marlow’s character reveals that Marlow likes adventure. He has lust for knowledge as well as journeys. In his childhood, he was curious about the river, when he saw it on the map.He wanted to spend his holidays while seeing vivid imagery of that river.As discussed supra, Marlow is neither a good person nor he is totally bad. Like every common person in the world, his nature is also not different. On one had he commits a sin then on the other hand he also repents on it.
Apart from the above discussion, it is Marlow, through which the writer shows the real face of so-called civilization. He neither prefers civilization on imperialism nor vice versa but tells us what he sees, during his visit to Congo country. Marlow does not have superhuman qualities nor he does anything better for the welfare of African people, suffering under the colonization but without giving his opinions, tells his listeners a story of African societies. It is Marlow, who tells us that colonization is not anything but greed of British people. Although they went to countries like Congo for the purpose of civilization but their main purpose was to expand their territory, not directly but indirectly. Marlow is a character, in contrasts to Kurtz, who had been worshiped as god by the Africans.No one is perfect and thus Marlow is not different, he is also not perfect but he is not greedy like Kurtz. He shares the suffering of inhabitants of Congo country, not physically but mentally.
Another relevant fact, interlinked with Marlow, is the symbolism of novel. Marlow also symbolizes for self-exploration. His journey to Congo River is in fact his keen observation of the consciousness. That is the only reason he called colonialism nothing but greed when he saw the sorrows of African people. Marlow does not simply see things and ignores them but he studies every character as well as place minutely. For instance, when he sees the accountant, he notices his dress and his way of thinking. From up to down, Marlow creates the picture of accountant in his mind. Likewise, when he sees Kurtz, he also thoroughly observes him and thus finds him an avaricious person working just for his selfishness not for the sake of civilization.
To sum up the whole discussion, there is no denial in the fact that “Heart of Darkness” is a novel with pictorial representation of Colonialism. Although, the writer not directly attacks on the colonization yet somehow he has grudge on it. Through Marlow, the writer illustrates the gluttony of civilized nations, who were using the uncivilized nations for their meanness. With these observations, there is no ambiguity in saying that Marlow is writer himself, who has knowledge as well as experience of nations suffering under the system (colonialism). The character of Marlow justifies good and evil as mixture of life and at the same time, expresses that no one is perfect not even Marlow, being the writer himself.