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A common theme in both Mrs Dalloway and Heart of Darkness is the shadowing of characters In Heart of Darkness Kurtz acts as Marlows shadow self and as a catalyst that brings Marlow to a realization about himself In Mrs Dalloway Septimus acts as Clarissas shadow self and as well the catalyst that brings her to an understanding of herself In both novels the shadow characters are viewed by their society as being insane and in some ways dangerous either to themselves or to others Both shadow characters die in the end leaving the main characters changed and with a new outlook on life and death A contrast between how the authors use this theme is that in Heart of Darkness the two characters are involved in a very intimate and intense relationship but in Mrs Dalloway the two characters never meet and the parallels are mainly for the reader to connect even though Septimus has a significant impact on Clarissa in the end In Heart of Darkness Marlow is on a journey to the unknown in two ways He is on his way to Africa uncivilized land unknown to many civilized Europeans as well as a journey into the unknown parts of himself This is where Kurtz comes in as the necessary shadow of Marlow Kurtz represents the uncivilized and parts of Marlow that are hidden or that Marlow is fearful of exploring Kurtz having given in to his animal instincts disgusts Marlow Mr Kurtz lacked restraint in the gratification of his various lusts Darkness 97 Marlow feels that the inability to control or restrain that part of human nature is appalling Marlow knows Kurtz is an overwhelmingly powerful man but Marlow also believes that any power Kurtz has is only due to the darkness that he allowed to take over and control his soul But his soul was mad Being alone in the wilderness it had looked within itself and by
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