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The Conflict between Truth and Ideals in Heart of Darkness The story Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad is concerned as much with the journey into the darkness of mans soul as it is with the literal journey into unknown lands The protagonist Marlow describes the moral dilemmas that outweigh the physical ones to his confidantes upon his return to England Propelled by a lifelong curiosity over the blank spaces of the Congo Marlow ventures into the Congo as a poised voyager Throughout his journey Marlows ideals of western influence conflict with the moral and physical ruins which he finds along the Congo In his quest to meet his predecessor Kurtz Marlow is forced to examine his worldview and admit the contradiction between the truth and his ideals Throughout the story we are introduced to a bevy of characters representing different outlooks However the personal conflict Marlow faces gives the story its depth and crisis Marlow appears to take pride in civilization and noble conquest However the narrator foreshadows Marlows inner conflict by saying that for Marlow the meaning of an episode was not inside like a kernel but outside enveloping the tale which brought it out only as a glow brings out in a haze Pickering 285 Most of Marlows journey centers on the character of Kurtz however it is not Kurtzs behavior that causes the conflict Before meeting Kurtz Marlow paints a picture of him as a brilliant pioneer However most of what Marlow hears about Kurtz is diluted or false What manipulate the epiphany for Marlow are the events surrounding his search for Kurtz which illuminate his distortion of reality A critical source of conflict for Marlow comes from his ideas of civilization versus savagery For Marlow the European conquerors represent civilization which bears a responsibility to reform the African savages Marlow sets out for the Congo expecting to find support for his hope that European civility is a role-model for
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