•Teodor Jozef Konrad Nalecz Korzeniowskiwas born in 1857 in Poland•His father Apollo was arrested by ImperialRussian Autorities for helping organise theJanuary uprising. Then his family and Josephwere exiled in Russia. Soon both his parentsdied.•He was grown up by his uncle that made himlove the sea. His uncle allowed him to travelat the age of 16 to Marseille avoiding theenlistment in tsarist army.•Conrad begun his career as a seaman, first infrench ships then in english ones. There hecould learn english, his third language.•In 1890 he recived a commission as asteamboat’s captain directed to Congo•His career as a seaman and his journeys werevery important because they were subject ofthe majority of his works such as: The Niggerof Narcissus, Youth, Lord Jim, Nostromo,The Heart of Darkness and The Shadow Line.•He died in 1924 in Ukraine. He was buried inCanterbury cemetery under his original polish
Charlie Marlow, amariner, is on theship called Nelliewith four friendsand he his talkingabout a travel hedid many yearsbefore for a belgiancompany in Congo.Marlow’s task is tocarry ivory from thecontinent to the coastand then it will be sentin Europe.
When Marlow arrives to theCompany station he hears for thefirst time Kurtz’s name.Kurtz is acompany agentwho is moreefficent thanothers in ivorysupplying. He’slost from a longwhile and hebecomes an idol
Marlow is a steamboat captain and hisgoal is to bring Kurtz back to hismotherland because he’s sick. Marlowmeets Kurts in the forest and he findsout that he makes horrible rites.Marlow asks him explanations but hedies whispering the words:
MarlowMarlow as well as Conrad had alwayswished to visit Africa since he was a child,both visited Congo on a steamboat andthey both were shocked by brutalities ofcolonialism.Marlow is tough, honest, capable man,modest and he makes this travel as amythical journey in search of the self. Histemper allowed him not to tragress hislimits.Moreover he’s against imperialism andin his internal dialogue he realises thatAfricans aren’t beasts but they are ashuman as Europeans are. He criticizesthe Company and in general europeanidea of colonization because theyexploit natives for economic gain andthey don’t educate this people in orderto improve their social condition.
KurtzKurtz is a very important character of the work. Itis possible to say that Conrad draws inpiration fromGeorges Antoine Klein to create the character ofKurtz, during his travel in Africa in 1890. Kurtz isalways mentioned in the novella even before Marlowmeets him, this charismatic character fascinatesnot only Marlow but also the reader. He’s describedas a man superior than others. Kurtz is a Companyagent who leaves from Europe to Congo with nobleintentions, in fact he wants really know this country,civilize it and lead it to progress. Unfortunately hisheart of darkness brings him to ambition and to thedesire to plunder ivory; Kurtz can do these thingsbecause natives don’t rebel against him, they treathim as a Godness, he can do of them what he wants.The contact with wild african nature revealsmonstrous passions and brutal instincts hidden in hisunconsciousness.Kurtz is also attracted by absolute power, he’s the symbol of western modernman who, unlike Marlow, goes beyond all limits if there aren’t any rules thatprevent his freedom. His last words: the horror the horror can be refer toexplotation, to inexplicable rites and in general to the dark side of Europeancolonialism. At the end of the story through psycological analysis it is possible
The Heart of Darkness is set during Belgiancolonialism in Congo of King Leopold II ofBelgium, remembered as the Congo FreeState’s personal owner. This was a privateproject undertaken by the King to extractivory from his personal colony. Under hisreign Congo was subjected to a terror regimeincluding atrocities such as mass killings andmutilations. His brutal colonialism was done inname of philanthropy and anti-slavery. Hispolitics reduced Africans primitivebarbarism, their sanguinary customs and theKing “civilized” them through work.This belgian colonialismwas considered one of themost terrible in a periodof growing doubts aboutimperialist politics. JosephConrad revealed in hisnovel this system ofpolitical and economic dominance. In really it ispossible to considerer that instead of bringinglight in darkness, the civilizing mission shows thedarkness which is in the innerside
Joseph Conrad uses the frame story, a story within astory, even minor characters tell their own stories andstate their impressions about Kurtz. First there’s theframe provided by the invisible narrator who intrucesMarlow, then the novel is characterized by shiftsbackwards and forwards in Marlow’s tale. In the Heart ofDarkness and in other works Marlow is the first-personnarrator. Moreover Conrad breaks the normal timesequence and uses time shifts to create the illusion oflife being lived by a large number of people at the sametime.As concerning the set the author prefersThe ship, Congo river and jungle because theseisolated violent and mysterious places bring outproblems and inner conflicts of characters.This romance is also full ofsymbols:brack and white,darck and light.Finally Conrad doesn’twant to amuse hisreaders neither teachthem moral lessons.His task is to explore the meaning of the humansituation and to record the complexity if life as he
The director Francis Ford Coppola made themovie Apocalypse Now drawing inspiration fromHeart of Darkness. This famous movie is verysimilar to Joseph Conrad’s novel as concerningthe two protagonists’ temper and some sets. Onthe other hand there are some differences, forexample in Heart of Darkness one of theprotagonist is called Marlow but Coppola hadchanged his name in Benjamin L. Willard.Moreover Kurtz will died because of the illnessbut in the movie he will be murdered by thecolonel Willard. Even the historical backgroundis different in fact the movie is set during theVietnam war.Movie sountrack is TheEnd by The Doors The famous Ride ofValkyries by RichardWagner in the scene ofhelicopter attack of aVietnamese village
SomecuriositiesHeart of darkness is very famous all over the world. Some tv-series and movies have this book as source of inspiration, theydo quotes. There is even a comic “Mind bomb ”! Its creatortook inspiration from Kurtz for one of his comic’s character.Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons, made anepisode with clear references to this novel.http://www.wtso.net/movie/134-The_Simpsons_1717_Kiss_Kiss_Bang_Bangalore.html