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Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Marlows lie - Essay Example

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In the novel “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad, different issues are discussed. A novel, full of symbolism, still is very interesting for contemporary readers and critics. This research paper is focused on Marlow’s lie discussion as an embodiment of a character’s development on the background of darkness…
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Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Marlows lie
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"Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Marlows lie"

Download file to see previous pages Marlow’s lie is in the focus of further discussion on the example of his interpretations of Kurtz’s phenomenon. He claims that he does not lie, though he confirms that there were three cases when he lied: the station manager, Kurtz and the Intended heard wrong things from Marlow (Stape, 2004). Marlow lies throughout the novel though contextual background of the novel differs greatly. He is thrown back and forth from savage customs identification and civilized behavior distinction. His further ideas and behavior are developed under conditions of blurred borders between noise of savage and civilization: “Yet despite Marlow’s insistence, all binary oppositions collapse in the course of his narrative: colonists prove to be conquerors, the gang of virtue is indistinguishable from the gang of greed, the illusions of women merely echo the illusions of men, and there is no clear distinction between lies and truth” (Kaplan 1997, p. 323). This way, Marlow’s attitude to lie can be interpreted in these frames. Moreover, his acts of lying can be considered on three main backgrounds: his desire to preserve his own ideas about Kurtz, lie as an act of humanity and lie as a means of reality hindrance. Marlow’s lie: lie for what? Generally speaking, Marlow is a complicated and interesting character depicted in the novel. The author intentionally contrasts a human nature to black background. Maybe, Conrad’s intention was to show the darkness of human inner world and not the darkness of African continent: “The monstrous prevails and the human and artistic potential miscarries. There is a downward tug in Kurtz's involvement with the wilderness and he descends into a brute existence” (Billy 1997, p. 26). Madness dominates in the inner world of Kurtz. Kurtz reflects a dualistic human nature. Lights and darkness exist one by one. When darkness starts prevailing, then anarchy exists everywhere. A strange and dualistic nature of human darkness can be defined as “something strange that derives its existence from the hinterland of man's mind, as if it had emerged from the abyss of prehuman ages, or from a superhuman world of contrasting light and darkness. It is a primordial experience which surpasses man's understanding and to which in his weakness he may easily succumb" (Boyle 1964, p. 160). Marlow should not be considered as a liar. He talked about darkness of London in Roman epoch. Romans conquered Britons and Conrad talked about the Belgians conquering Africans. Generally, Conrad intended to show an inner struggle of the self within his inner world. A personified symbolism (Bloom 1987, p. 34) of the ways human soul fights against duality and lie is shown by Conrad throughout the paper. Marlow’s lie is interpreted by Brown (2004) as follows: "Despite his [Marlow's] earlier avowal of a profound aversion to lying, Marlow has already admitted to sacrificing truth to expediency on three previous occasions" (Brown 2000, p. 14). Still, Brown’s arguments are often criticized. It is necessary to discuss what is lying for Marlow in more details. A breakdown of Marlow's character could be seen when he lied to the Intended. Marlow wanted to give a wrong impression about what happened. Marlow’s intention to give a different representation of real facts to public about himself was seen from the very beginning of the novel, when he sat like Buddha. In that case he wanted to show that he takes nothing with him, but peace. Further wanderings and adventures of Marlow revealed real intentions of this character. Therefore, lying accompanies Marlow throughout the novel. In case when he needed more rivets for his boat, he asked the brickmaker about them but did it through lying. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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