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Mythological Approach to Heart of Darkness
Transcript of Mythological Approach to Heart of Darkness
Approach Heart of Darkness Archetypes The Hero A figure larger than life,
Results in his own destruction Loner/Outcast: Separates himself from society,
serves as a contrast to the other
(Can sometimes be the Hero) Kurtz Marlow Villain Personification of Evil,
rarely reformed in the context of the story. Imperialism References and Allusions Dante's Inferno "I felt as though...I were about to set off for the center of the earth" Marlow makes many references to Dante throughout the novel. = According to Dante's interpretation, the center of the earth is hell. Another Example... "My purpose was to stroll
into the shade for a moment;
but no sooner within than it
seemed to me I stepped into
the gloomy circle of some
Inferno" -Marlow Allusion The "two women, one fat and the other slim," who guard the doors of Marlow's journey. They represent the two women from classical mythology, Clotho and Lachesis. One spins the thread of life, and the other woman measures the thread. However, these women do not seem real; they almost are a part of Marlow's dream. This feeling is reinforced when the journey itself is related to the journey in Dante's Inferno. Symbols and Motifs The Congo River The Garden of Eden/
The River Styx The river is shaped like a snake representing the Garden of Eden, and the snake-form that
Satan took on to trick Eve. / In Greek mythology the River Styx is the river leading into Hell or The Underworld. The Buddha - Marlow "Marlow sat cross-legged right aft, leaning against the mizzenmast. He had sunken cheeks, a yellow
complexion, a straight back, an ascetic aspect, and, with his arms dropped, the palms of hands
outwards, resembled an idol" This quotation alludes to Marlow being a Buddha figure, hence the yellow complexion and the
palms of hands facing outwards,sitting-cross-legged and is meditating like Buddha. He resembled an idol (Buddha is indeed an idol) Colors One way that the archetypal images alter the reader's attitude is through the use of light and dark images. According to Jung, the "collective unconscious" associates light images with virtue and dark images with evil. Marlow speaks of "a large shining map, marked with all the colours of a rainbow". He continues, "However, I was going into the yellow". The dull shade of yellow, in comparison to the brilliant splashes of purple and red, gives the reader a feeling of dread regarding Marlow's journey. The ultimate dark image is the "shadow" or "darkness", an embodiment of everything evil. Kurtz is seen as the "shadow" in this novel because his personality is dangerous and threatening. However he does not realize the full impact of his submission to evil until before his death as he cries out, "The horror! The horror!" Another character who is described in terms of colors is the Russian. His clothes are colorful "with bright patches, blue, red, and yellow," and his face is "like sunshine and shadow on a wind-swept plain". Therefore, the reader does not put the Russian into a category of either good or evil. THE END Marlow
Kurtz Bibliography~ http://www.online-literature.com/forums/showthread.php?14085-Literary-Mythological-Allusions-in-