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Heart of Darkness: Evil-Dante's Inferno

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Alisha Bounsana

on 26 November 2012

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Transcript of Heart of Darkness: Evil-Dante's Inferno

Zoë Everett and Alisha Bounsana Heart of Darkness: Evil-Dante's Inferno Dante and Marlow Similarities Kurtz Kurtz is a petty tyrant, a dying god, an embodiment of Europe, and an assault on European values. Essentially, he is "weak" like the devil: seeming to hold power over this huge vast of land and stronghold since everybody talks him up, but he is nothing but pitiful and unfearful. going on a journey
display feelings of regret
naïve of the situations around them
- deaths of the natives; sinners Differences Dante is more virtuous
Dante is reaching for a goal on his quest
Marlow is just there on an adventure
Dante is cleansed at the end of his journey, more religious
Marlow isn't "cleansed" until he tells his "Sailor's Tale" "Mind," he began again, lifting one arm from the elbow, the palm of the hand outwards, so that, with his legs folded before him, he had the pose of a Buddha preaching in European clothes and without a lotus-flower" (5). Marlow is being described as Buddha which symbolizes enlightenment, truth and reconciliation of the world. His experiences in the Congo have made him reflective and somewhat philosophic and wise. "Marlow wants to find out about himself. In his work it is "the chance to find yourself. Your own reality," which he likes..." (Ridley). This just goes on to prove that Florence H. Ridley, author of "The Ultimate Meaning of Heart of Darkness" believes Marlow's perception of himself is something he is curious about. The Jungle-Hell "But there was in it one river especially, a mighty big river, that you could see on the map, resembling an immense snake uncoiled, with its head in the sea, its body at rest curving afar over a vast country, and its tail lost in the depths of the land..." (7). The Congo River resembles a snake, one of the most notable symbols of evil and deception. The Congo is very much like Hell because of the evils displayed by the Europeans (sinners). Satan "I've seen the devil of violence, and the devil of greed, and the devil of hot desire; but, by all the stars! these were strong, lusty, red-eyed devils, that swayed and drove men - men, I tell you. But as I stood on this hillside, I foresaw that in the blinding sunshine of that land I would become acquainted with a flabby, pretending, weak-eyed devil of a rapacious and pitiless folly. How insidious he could be, too, I was only to find out several months later and a thousand miles farther" (16). Marlow describes the white men who have tried to humanize the Africans as devils. Even though Marlow and the rest of the men have talked Kurtz up to be this well respected man, it contrasts the good that these men think they are doing. Works Cited Moncur, Michael. "Joseph Conrad: Heart of Darkness." Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Literature Page, 2003. Web. 14
Nov. 2012.
Ridley, Florence H. "The Ultimate Meaning of Heart of Darkness." Nineteenth-Century Fiction 18.1 (June 1963): 43-53. Rpt. in
Literature Resource Center. Detroit: Gale, 2012. Literature Resource Center. Web. 9 Nov. 2012 Diction "'Ah! my boy, trust to this – I say, trust to this.' I saw him extend his short flipper of an arm for a gesture that took in the forest, the creek the mud, the river – seemed to beckon with a dishonouring flourish before the sunlit face of the land a treacherous appeal to the lurking death, to the hidden evil, to the profound darkness of its heart. It was so startling that I leaped to my feet and looked back at the edge of the forest, as though I had expected an answer of some sort to that black display of confidence" (34). This is when Marlow is talking to the manager's uncle. He is talking about how evil Nature is.
-Seventh Circle: Violence against Nature, tying back to Inferno. "You should have heard him say, 'My ivory.' Oh, yes, I heard him. 'My Intended, my ivory, my station, my river, my - ' everything belonged to him...everything belonged to him - but that was a trifle. The thing was to know what he belonged to, how many powers of darkness claimed him for their own. That was the reflection that made you creepy all over. It was impossible — it was not good for one either - trying to imagine. He had taken a high seat amongst the devils of the land - I mean literally" (49). "A black figure stood up, strode on long black legs, waving long black arms, across the glow. It had horns - antelope horns, I think - on its head. Some sorcerer, some witch-man, no doubt: it looked fiendlike enough" (66). Marlow is talking about Kurtz and how the desire for ivory consumes him.
Fourth Circle: avarious Evil
Inferno Questions By the end of the novel, how does Marlow truly feel about Kurtz?
What difference would it create in the story if Marlow would have told the truth to Kurtz?
What is Marlow's sole intention for his story telling? The Big Idea Marlow is alike to Dante as Kurtz is to the devil.
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