Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Heart of Darkness book cover
Start Your Free Trial

How has Joseph Conrad explored the corruption of the human soul in Heart of Darkness?

Expert Answers info

Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write9,464 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

Kurtz's descent into savagery while stationed in the heart of the Congolese jungle underscores Conrad's exploration into the corruption of the human soul throughout his classic novella Heart of Darkness. Kurtz is portrayed as an enigmatic figure, who initially traveled into the Congolese jungle with admirable intentions of carrying the torch of civilization to the primitive Natives of Africa. Once Kurtz arrived in the dark jungle, he dramatically transformed into an unscrupulous, ruthless tyrant, who appeared as a god before the Natives and led violent campaigns against neighboring tribes in order to accumulate more ivory.

As Marlow reads in Kurtz's report to the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs, Kurtz's primary goal was to portray himself as a deity and "Exterminate all the brutes!" In the heart of darkness, Kurtz regressed to his primitive, uncivilized state and his soul became corrupted in an environment without rules, regulations, or restrictions. Similarly,...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 563 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

agrinwald eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write178 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Lenny Wiza eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write1,485 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

check Approved by eNotes Editorial