What is the meaning of the title Heart of Darkness and how does it relate to the story?

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The title can be understood in a number of ways, depending on how you understand the word “darkness.” Here is a short list:

  1. Kurtz’s mysterious encampment is the ”heart” of darkness, the most mysterious place.
  2. The “darkness” is akin to wildness, or nature untamed by man; Marlowe’s journey into the jungle is a journey into the “heart” of this wildness.
  3. “Darkness” can also be understood as moral corruption or greed; Marlowe’s journey up the river reveals the Company’s decay as a result of a force for “civilization."
  4. “Darkness” can be thought of as a kind of madness or psychological condition; in this sense, the title might refer to an inward journey from sanity to madness.
  5. ”Darkness” might mean a kind of primitive essence present in all men. The “heart” of this essence lies in Kurtz’s fate.
  6. ”Darkness“ can be understood ironically, in that the “dark” element of the story is the Europeans; the station in this case becomes the “heart” of...

(The entire section contains 6 answers and 1049 words.)

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