Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

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Who said "Du calme, du calme, adieu"?

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Before Marlow departs for Africa, his doctor says this statement to him. This statement is interesting because the doctor is saying it to him in warning about the potentials of madness, yet his warning is to "be calm." Thus, there is an irony presented that echoes the ideas of the novella, since the whole of the novella is a study of humanity and the line between sanity and madness. It is also interesting that the doctor who is speaking is not a native Englishman and even remarks that Marlow is the first Englishman that he has examined, since that shift from sanity to madness is traced by Marlow's journey from England and "civilized society" to the depths of Africa and the "heart of darkness."

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lit24 | Student

In Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness  Book I Stave II,at the end of his medical examination the doctor advises Marlow not to get easily irritated and annoyed and asks him to keep calm:

`Avoid irritation more than exposure to the sun. Adieu. How do you English say, eh? Good-bye. Ah! Good-bye. Adieu. In the tropics one must before everything keep calm.' . . . He lifted a warning forefinger. . . . `DU CALME, DU CALME. ADIEU.'

This is becasuse Marlow becomes angry and irritated at the strange manner in which the dotor examines him implying that Marlow is mad to sail to Africa: 'Ever any madness in your family?' he asked, in a matter-of-fact tone."The doctor implies that Marlow must be out of his mind and measures his head with an instrument that resembles a calipers and also asks him whether madness runs in the family.

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