Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad is a depiction of the West’s hegemony in 1899. The novella has subsequently been interpreted in several different directions and has been criticized from a post-colonial perspective for being anti-imperialist to racist and sexist.
The novella centers around Marlow, a reflective sailor, who travels up the Congo River to meet Kurtz, a notorious man of great abilities.
The novella is full of symbols and metaphors, which already appear in the title as mentioned above.
One of the most important symbols in the book is the Congo River which can be seen as a symbol on Marlow’s inner journey, so the further up the river he goes
the further away from himself and the values he brought from home. You could say that Marlow's experiences are a horror in themselves. But who is really experiencing the greatest horror? Marlow or Kurtz?
The horror of Marlow and Kurtz’s experiences are the consequences of the white man’s oppression.
In the beginning of the story Marlow is very drawn to Kurtz’s mysterious character. Throughout the time that Marlow hasn’t met Kurtz,
he develops an extreme desire to meet him. By the time Marlow and Kurtz meet, Marlow is already aware of the similarities they share.