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Essay about The Character of Marlow in Heart of Darkness

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Heart of Darkness has been reviewed by many different critics. There are many issues in Joseph Conrad’s book such as imperialism, cruelty, and how isolation can change a person. A noticeable topic in the book is the ending with Marlow. The book has an outer and inner story. Marlow tells the inner story because it is of his previous experience in Africa. In the beginning of the book, Marlow says that he hates lying yet he lies to Kurtz’s Intended. In order to figure out why Marlow lied and how it affects the story, evidence from different sources must be viewed.
Birgit and Daniel Maier-Katkin focus on the broad topic of how humanity is affected and the banality of evil. They address the “problem of evil in an environment dominated by crimes against humanity: the Congo during the reign of the Belgian King Leopold” (Maier-Katkin 584). They also address the ending of which Marlow lies to the Intended of Kurtz. They describe Heart of Darkness as a tale that “arouses suspense, turns on elements of surprise, and concludes unexpectedly, all the time focusing awareness on aspects of reality that are seemingly inexplicable and inaccessible to reason” (Maier-Katkin 585). The Maier-Katkins also say that the “language hints of earlier creation and the primitive power of less domesticated nature, themes that later dominate the inner narrative” (Maier-Katkin 586). In other words, themes that did not seem quite as important in the beginning hold a greater impact later on in the story. They then give a short summary of the outer frame of the book. After the summary, they dive into the main idea of their work which is the “three brilliant depictions of the origins and nature of evil: the base, primitive, perverse allure of evil in the human heart;...


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.... Both Lewis and Meckier make interesting points in their arguments. Lewis looks at how liberalism affected Marlow’s decisions while Meckier just looked at Marlow lying. Lewis tries to provide an explanation for Marlow’s actions.

Works Cited
Bruffee, Kenneth A. “The Lesser Nightmare: Marlow’s Lie in the Heart of Darkness.” Modern Language Quarterly 25.3 (1964): 322-329. Web.
Lewis, Pericles. “His Sympathies were in the Right Place.” Nineteenth-Century Literature 53.2 (1998): 211-244. Web.
Maier-Katkin, Birgit and Daniel Maier-Katkin. “At the Heart of Darkness: Crimes against Humanity and Banality of Evil.” Human Rights Quarterly 26.3 (2004): 584-604. Web.
Meckier, Jerome. “The Truth About Marlow.” Studies in Short Fiction 19.4 (1982): 373-379. Web.
Stewart, Garrett. “Lying as Dying in Heart of Darkness.” Modern Language Association 95.3 (1980): 319-331. Web.






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