Studying The Heart Of Darkness Symbols English Literature Essay

Kurtz ‘s picture. It is a adult female, blindfolded and transporting a lighted torch. Although adult females did non take portion in the imperialistic actions, she represents the civilised blind white work forces coming to Africa to edify the indigens. She is blind because the Europeans were non able to see the harm they were making to native Africans with their endeavors, and they were besides blinded by the greed.

The whited burial chamber. It refers to the lip service of the Companies and the European civilized society, so beautiful in their purpose of educating the barbarians from Africa but black and corrupted in their existent actions and intents. It alludes to a scriptural transition in the book of Matthew when Jesus talk to the Pharisees and name them dissemblers ( Matthew 23: 27-28 A?27 Woe to you, instructors of the jurisprudence and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed graves, which look beautiful on the outside but on the interior are full of dead work forces ‘s castanetss and everything unclean.28 In the same manner, on the exterior you appear to people as righteous but on the interior you are full of lip service and wickedness.A? ) .

Two knitting adult females. They are knitting the fate of a human life harmonizing to the Ancient Greeks. The yarn made of black wool represents Marlow ‘s atrocious and flooring trip to the jungle.

Heads on the sticks. It symbolizes Kurtz ‘s inhuman treatment and atrocity.


*Red. Found on the maps used by the Companies. It symbolizes the blood of the indigens and the animate beings killed by the white work forces in their activity of educating black work forces and acquiring tusk.

*Yellow. Besides found in the maps of the Companies. It symbolizes unwellness and corruptness. Those were the countries devastated by ivory trade.

*Blue. On the H2O of the river, the sea and the sky. It represents repose and silence.

*Brown. Dark, about like black.

*Black. The same as in darkness.

*Green. It represents nature, life, and new things.

13-Candle on the steamer. Merely at the minute before Kurtz dies on the ship, Marlow brings a taper to Kurtz ‘s quarters. This candle represents the conflict fought by Kurtz to last. Finally Kurtz dies and Marlow blows out the taper.

14-West and East. Harmonizing to the Egyptians and the Greeks the West symbolizes the land of the Satan because of the decease of the Sun, the coming of darkness. And the East, on the contrary, represents the land of God because the Sun is born in the East and with it comes the visible radiation.

15-Pilot. It is a figure of the Greek Mythology. The pilot guided dead psyches into the H2O to another dimension between Earth and Eden. So we consider that it represents the journey towards decease.


*Cirlot, J, A lexicon of symbols, 2nd edition, Barnes & A ; Noble Books, New York, 1995.

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Allusions to the Roman Empire:

Rome became one of the most of import Empires of the universe through domination and enlargement. It dominated most of Europe and the Mediterranean part. Being Heart of Darkness a narrative about Imperialism, allusions to the first greatest Empire are important. Marlow recalls the Roman conquering of Britain as they were the precursors to European enlargement in Africa. These mentions to the Roman Empire are:

i?¶Gauls. This is a historical allusion to a name used in the context of Ancient Rome in mention to the part of Western Europe come closing present twenty-four hours France and Belgium. The Gauls were Gaelic people populating in Gaul. This district was conquered by Julius Caesar. The civilizations of the Gauls and the Romans merged to make what is known as the Gallo-Roman society. The Romans brought roads, Bridgess and baths to Gaul, whilst the Gauls shared their workmanship.

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i?¶ Trireme: it is an Ancient Roman ship with three grades of oars in each side. The trireme was built for velocity and mobility. This was a mark of the power of The Roman Empire.

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i?¶ Falernian Wine: it was a sweet white vino rummy by Emperors and produced in Ancient Rome.

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i?¶ Ravenna: this is a geographical allusion to the site of an of import Roman naval base in Northern Italy.

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i?¶ Toga: this is a cultural allusion to the one-piece garment which has become closely associated with Ancient Rome, where it was the official province garment and a symbol of Roman culture..

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i?¶ Ave! Old knitter of black wool. Morituri Te salutant. Literally, “ Hail! Those who are about to decease salutation you ” ; a salutation of the gladiators in ancient Rome to whomever was hosting their tourneies. Marlow uses this phrase comparing the knitters to the Roman Emperors who are the 1s in charge of the gladiator ‘s fate.

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Allusions to the British Navy:

Britain had ever been proud of her naval forces. Mentions to this fact are found in the manner the nameless storyteller negotiations about those work forces and ships which followed the tidal currents and made the state proud.

i‚· Sir Francis Drake and the Golden Hind: Sir Francis Drake was an English sailing master ( 1540? -1596 ) . The first Englishman to sail around the universe, which he did in his ship the Golden Hind ( 1577-80 ) . Participated in the licking of the Spanish Armada ( 1588 ) .

i‚· Sir John Frankly and the Erebus and the Panic: Sir John Frankly was a British adventurer ( 1786-1847 ) . With his ships the Erebus and the Terror, he set out for the Arctic in 1845 to seek for the Northwest Passage-an expedition that ended, tragically, in the deceases of all members.

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Biblical Allusions:

o The white burial chamber: this is an allusion that comes from the scriptural Book of Matthew. A sepulchre implies decease and parturiency. In the Bible, this phrase is used to depict a dissembler. The allusion in Matthew is “ beautiful to look at on the outside, but inside full of crud and dead work forces ‘s castanetss ”

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Allusions to darkness/evil figures

i?? ” With a bifurcate small face fungus and a aquiline nose “ “ A black figureaˆ¦it had horns ” : this could be taken as an allusion to the Satan

i?? Inferno: a literary allusion to hell as described in Dante ‘s Divine Comedy.

i?? Mephistopheles: it is a literary allusion from the heroic poem verse form Faust, by Goethe. Mephistopheles was a skeptic, a gambler, self- confident, witty, obstinate, smart, originative, alluring and of class, evil character. Much like today ‘s rough readings of the Satan. There were really dry things about him. Though he was evil, he was a force of goodness. The immorality in him was portrayed in the negative facets of Faust ‘s personality, which showed that no affair how powerful the Lord was, the Satan would ever hold an impact on a individual ‘s life and determinations. In the narrative it is used to mention to the director ‘s undercover agent, portraying in him the influence that such a devil figure ( the director ) could hold on person.

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Other Allusions

i⤠The greatest town on Earth: an allusion to London metropolis as the image of advancement and wealth of the nineteenth century.

i⤠The sepulchral metropolis: used to mention to Brussels that was where the Company central office were placed.

i⤠El Dorado Expedition: this is an allusion to El Dorado. El Dorado is a fable that began with the narrative of a South American tribal head who covered himself with gold dust and would plunge into a lake of pure mountain H2O. Imagined as a topographic point, El Dorado became a land, an Empire, the metropolis of this legendary aureate male monarch. Francisco Orellana y Gonzalo Pizarro departed in a celebrated and black expedition towards this lost metropolis.

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i⤠Martini Henry cartridges: it refers to a rifle that was adopted by the British ground forces in 1871 and continued in service colonial responsibilities until after 1900.

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