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Darkness and Light in “Heart of Darkness”

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  1. Introduction
  2. The two worlds where Marlow travels
  3. Marlow as a symbol of light
  4. The gray areas described as 'false light'
  5. Conclusion
  6. Works cited

The battle between light and darkness is being waged right now, in every corner of the earth. This war has been fought since time began. In every realm of society, opposites counterbalance each other. The balance of powers in the government allows the American people to have a say in the political happenings of the country, while the balance of mass and gravity keeps Earth in orbit around the sun. A balanced diet keeps a person healthy, while a balanced scale portrays equality and justice in the world of lawmaking and law enforcement. In the realm of physics, action and reaction are required to obtain balance, proving it cannot be acquired by mere passiveness. The necessity of balance is also true of every other set of opposites. This proposal, deemed by Florence Ridley as ?the balance of opposites, a core of faith versus hollowness?light versus darkness,? is inherent to the meaning of ?Heart of Darkness?

[...] This darkness is seen in the grove of death and the somber oil sketch of the woman in black at one of the stations. The Company itself is a whitewashed sepulcher, dealing out sickness, slavery, and death under the guise of civilization. By the end of his tale, Marlow knows the Company for what it is- a whitewashed tomb. In the book of Matthew, Jesus says, to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outsides but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean? (Mt. [...]

[...] The constant struggle between light and darkness depicted in ?Heart of Darkness? is just one illustration of the balance of opposites present in the world. In the many symbols of light and darkness in this story, Conrad portrays the vast, vain attempt of the darkness to overcome the light. The symbolism embodied in the teetering balance of light, darkness, and the whitewashed façade of hypocrisy gives the narrative an imagery of gloom and a depth of meaning that provokes any curious mind to consider it. [...]

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