Heart of Darkness provides us with some very ponderable interesting characters. Two of my favorites : the educated and nomad harlequin surviving in the wild ;an adventurer, a seeker and the second, Mr Kurtz who is larger than life and a Superhuman persona, embodying madness, as is their due. He represents the lofty ideals of the educated invader who has 'ideas' and big ones too! They could not be forsaken and was considered his duty to share with the world. And he was savagery personified. A man who had given up his cultivated persona and had succumbed to sin and ventured into the darkest recesses and ultimately lost his marbles. But he still exercises a control over those that know him, an enigma, the intense magic that gives a sultry call to the journeyman and leads him astray. Marlow becomes his victim. The darkness almost engulfs him, but an act of kindness serves as his salvation.
Although Heart of Darkness was one of the first literary texts to provide a critical view of European imperial activities, it was initially read by critics as anything but controversial. While the book was generally admired, it was typically read either as a condemnation of a certain type of adventurer who could easily take advantage of imperialism’s opportunities, or else as a sentimental novel reinforcing domestic values: Kurtz ’s Intended, who appears at the novella’s conclusion, was roundly praised by turn-of-the-century reviewers for her maturity and sentimental appeal. Conrad’s decision to set the book in a Belgian colony and to have Marlow work for a Belgian trading concern made it even easier for British readers to avoid seeing themselves reflected in Heart of Darkness. Although these early reactions seem ludicrous to a modern reader, they reinforce the novella’s central themes of hypocrisy and absurdity.
The vivid language of maps becomes more interesting when we consider that the word “darkness” retains its traditional meaning of evil and dread. The fact that Marlow applies the concept of darkness to conquered territories may indicate Conrad’s negative view of colonialism. We read clearly that colonists are only exploiting the weakness of others. Their spreading over the world is no nobler than violence and thievery. On the map, places that are blank and devoid of outside interference are apparently the most desirable for certain people.