A mankind. Marlowe’s narrative begins by describing how

A central theme in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness journey of its narrator Marlowe. Marlow journeys upriver by a steamer to the Inner Station, where Kurtz’s trading post lies within the heart of the dark African jungle. However, in the process of traveling through the ivory-trading company’s stations Marlowe increasingly comes in contact with the corruption and savagery of mankind.
Marlowe’s narrative begins by describing how he applied for the job to join the traders of the ivory company in Africa. He starts his journey at the headquarters in Belgium, which is described as a white sepulchre that’s desolate and pale like a tomb. Two women dressed in black at the Company’s headquarters greet Marlowe and send him off, which is reminiscent of the Fates of mythology. These women determine that the deaths of the men they meet are likely to happen in the dark jungle. The start of Marlowe’s journey foreshadows the horrors that he will face as he moves deeper into the jungle.
As Marlowe gets closer to the Inner station, he is surrounded by the  enslavement of the African nation’s people. He repairs his steamer eventually and continues upriver into the jungle, this image is central to the novels various themes. The primal power of the wilderness that surrounds him suggests that he is sailing backwards in time to the night of first ages. This ties back to a passage at the beginning of the book when Marlowe says something about how London also used to be one of the dark places on earth. In saying this, he means that in the night of the first ages, the land where London is now was also wilderness that was taken over by explorers who were as greedy as the men in the Company had become after they left civilization. Marlowe sees this happening once again in Africa and how the natives behave because they have never been what he considers to be civilized. He sees the natives dancing to drums while he is going upriver and feels a force within himself that urges him to join them, which would release a darker, more savage side of him. The journey to Kurtz’s Inner Station is a symbol of both the internal journey one goes on and the taking off of the metaphorical rags of the civilized principles and other possessions, as well as the darkness he sees inside himself
Marlowe finally meeting Kurtz is the climax of the novel. He says that Kurtz was a product of all the ideals of Europe, but he has turned into a combination of all the savagery that he has seen in the jungle. In confronting Kurtz, Marlowe has a better understanding of his own darkness when he hears Kurtz’s final words before he dies.

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