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How Marlow (from Heart Of Darkness) Embodies Campbell's Heroic Journey (Essay Sample)


the essay required the writer to Write about how Marlow (from Heart of Darkness) embodies Campbell's Heroic Journey.

Name Instructor Course Date Marlow’s Heroic Journey. Introduction The Heart of Darkness is a story about exploration and the imperialism of the European nations in Africa and features Marlow as the main character. It begins in a rather gloomy background along the river Thames as Marlow is setting off to Africa. Marlow is excited about the journey as he had always longed to explore the continent. Marlow admits, “When I grow older, I will go there” (Conrad 10). At the first station base, he gets to hear about Kurtz, a man seen by many as the greatest agent of the European Company in Africa. He later meets Kurtz and realises that he is not all that people say he is. He calls him a savage. Marlow detests the way Kurtz has idolised himself to the natives. Kurtz dies and gives his works to Marlow. Marlow returns to England and meets several people among them Kurtz’s family. This paper seeks to write how Marlow embodies Campbell’s Heroic Journey. Theoretical Framework The mono-myth of a hero’s journey asserts that all heroes are variants of the same and share a common background despite different settings. A hero’s cycle begins and ends in the ordinary world (Campbell 17). After that, he answers the call to adventure and ventures into unfamiliar territories. Campbell notes that the fear of leaving the comfort zone and entering the unknown holds the treasure that one seeks (Campbell & David 29). Phases of the adventure pathway include answering a call to adventure, departure, crisis, seeking wealth and returning to the ordinary world. Myths of individuals are attempts to actualise higher potential and find a unique pathway to bliss. Ordinary world We are introduced to Marlow alongside other sailors at a ship along the Thames. Marlow is pondering about how civilisations have come to exist. He realises that England, before the intervention of the Romans was just as Savage as Africa (Conrad 14). River Thames offers a way straight into the Heart of darkness. He sees the heart of darkness as something that is both external and internal. The journey is figurative. He asserts that a Negro is no more than his white counterpart and that race is constructed but not biological. Modernism just like imperialism is a double-edged sword. He questions the Britons imperialism saying that we dwell in a flicker that may last as long as the world exists. He describes Brussels as pure on the outside but dark in the inside; a civilisation founded on immoral grounds. Call to Adventure Marlow, a sailor for years, has always longed to visit Africa. He gets a job with the European Trading company as the skipper of a ship after one captain died in the Congo. As a child, Marlow loved maps and very badly wanted to explore Africa having been fascinated by the colours of the continent (Conrad 22). Campbell & David (35), state that such desires emanate from the psyche and speak to and from the soul. They transmit a communication from the subconscious to the conscious which we experience every day. These symbols are common to all. They cannot be manufactured nor invented or wished away. Assistance In various myths, helpers disguised as fairies visit the hero to supply reminders, messages and advice needed by the hero. In others, the helper is such as a teacher who acts as a conductor to the afterlife. Marlow’s helper is her aunt (Conrad 10). She is a well-connected individual. She uses her influence to help Marlow get a job at the company. She says she can do anything to help Marlow. Departure The journey is long, along the way, he sees a French steamship firing salvos into the continent sees it as absurd. “Amid the sky, waters and earth, there she was, relentlessly firing into the jungle,” (Conrad 82). At the first company base, he sees slaves working; the company calls them criminals. He spends ten days there where he gets to learn about Kurtz. He feels that the Europeans are only but greedy for loot. There is nothing noble about the expedition despite the grand talk of civilising natives. The whole operation of torturing and tormenting natives is sad. The individuation process, where the conscious meets the unconscious had begun. Marlow was now confronting his rejected personality. Conquering one’s rejected character opens an avenue for access to inner strength (Campbell & David 24). By descending deeper and deeper into the psyche, the previous self begins to collapse, and a new person begins to form. Campbell (28) notes that by undertaking the dangerous journey into the darkness of the spiritual realm either intentionally or unintentionally, one soon finds himself in a backdrop of symbolism. Marlow realises that he no longer approves of what is going on at the Congo. Trials, advances and predicaments Reclaiming the boon is not an easy undertaking. More often than not, it proves more difficult than even starting in the first place. Tribulations can either be physical, emotional or psychological. The first strenuous undertaking Marlow faces is repairing the ship. He describes it as a daunting task; there were limited supplies which were not even available. Marlow struggled to get rivets. After that, he mounts the ship and sets sail along the Congo River. It is here that he stumbles upon the grove of death. “Black bodies lay abandoned, some bent, others in between the trees leaning against the trunks in pain and despair”(Conrad 84). “They were not criminals or enemies. They were barely recognisable and were dying slowly.” (Conrad 84). Marlow sympathises with the natives; he regrets that they have to go through such agony. He juxtaposes the situation with that of the company’s accountant who is working seemingly undisturbed by his environment. “Angry and scary noises rent the air, and them from the jungle, the natives, scream in fear and despair.”(Conrad 69). "There was turmoil in the jungle; the spray of arrows ceased, and then came silence." (Conrad 69). The Nellie comes under attack from the natives and Marlow uses the ship's siren to scare them away. He loses his helmsman in the attack. Marlow meets Kurtz and gets to know the truth about him. He is awed and admired for evil. He imposes himself as a god to the natives. They worship him. He has rituals for that purpose. Kurtz uses natives loyal to him to raid villages and uses threats and violence to get them to fetch ivory in the communities. Rebels, the natives that disapprove of Kurtz, are killed, and their heads mounted on poles. Marlow is disgusted and calls him a savage. The manager of the company admits that Kurtz has done the company more harm than good as his methods are very unsound (Conrad 67). However, the company does not want this news to reach the world. Marlow decides that he will not bring back the infamous Kurtz. Meanwhile, Kurtz is very sick. He still wants to live on to continue his noble undertaking. On one night, he escapes, but Marlow catches up with him and forces him to return to the ship. Marlow wants Kurtz to leave so that his vile deeds may stop. He realises that Kurtz deeds are the dark shadow of Congo. However, natives wail and cry at Kurtz’s departure. Kurtz dies and leaves his diary and works with Marlow (Conrad 79). His works includes a report to the International Society recommending that all the natives should be ki...
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