Belgium Congo

Consider the importance of setting in any one text – The Heart of Darkness

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(689 words)

Joseph Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness is not a story without its settings; the nightmarish journey of Charlie Marlowe (our narrator) into the unknown where we find ourselves traveling by boat to and in the Belgium Congo in 1890. The use of this setting shows and explains the exploitation of a colonial country and challenges the basic ethical question of good and evil of mankind. Marlowe’s setting is perfectly placed to give the reader a glimpse of the political environment of the Congo and the African exploration that was quite popular in Conrad’s day.

Although most of the action in The Heart of Darkness is set in the uncivilized jungles of the African Congo, the tale itself is narrated by Charlie, an experienced sailor aboard a pleasure boat with four other Englishmen as they lounge on the deck at the mouth of the Thames River outside London. Charlie sits Buddha-like to narrate his story. Here, the reader gets a glimpse of the Thames as a mighty river at sunset with the gauzy radiant lights of civilized London, which reflect on the river’s surface. This is represented where both the time of day and the spot are significant. It’s sunset. As the tale turns gloomier, images of darkness get more and more pervasive. The evening grows gradually darker, so that by the time Marlow finishes, late in the night, his listeners have literally been enveloped in darkness.

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Consider how criticism might engage with race and religion (through two texts)

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(889 Words)

Race and religion can form vital parts of any play or novel; history has proved that tension, be it through different religions/ races of people, has stirred up many conflicts. In this essay, I will refer to two texts namely ‘The Jew of Malta’ by Christopher Marlowe and ‘The Heart of Darkness’ by Joseph Conrad. I would like to show how criticism can engage from a story and that we can see the undertones of the text that shows racial and religious streams of thought and action. These narratives both show the act of colonialism/countries powers, which are true accounts of the Christian colonizers and the Turkish Siege of Malta as well as King Leopold and the Belgium Congo.

The Jew of Malta – Christopher Marlowe

Initially, The Jew of Malta resonates with themes of religious tension, which was a parallel to the time, in the sixteenth century. There were not many Jews in England during this time. Jews in England secretly practiced. Many Jews who were born into the Jewish faith either converted or pretended to be Christians. Criticism can be pointed not only towards the non-secular people in England but also where this play tries to deal with the anti-semitic feeling that was rife throughout the whole of Europe. The Jewish people did not believe in Christianity, so they were a threat to social order. English Protestants felt that Jews were outsiders as well as Muslims and Catholics. Marlowe forces the reader to re-examine the factors that were the start of internationalism. It makes the reader comment about the internal affairs at that time. The subject of commerce and internationalism had a role in the unfolding drama that could be equal to the effects of antisemitism.

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