Civilization Versus Savagery: Exploring the Darkness of Heart in Heart of Darkness

  • Azhar Nawaz Aligarh Muslim University
Keywords: Imperialism, darkness, dehumanization, soul, savage, civilize


The paper seeks to address the question as to what it actually means to be civilized and who the real savages are. The two ideas have been juxtaposed in the context of the novel Heart of Darkness where through the absurdity of the colonial enterprise, the inherent evil in human beings has been explored. Taking up the metaphor of 'darkness of heart' an attempt has been made to expose the cruel face of the civilizing mission of the European imperialism and how power degenerates the souls of people. But the saving grace on the parts of humans is the struggle to overpower the dehumanizing evil forces that can turn them into savages and beasts. The novel focuses more on the damage that colonization does to the souls of white colonizers than it does to the physical death and devastation unleashed on the black natives. This damage to the soul of people is the real evil of imperialism.


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Author Biography

Azhar Nawaz, Aligarh Muslim University

Azhar Nawaz is a research scholar at Aligarh Muslim University.


1. Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. Orient Longman, 2006.
2. Said, Edward W. Culture and Imperialism. Vintage Books, 1993.
How to Cite
Nawaz, A. “Civilization Versus Savagery: Exploring the Darkness of Heart in Heart of Darkness”. Contemporary Literary Review India, Vol. 7, no. 4, Nov. 2020, pp. 74-80,
Research Papers