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KAUNAS FACULTY OF HUMANITIES
DEPARTMENT OF GERMANIC PHILOLOGY
ARCHETYPAL PATTERNS IN JOSEPH CONRAD‘S HEART OF DARKNESS
English Philology (State Code 61204H108)
Scientific adviser __________
Graduate student ____________
(Pedagogical and scientific degrees,
name and surname)
Handing-in date _____________
KAUNO HUMANITARINIS FAKULTETAS
GERMANŲ FILOLOGIJOS KATEDRA
ARCHETIPINIAI MODELIAI DŽOZEFO KONRADO NOVELĖJE „TAMSOS
Anglų filologija (Valstybinis kodas 61204H108)
(darbo vadovės pedagoginis laipsnis,
mokslo laipsnis, vardas, pavardė)
Darbo įteikimo data__________
Registracijos Nr. ___________
1. ARCHETYPAL CRITICISM AND LITERARY THEORY..................................................................5
1.1 Carl Gustav Jung: psychological approach to art............................................................................8
1.1.1 Analytical psychology and literature........................................................................................8
1.1.2 Psychological theory and Individuation..................................................................................11
22.214.171.124 Archetype of the Shadow.................................................................................................12
126.96.36.199 Archetype of the Anima...................................................................................................13
188.8.131.52 Archetype of the Self.......................................................................................................14
184.108.40.206 Archetype of the Hero’s journey......................................................................................16
1.2 Maud Bodkin: mythopetics in literature........................................................................................17
1.2.1 Archetypal patterns in tragic poetry........................................................................................18
1.2.2 Reasonable recourse to poetry................................................................................................20
1.3 Mircea Eliade: paradigmatic repetition of divine work.................................................................22
1.3.1 Manifestations of the sacred...................................................................................................22
1.3.2 Homogeneity of space.............................................................................................................24
2. ARCHETYPAL PATTERNS IN JOSEPH CONRAD’S HEART OF DARKNESS.............................27
2.1. The archetypal scheme of the Hero’s journey...............................................................................27
2.1.1 The jungle as the parallel of the unconscious.........................................................................27
2.1.2 Mr. Kurtz as the Shadow figure..............................................................................................36
2.1.3 The Self as reflected in the character of the Russian..............................................................39
2.1.4 The dual image of the Anima..................................................................................................42
2.2 Mythopoetic projections of the woman’s image............................................................................47
2.2.1 The figure of the aunt as the representation of the Mother-goddess.......................................47
2.2.2 The Wilderness viewed as the embodiment of the archetypal Temptress...............................49
2.2.3 The Company women as the symbolic projections of the mythical Fates..............................52
2.3. The revelation of sacred in the novella........................................................................................54
2.3.1 The paradigmatic conquest of the jungle: the profane element..............................................54
2.3.2 The religious nature of the native people................................................................................58
Art by its very nature is not science, and
science by its very nature is not art; both these
spheres of the mind have something in reserve
that is peculiar to them...
Carl Gustav Jung
Carl Gustav Jung (1875–1961) suggested that art cannot be approached by mere scientific
methods. Some space should be left for interpretation and speculation. This BA thesis approaches its
object exactly in such a way.
The object of investigation in the paper entitled Archetypal Patterns in Joseph Conrad’s “Heart
of Darkness” is the novella written by Polish-born British novelist Joseph Conrad (1857–1924). He is
regarded as one of the greatest novelists in the English language and recognized as master prose stylist.
He is a pioneer of modernist literature who influenced such writers as Ernest Hemingway, D. H.
Lawrence and F. Scott Fitzgerald amongst many. T. S. Eliot wrote a poem The Hollow Men (1925) with
the epigraph “Mr. Kurtz – he dead”, the words pronounced by the black man of the manager of the
central station when Mr. Kurtz died. The title also has an allusion to Mr. Kurtz who was “hollow at the
core” (Conrad 1986, 186). Conrad’s experience in the French and British Merchant Navy has
contributed greatly to his works in reflecting the aspects of a worldwide empire while also plumbing
the depths of the human soul. The representatives of different critical schools made a number of
attempts at unlocking the mystery of Mr. Kurtz, who is one of the centre characters of the novella.
However, some of them went to extreme, e.g. as it is in the case of post-colonial criticism that accused
the writer of racism: literary critic Chinua Achebe states that Conrad’s story “better than any other work
I know displays that Western desire and need [to] set Africa up as a foil in Europe” (Achebe). 1 Serpil
Oppermann representing the feminist critical school accuses Conrad of his anti-feminine writing
claiming that here if “the attention is directed to language, and to the ways in which meaning is
produced, a decidedly male realm is encountered” (Oppermann). 2 In her article Heart of Darkness:
White Lies, Karin Hannson claims that the novella “offers a description of a clash between European
and non-European cultures” (Hannson).3
Chinua Achebe An Image of Africa (1900). This paper was given as a Chancellor's Lecture at the University of
Massachusetts. Amherst, February 18, 1975 in http://www.idst.vt.edu/modernworld/d/Achebe.html.
Serpil Oppermann Feminist Literary Criticism: Expanding the Canon as Regards the Novel in
Karin Hannson Heart of Darkness: White Lies in
The author of the paper found Colleen Burke’s essay Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”: A
Metaphor of Jungian Psychology4 most relevant among other critical approaches to Conrad’s novella.
The scholar analyzes the parallel between literary journey of Marlow and real Carl Jung’s journey to
Africa comparing their experiences and casts some light on the Jungian archetypes of Anima, Shadow
and reveals the concept of Individuation developed in Heart of Darkness. Burke suggests that
“Conrad’s novella has become seen as a literary metaphor of the psychological concepts of Carl Jung”
(Burke). She recognizes the character of Mr. Kurtz as a symbol of the collective unconscious and
maintains that “Kurtz is not only the personal Shadow of Marlow, but the collective Shadow of all of
Europe and of European imperialism” (Burke).
In the given thesis, the emphasis will be put on the archetypal pattern of the Shadow in Kurtz
relation to Marlow as the hero. Her other insights regarding the process of Individuation and the
encounter with the Anima will be included, too. The motif of the unconscious viewed in terms of Africa
will also be developed. According to Burke, “Africa has become a topology of the mind – its location,
its shape, its cultures, its textures, its rhythms, its foliage, its hues, its wildness – all calling forth
something lost in the psychology of the white Europeans” (Burke). The the paper will focus on the
analysis of the text within the frame of the archetypal criticism initiated by Jung.
The objective of the paper is to reveal the archetypal patterns in Conrad’s novella Heart of
Darkness. To achieve it the following tasks must be completed:
- to reveal the impact of Jung’s works on literary criticism;
- to define the concept of the archetypal pattern;
- to discover the archetypal patterns in Heart of Darkness;
- to analyze their originality and role in the novella.
The topic is relevant to the contemporary studies of literature since the paper approaches the
novella from the perspective of the complex archetypal literary criticism. The analysis of Conrad’s
work is carried out by employing the critical instruments offered by Carl Gustav Jung, Maud Bodkin’s
mythopoetic approach to literature and the mythical schemes worked out by Mircea Eliade.
The author of the paper will apply Jung’s article On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to
Art (1922) and the work Man and His Symbols (1964) where his archetypal theory is discussed being of
special consideration. In addition, Jung’s ideas will be supplied with Joseph Campbell’s insights,
namely his theory of monomyth and the archetypal pattern of the cultural Hero’s journey proposed in
his study The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949). The author will also employ Maud Bodkin’s
Colleen Burke Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness: A Metaphor of Jungian Psychology in http://www.stjohnschs.org/english/gothic/works/burke.html
scholarly attempts described in her Archetypal Patterns in Poetry (1948). Mircea Eliade’s work The
Sacred and the Profane (1957) will greatly contribute to the analysis of the archetypal patterns, too.
The paper will discuss the archetypes of the Self, the Shadow and the Anima. They will be
considered in the analysis of the Individuation revealed in Heart of Darkness. Jungian Individuation
will also be compared to Joseph Campbell’s concept of the Hero’s Journey during which the Hero
achieves his self-realization. Furthermore, the conscious and the unconscious worlds will be presented
within Eliade’s terms of the sacred and the profane. The conscious will be viewed as the profane mode
of being, whereas the sacred mode of being will stand for the unconscious. The paper will also include
Maud Bodkin’s mythopoetic approach to Jungian archetypal theory. The scholar suggests analyzing a
mythological frame found in a piece of literature by recognizing the archetypal images and themes in it.
The author of the thesis will distinguish the archetypal image of the Mother-goddess and the archetype
of the Temptress as revealed in Heart of Darkness. The images will also be analyzed in relation to
Homer’s Iliad and ancient Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh.
The paper consists of an introduction, two main chapters, each subdivided into three
subchapters, conclusions, a summary in Lithuanian, a list of references and a list of internet sources.
Chapter One is entitled Archetypal Criticism in Literary Theory and is subdivided into three
subchapters. It describes the archetypal literary criticism in general and reveals the individual approach
towards archetypes extended by Maud Bodkin, Carl Jung and Mircea Eliade. The chapter encompasses
the following subchapters: Carl Jung: psychological approach to art; Maud Bodkin: mythopetics in
literature; and Mircea Eliade: paradigmatic repetition of divine work. The first subchapter deals with
the approach of analytical psychology to literary work as proposed by Carl Jung. It also deals with the
scholar’s theory of Individuation which encompasses the archetypes of the Shadow, the Self and the
Anima as well as the archetypal pattern of the Hero’s journey. The second subchapter describes Maud
Bodkin’s mythopoetic view of the archetypal criticism. The scholar’s insights in the field of archetypal
patterns are discussed and the meaning of literary works in conveying them is revealed. The third
subchapter distinguishes two modes of being in the world in the terms of Mircea Eliade. It also depicts
the archetypal patterns by which the paradigmatic work of gods is imitated.
Chapter Two is entitled Archetypal Patterns in Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” and is
subdivided into the following subchapters: the archetypal scheme of the Hero’s journey; Mythopoetic
projections of the woman’s image; The revelation of sacred in the novella. In the first subchapter the
archetypal journey of the Hero is paralleled to the journey of the novella’s protagonist. It identifies the
characters of the story as the archetypes of the Shadow, the Self and the Anima and described how they
operate. The second subchapter follows the mythical frame and distinguishes three patterns of the
archetypal woman in Heart of Darkness. In the third subchapter the sacred and the profane modes of
being are recognized in the native people of Africa and the white colonizers respectively. In addition,
the archetypal pattern of the paradigmatic conquest of the land is revealed.
1. ARCHETYPAL CRITICISM AND LITERARY THEORY
Michael Delahoyde notes that archetypal literary criticism is a type of critical theory which
states that a meaning of a text is determined by cultural and psychological myths whereas the form and
function of a text are formed by archetypes (Michael Delahoyde, Introduction to Literature5).
Archetypes are defined as primordial images recognized by all cultures. A critic interprets a text by
focusing on myths and archetypes in the narrative as well as symbols, images, and character types
which recur in a literary work. Not until 1934 when Maud Bodkin (1875-1967) published Archetypal
Patterns in Poetry it had become a form of literary criticism. However, it originates from the other two
academic disciplines, namely anthropology and psychoanalysis. The latter even became the sub-branch
of literary theory.
Archetypal criticism first of all originates from anthropological discipline and only after thirty
years its psychoanalytic origins are traced. The first significant work dealing with cultural mythologies
was The Golden Bough (1890-1915), written by the Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer
(1854–1941). Frazer was a member of a group of comparative anthropologists who worked extensively
on the topic of cultural mythologies. The Golden Bough was widely accepted as the influential text on
myth that initiated a number of studies mythological studies. Eventually, the influence of Frazer’s work
carried over into literary studies.
In The Golden Bough Frazer identifies rituals and mythological beliefs common both to
primitive and modern religions. He claims that one may find the death-rebirth myth which is re-enacted
in terms of growing seasons and vegetation in almost all cultural mythologies. The death and rebirth of
the god of vegetation, final harvest and spring respectively, are symbolized in vegetation myths.
On the contrary to Frazer, Carl Gustav Jung (1875 –1961) as a psychoanalyst deals with
mythology and archetypes in immaterial terms whereas Frazer’s work is material in its focus (From
Wikipedia). Jung’s work considers myths and archetypes in relation to the unconscious which is an
inaccessible part of the human mind. As Jung sees it, myths make the world of the archetypes as they
represent the deepest recess of the human psyche.
In Jungian psychoanalysis there is a distinction between the personal and collective
unconscious, and only the latter is particularly relevant to archetypal criticism. The scholar defines the
collective unconscious as a number of inherited thoughts, feelings, instincts, and memories that exist in
the unconsciousness of all humanity.
Michael Delahoyde Introduction to Literature in http://www.wsu.edu/~delahoyd/archetypal.crit.html
Jung states that an archetype effects one in a way that creates visualizations of it, namely, the
archetypal images and ideas. This is due to the fact that they exist in an inaccessible part of the mind.
Jung coined the term primordial images to refer to the images which represent archetypes. Primordial
images have been originated at the beginning of humanity and have been part of man’s collective
unconscious ever since. Hence, the function of the primordial images is to enable one to experience
Frazer and Jung see the same death-rebirth myth completely differently. Frazer finds it as being
representation of the growing periods and agriculture whereas from the Jungian perspective analysis
the death-rebirth archetype symbolically expresses a process taking place not in the external world but
deep in the human mind, during which the Ego 6 returns to the unconscious – a kind of a temporary
death of the Ego – and emanates or is newly reborn from the unconscious.
It should be stressed that a significant share of writings in archetypal literary criticism has
resulted from Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious. For Jung, a literary text is the body in which
primordial images are represented by the writer. The archetypal literary criticism emerged in 1930’s
and reached its height only after a decade. Another branch of archetypal literary criticism following
Jungian criticism developed in 1950’s due to the work of Canadian literary critic Northrop Frye (1912 –
1991). The scholar has written the essay “The Archetypes of Literature” (1951) which is a precursor to
his major work Anatomy of Criticism (1959) where he deals with the analysis of archetypes. His work
contributed to New Criticism7 in a way that it became the major mode of analyzing literary texts,
before it was replaced by structuralism, post-structuralism and semiotics.
Frye’s work differs from both anthropological and psychoanalytical approaches offered by
Frazer and Jung. Contrary to Frazer, he treats the death-rebirth myth as not ritualistic because it is
unintentional and must be done. Unintentional means that it is not initiated by men and depends on
natural processes. Considering Jung, Frye finds the collective unconscious not interesting assuming it
to be unnecessary because it cannot be studied due to its unknowable nature. Moreover, he is not
interested in the origins of archetypes and rather focuses on their function in the literary work and their
effect. In Frye’s opinion, literary archetypes enable the reader to adapt to a verbal universe which is
comprehensible and conditioned to human needs and concerns. (From Wikipedia).
The Ego (term defined by Sigmund Freud and developed by Carl Jung) comprises that organized part of the personality
structure which includes defensive, perceptual, intellectual-cognitive, and executive functions. Conscious awareness resides
in the Ego, although not all of the operations of the Ego are conscious. The Ego separates what is real. It helps us to
organize our thoughts and make sense of them and the world around us.
Encyclopedia Britannica defines it as the school of Anglo-American literary critical theory that insisted on the intrinsic
value of a work of art and focused attention on the individual work alone as an independent unit of meaning. It was opposed
to the critical practice of bringing historical or biographical data to bear on the interpretation of a work.
However, there is no doubt that Frye was inspired by Jung as he uses the concept of ‘archetype’.
Yet his approach also differs from the Jungian one in that Frye insists on objectivity and is oriented
towards the text itself whereas Jung as a psychoanalyst is largely author-oriented. Actually, he claims
that the goal of literary criticism is to identify the archetype (or ‘archetypal form’) which is reproduced
in an individual work. For him, the archetypal form of a certain work is identified inductively. Hence,
he suggests starting with the complex verbal and imagery patterns that are found in the text and then
proceed to the analysis of the network of psychological relationships between the characters and the
plot. Frye makes use of an Aristotelian approach to analyzing the plot-structure: the critic has to
identify the genre of the work by analyzing emotions stirred in the reader (sadness and joy stand for
tragedy and comedy whereas in tragicomedy the mixture of the two is possible, too) and goes in
reversed direction to understand how the events of a plot are ordered. Frye states that in order to
understand what the writer means the reader should identify the writer’s pattern or structure which is
inherent in the sequence of events.
According to him, the narrative and imagery patterns of literary works which are thus analyzed should
be related first to myths and only then to human rituals belonging to the world from time immemorial.
Clarke notes that these rituals originated as “responses to or efforts to render intelligible natural cycles
such as the solar cycle of the day, the seasonal cycle of the year and the organic cycle of human life”
(Richard Clarke8). That is, by the help of such rituals men try to make the events or phenomena of
physical world understandable. Rituals represent human attempts to harmonize human and natural
energies. The rituals themselves at some point formalised into ‘myths’ which are, consequently,
essentially narratives constructed around a central human protagonist the pattern of whose actions
reflect or correspond to the natural cycles. (ibid).
Thus, Frye presented the relationship between natural cycles, rituals, myth, and literary genres
in the following way:
Table: The relationship between natural cycles, rituals, myth, and literary genres.
daily / seasonal / human cycle
dawn / spring / birth
zenith / summer / marriage or triumph
sunset / autumn / impending death
myth (based upon an archetypal
pattern of human experience)
the birth, revival, resurrection of the
the triumph, marriage or apotheosis of
the fall, sacrifice, isolation or death of
night / winter / dissolution
the unheroic nature of the hero
Source: Frye presented by Clarke.
comedy; pastoral; idyll
Dr. Richard Clarke NORTHROP FRYE “THE ARCHETYPES OF LITERATURE” (1951) in
Frye states that all literary genres are the variations of the ‘questmyth’ as they have all derived
from it. Therefore, all myths include some kind of quest to achieve some sort of goal. The quest differs
accordingly to the genre since each genre involves a protagonist in a specific pattern of actions. To be
more precise, in the comedy, the hero triumphs whereas in the tragedy he fails or is killed. The hero is
reborn and is criticized in romance and satire respectively. Each pattern of actions and hence each
genre is traceable in a particular cycle, especially that of season, which they correspond to.
Although there are many scholars of archetypal literature each with his/her individual approach
this paper will rely only on those who directly apply Jungian criticism. Thus, the central figure is Carl
Jung whose thoughts will be reinforced by the approaches of the scholar and literary critic Maud
Bodkin and the philosopher and historian of religion Mircea Eliade.
1.1 Carl Gustav Jung: psychological approach to art.
In his article On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry Jung expressed his views “on
the much debated question of relations between psychology and art in general” (Jung). 9 Here he claims
that there is a close connection between art and psychology since “the practice of art is a psychological
activity, and, as such, can be approached from a psychological angle” (ibid). However, psychology
approaches art as the process of creation leaving the question of how art operates to the field of
aesthetics. The scholar states that the psychologist can analyze only the process of artistic creation and
he has no relation to the essence of art.
1.1.1 Analytical psychology and literature.
Although Jung was influenced by Freud, he nevertheless contradicts his teacher by claiming
that a work of cannot be explained “in the same way as a neurosis” and asserts that “it would never
occur to an intelligent layman to mistake a pathological phenomenon for art, in spite of the undeniable
fact that a work of art arises from much the same psychological conditions as neurosis” (ibid). He
further explains that a psychoanalyst is apt to view the work of art as an expression of neurosis due to
his professional bias. Freudian school interprets a work of art in the perspective of the intimate life of
the author. However, Jung claims that due to such an approach “the poet becomes a clinical case and,
Jung, C. G. On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry in http://www.studiocleo.com/librarie/jung/essaymain.html
very likely, yet another addition to the curiosa of psychopathia sexualis” 10 (ibid). Jung suggests
analyzing a work of art by itself since every man (and the poet is unavoidably a man) has certain
human problems. Consider:
One poet may be influenced more by his relation to his father, another by the tie to his mother,
while the third shows unmistakable traces of sexual repression in his poetry. Since all this can be said
equally well not only of every neurotic but of every normal human being, nothing specific is gained for
the judgment of a work of art. At most our knowledge of its psychological antecedents will have been
broadened and deepened. (ibid)
The scholar claims that if a work of art is analyzed by the reductive method offered by Freud 11,
the analysis is not concerned with the work of art itself, it rather “strives like a mole to bury itself in the
dirt as speedily as possible, it always ends up in the common earth that unites all mankind” (ibid.). It
should also be noted that Jung and Freud had different understandings of symbols. The former
identified them as “an intuitive idea that cannot yet be formulated in any other or better way”, and the
latter thought them to exhibit “merely the role of signs or symptoms of the subliminal processes”
(ibid.). Jung claims that the symbols may be manifest themselves not only in dreams. He maintains that
thoughts, feelings, actions and situations may be symbolic as well. For Jung the true work of art is
“beyond the personal concerns of its creator” (ibid.). Thus, it has overcome the limitations of the
personal. The scholar illustrates this by the example of a plant. Consider:
The plant is not a mere product of the soil; it is a living, self-contained process which in
essence has nothing to do with the character of the soil. In the same way, meaning and individual
quality of a work of art inhere with it and not in its extrinsic determinants. One might almost describe it
as a living being that uses man only as a nutrient medium, employing his capacities according to its
own laws and shaping itself to the fulfillment of its own creative purpose. (ibid)
However, it should be mentioned that there are two ways of how a work of art is created. The
first one stands as the opposite of the example given by Jung. Some literary works are created
intentionally by the author who “submits his material to a definite treatment with a definite aim in
view; he adds to it and subtracts from it; emphasizing one effect, toning down another, laying a touch
of colour here, another there, all the time carefully considering the over-all result and paying strict
Curiosa is most commonly used for books or other writings dealing with unusual, especially pornographic and erotic
topics. It is derived from the word ‘curious’. Thus, the whole term stands for a curious instance in the psychology of
Jung explains that “it is essentially a medical technique for investigating morbid psychic phenomena, and it is solely a
concerned with the ways and means of getting round or peering through the foreground of consciousness in order to reach
the psychic background, or the unconscious”. (Jung 1977, On the Relation of Psychology to Art)
attention to the laws of form and style” (ibid). In this case, the author identifies himself with the
creative process either by being its spearhead or turning into its instrument.
In the other case, the works “positively force themselves upon the author; his hand is seized, his
pen writes things that his mind contemplates with amazement” (ibid). Here the poet is identified with
the process of creation since by himself he would never consciously create and employ thoughts and
images imposed by the process. Therefore, it may be assumed that the conscious mind of the artist is
influenced by the unconscious, and Jung maintains that not only the conscious mind may be influenced
by the unconscious in various ways but it may be guided by the latter.
The work of art reveals the difference in its origin itself. On the one hand, it is an intentional
product of the poet; on the other hand, it originated from the unconscious and defies human
consciousness as “insisting on its own form and effect” (ibid). There is something “suprapersonal” in
the latter case, something “that transcends our understanding to the same degree that the author’s
consciousness was in abeyance12 during the process of creation” (ibid). Jung suggests that such works
contain strange forms and thoughts which may only be understood intuitively. They also employ the
language full of images and symbols which express something unknown. He defines the symbol as “the
intimation of a meaning beyond the level of our present powers of comprehension” (ibid).
However, the scholar raises the question whether a work of art has a meaning at all and states
that it has not, since “meaning has nothing to do with art” (ibid). But he also explains that the meaning
must be found in order to think about things and points out that it may be achieved through detaching
oneself from the creative process and assuming the work of art as the image “that expresses what we
are bound to call “meaning” (ibid). The work of art should be recognized as a finished picture in order
it might be analyzed.
The symbols employed by the poet are rooted in the “sphere of unconscious mythology whose
primordial images are the common heritage of mankind” (ibid). Jung terms this sphere the “collective
unconscious” to distinguish it from the “personal unconscious” 13. He attributes the latter to art, too, but
its tributaries do not form a work of art into a symbol whereas the collective unconscious is essential in
forming a symbolic meaning. The scholar defines it as “a potentiality handed down to us from the
primordial times in the specific form of mnemonic images or inherited in the anatomical structure of
the brain”14. (ibid) He suggests that inborn ideas do not exist, but there are inborn possibilities for ideas.
These ideas belonging to the category of a priori ideas appear in the work of art as “regulative
Jung suggests that the reader should reach the same transcendence while reading as the had reached when he was writing
and the work of his conscious mind was suspended.
Personal unconscious is “the sum total of all those psychic processes and contents which are capable of becoming
Conscious and often do, but are then suppressed because of their incompatibility and kept subliminal”. (Jung 1977, On the
Relation of Psychology to Art)
principles that shape it; that is to say, only by inferences drawn from the finished work can we
reconstruct the age-old original of the primordial image” (ibid). According to Jung, the primordial
image, or archetype, is a mythological figure which may be represented by daemons, human beings or
even a process which recurs in the history of humanity and is expressed by the process of free creative
fantasy. If these images were examined more closely, it would be apparent that they are “psychic
residua of innumerable experiences of the same type” (ibid).
Jung states that the peculiar emotional intensity fills the moment when mythological situation
It is as though chords in us were struck which had never resounded before, or as though forces
whose existence we never suspected were unloosed. What makes the struggle for adaptation so
laborious is the fact that we have constantly to be dealing with individual and atypical situations. So it
is not surprising that when an archetypal situation occurs we suddenly feel an extraordinary sense of
release, as though transported, or caught up by an overwhelming power. At such moments we are no
longer individual, but the race; the voice of all mankind resounds in us. (ibid.)
The archetype, whether in a form of immediate experience or the spoken word, stirs the human
mind because “it summons up a voice that is stronger than our own” (ibid). In the power of the
archetype lies the secret of the great art and its impact upon people. The creative process unconsciously
activates an archetypal image and shapes it into a finished work. Therefore, the role of the artist is to
translate it into the present language by giving it shape and to help the reader to find his/her way “to the
deepest springs of life” (ibid). The poet raises the image from the unconscious and provides it in
relation with conscious values so that it could be comprehended by his contemporaries.
1.1.2 Psychological theory and Individuation.
The thoughts expressed in Jung’s article On the Relation of Psychology to Poetry form the basic
knowledge of how the work of art is perceived by encompassing archetypal images the work of art stirs
the readers’ mind as the archetypes are common to all people. Jung concentrates on the creative process
initiated by the unconscious thereby claiming that only in a work of art the primordial images are
shaped. According to Jung, the collective unconscious is expressed in art, literature and myth.
Therefore, the focus of the Jungian literary criticism is specifically on the analysis of the archetypes
Here Jung defines the collective unconscious in much the same way as a year earlier (Psychological Types, pars. 624,
727) he defined the archetype. Still earlier, in 1919, when using the term "archetype" for the first time, he stated: "The
instincts and the archetypes together form the 'collective unconscious'" ("Instinct and the Unconscious," 270). This is in
better agreement with his later formulations. The subject of the above sentence should therefore be understood as the
archetype. (From http://www.studiocleo.com/librarie/jung/essaymain.html#Top)
found in literature and written myths. The author of this paper has chosen to analyze Joseph Conrad’s
novella Heart of Darkness by employing the instrumentarium based on Joseph Campbell’s provided
mythical journey in accordance with archetypes distinguished by Jung. The paper will concentrate on
the archetypes of the Shadow, Anima, and the Self which are essential in describing the process of the
hero’s individuation paralleled to his Journey.
220.127.116.11 Archetype of the Shadow.
In Man and His Symbols (1961), Jung and his colleagues 15 describe the discussed Journey
theory in the language accessible to ordinary people. Jung views the goal of all human beings to reach
individuation, i.e. the state in which the unconscious becomes known and is integrated into the
conscious mind. Hence, any type of the hero presented in fiction may be analyzed from the perspective
of Jungian criticism, as the hero’s movement directs him toward individuation. Individuation is also
defined as an “imperceptible process of psychic growth”. (Franz 1977, 161) During this process the
archetypes of the “Shadow”, “Anima” and “Animus” become known and integrated into the hero’s
consciousness. Franz maintains that for Jung, the Shadow “represents unknown or little-known
attributes and qualities of the Ego-aspects that mostly belong to the personal sphere and that could just
as well be conscious” (Franz 1977, 171). This part of human psyche usually opposes the person’s moral
and religious beliefs. Jung called this part of the unconscious the Shadow because it usually appears as
a dark figure of the same sex in one’s dreams.
When one attempts to see one’s Shadow, he/she starts noticing in other people the qualities and
impulses that were denied in himself/herself. They encompass “egotism, mental laziness, and
sloppiness; unreal fantasies, schemes, and plots; carelessness and cowardice; inordinate love of money
and possessions”. (Franz 1977, 171) The Shadow is a hidden and repressed vile part of man’s
personality. It is laden with guilt and rooted in the world of Animals and ancestors.
Jung states that one may help a person to deal with his/her Shadow only by pointing to it so that
an inner conflict would arise. However, if the strife is not inward, one directs it outwards. The only way
to cease the outward battle is to become a winner in the inner one. There are two ways to solve the
problem if a person does not feel comfortable in his/her inner world. The first one is through suffering
and inner strife, while the second way is to project, to transfer one’s conflict on the other person. If man
Man and His Symbols is divided into five chapters: 1. Approaching the Unconscious, by Carl G. Jung; 2. Ancient Myths
and Modern Man, by Joseph L Henderson; 3. The Process of Individuation, by M.-L. von Franz; 4. Symbolism in the Visual
Arts, by Aniela Jaffe; 5. Symbolism in an Individual Analysis, by Jolande Jacobi.
experiences an inner tension, he can fight without any serious reason, because the reason does not
matter. The person may attack a spouse, a child, an inferior or an Animal with no serious reason.
Although, such attacks diminish the tension, their cause is not eliminated and the person is inclined to
repeat the attacks.
Such a cycle of attacks may be interrupted by acknowledging one’s Shadow. However, the
realization of one’s Shadow is a complicated and painful process. Jung claims that an encounter with
oneself is one of the most unpleasant experiences. Usually, all the negative aspects are attributed to
others and if a person manages to see his/her Shadow and accept it, it will greatly contribute to his/her
solution. However, it is problematic one to accept one’s Shadow, and a person is apt to constantly
project his/her features on others. In this way, the image of the ‘enemy’ might be created, and racial,
national, or political bias for people who are different is formed. Nevertheless, according to Franz, Jung
assumed that it is essential for one’s physical and mental health to accept and integrate the Shadow into
personal psyche since the Shadow “usually contains values that are needed by consciousness, but that
exist in a form that makes it difficult to integrate them into one's life” (Franz 1977, 178). The
awareness and realization, of the Shadow are considered weaknesses whereas its integration and
conscious acceptance in one’s personal psyche becomes one’s strength. Franz refers to Jung’s
perspective that a person’s relation to his/her Shadow depends largely upon the personal choice. He
suggests treating it “exactly like any human being with whom one has to get along, sometimes by
giving in, sometimes by resisting, sometimes by giving love – whatever the situation requires” (Franz
1977, 182). The Shadow becomes hostile only when it is ignored or misunderstood.
18.104.22.168 Archetype of the Anima.
The other significant archetypes in Jungian criticism are those of Anima and Animus. Franz
claims that the Anima is “a personification of all feminine psychological tendencies in a man's psyche,
such as vague feelings and moods, prophetic hunches, receptiveness to the irrational, capacity for
personal love, feeling for nature, and last but not least-his relation to the unconscious” (Franz 1977,
186). According to Jung, Anima may be both positive and negative. The negative Anima shows itself as
a treacherous witch, a bad fairy, temptress and bad goddess in myths and dreams. While in real life, the
Anima is represented by demonic women (or the so called femme fatale). A man who has relationship
with such a woman is usually doomed. When the negative Anima is projected outwardly, men
encounter women resembling literature characters like Karmen or Lady Macbeth. The Anima is
outwardly projected by the men who tend to repress their femininity. For this reason, the Anima thrusts
in by influencing the conscious self if a man has repressed his femininity and assumes that women are
The Anima has also its positive aspects. According to Franz, in its positive role, it appears “as a
mediator between the Ego and the Self” (Franz 1977, 195). One should bear in mind that first of all the
Anima is soul. As such its archetype represents the idea of beauty and spirituality. For Jung, Anima is
incarnated spirituality. Hence, it is usually represented as a goddess, a fairy, a butterfly or a bird. In the
life of a man, the Anima also manifests itself as a creative activity, mood thrusts, intuition, etc.
Franz maintains that Jung distinguished the following stages of the Anima:
The first stage is best symbolized by the figure of Eve, which represents purely instinctual and
biological relations. The second can be seen in Faust's Helen: she personifies a romantic and aesthetic
level that is, however, still characterized by sexual elements. The third is represented, for instance, by
the Virgin Mary – a figure who raises love (eros) to the heights of spiritual devotion. The fourth type is
symbolized by Sapientia, wisdom transcending even the most holy and the most pure. Of this another
symbol is the Shulamite in the ‘Song of Solomon’. (Franz 1977, 195)
While the Anima is a feminine part of the man’s psyche, the Animus is “the male
personification of the unconscious in woman” (ibid, 198). The Animus just like the Anima has the
negative and positive aspects. But the Animus usually represents itself in “the form of a hidden
"sacred" conviction” (ibid, 198). There are four stages of the Animus as well, which correspond to
those of the Anima. The author of this paper will not consider this archetype in more detail as it is
irrelevant in the analysis of Conrad’s novella.
22.214.171.124 Archetype of the Self.
Another important archetype is the Self which according to Franz is defined by Jung in a
popular way as “an inner guiding factor that is different from the conscious personality <…> and
brings about a constant extension and maturing of the personality” (Franz 1977, 163). He suggests that
it is an inborn possibility which develops in relation to “whether or not the Ego is willing to listen to
the messages of the Self” (Franz 1977, 163). The Self guides the Ego by giving it hints and impulses.
Jung considers that the Ego’s function is to help to fulfill the totality or wholeness of human psyche.
The task of the Ego is to notice the possibility for totality and help to achieve the wholeness.
The Self appears when the unconscious changes its dominant character a person has been
dealing seriously and long enough with the Anima (or Animus for women) and he/she does not partially
identify with it (cf. Franz, 207). According to Franz, in women’s dreams, it may be represented as a
superior female figure, e.g. a priestess, earth mother, whereas for men, it may appear as a masculine
initiator and guardian, old wise man, etc. However, the scholar claims that the Self does not necessarily
take these forms and that “these paradoxical personifications are attempts to express something that is
not entirely contained in time – something simultaneously young and old” (ibid, 209).
Franz reminds Jung’s statement that in some cultures, the Self is presented as the figure of the
Cosmic Man or Great Man for Naskapi Indians. The Self is generally assumed as something helpful
and positive. It may even be viewed “as the basic principle of the world” (ibid, 211) and described as
the basic principle of the whole world.
It should be stressed that the symbolic structures lying in number four which seem to refer to a
person’s individuation a particular attention. There are four functions of consciousness16 and four stages
of Anima and Animus. This is due to the fact that the Cosmic Man may be pictured as a gigantic figure
which embraces the entire universe, e.g. P'an Ku17. Other combinations of numbers appear in man’s
psyche only under specific circumstances (cf. Franz, 214).
However, the Cosmic Man is rather an internally oriented image. According to Franz, in Hindu
tradition, “he is something that lives within the individual human being and is the only part that is
immortal” (ibid, 215). In this perspective, the Self guides a person from the sufferings in the world of
creatures into the original eternal sphere. However, this cannot be done if a person does not recognize
the Cosmic Man. In Hindu myths, this figure is presented as Purusha who dwells in the heart of every
individual and fills the entire cosmos at the same time. A number of myths suggest that the whole of
creation originated from the Cosmic Man and the goal of the creatures is to return into him. As Franz
maintains, “the whole inner psychic reality of each individual is ultimately oriented toward this
archetypal symbol of the Self” (ibid, 215).
While the Self is the archetype of wholeness, its opposite is the archetype of the persona. Jacobi
states that for Jung the persona “is a symbol of the protective cover or mask that an individual presents
to the world” (Jacobi, 350). There two functions of the persona, namely to impress people in a certain
purposeful way and to hide one’s inner self from the others. It is also claimed that the optimal number
of masks is two, one for official situations, e.g. work, and the other for casual ones. Considering the
fact that this archetype will not be employed in the analysis of Conrad’s story, a wider discussion of it
will not be given here.
Although the archetypes of the Shadow, Anima/Animus and the Self are most significant in
Jungian criticism, it also focuses on other archetypal aspects. Literary critics may simply check how
The functions of the consciousness are: 1. Simplification and selection of information; 2. Guiding and overseeing actions;
3. Setting priorities for action; 4. Detecting and resolving discrepancies.
P’an Ku was a colossal divine man for the ancient Chinese. He created heaven and earth.
effective a particular archetype in a novel is. The archetypes may act in the following way: the
antagonist of a novel is assumed as the Shadow of the hero, whereas a woman usually symbolizes his
Anima. The hero, who is assumed as the only real agent in a story, tries to achieve individuation, or in
other words, to reach the wholeness and become the Self, archetypally the Ego is integrated into the
126.96.36.199 Archetype of the Hero’s journey.
The process of individuation in a literary work is represented by the archetypal pattern of the
Hero’s Journey. In his The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949) Joseph Campbell (1904–1987) defines
the Hero’s Journey as a sequence of events presented in a story or myth that is common to all mythical
structures. Campbell was an American mythologist, writer and lecturer, best known for his work in
comparative mythology and comparative religion. Campbell was influenced by Jung’s studies of
human psychology. He considered myth in close relation to the Jungian method of dream interpretation,
which relies on symbolic interpretation. The scholar introduces the term monomyth to describe the
pattern observed in all heroic mythology. Every story representing the Hero’s Journey shows him
struggling for psychological wholeness or, in Jung’s terms, individuation (Campbell 18). The Hero’s
Journey is initiated by two main factors, namely an inner drive to go on a quest, or an external call of
those who seek the aid of the hero. The hero may respond to the call immediately, or refuse it at first as
there is usually some resistance to the call. He feels resistant because a journey means leaving a
comfortable state to face an unknown physical and psychological danger. During the first part of the
journey, the hero is usually helped by some guide or supernatural powers. Then he must cross the
threshold into the unknown hostile spaces. The hero may confront a threshold guardian whose aim is to
stop him by discouraging or evoking doubt to cross the threshold. For instance, in Greek myths, such a
guardian is the three-headed dog Cerberus. Campbell suggests that when the hero crosses the threshold,
he symbolically enters his unconscious psyche. Having reached his unconscious, the hero usually
plunges into doubt and is in despair. However, this despair does not last long, and afterwards the hero
enters a “dreamlike labyrinth of tests and trials” (ibid.). After the hero passes through all the trials he
has finally to deal with his feminine side, or Anima. Archetypally, he encounters a goddess and/or
temptress, but this pattern is not common to all myths and religions. The function of a goddess is to
represent sacred marriage, i.e. the union of the masculine and feminine sides; the temptress, in her turn,
Movie “Joseph Campbell: The Hero's Journey” produced by William Free in http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?
tries to lead the hero astray from his path which results in his failure. Before the hero may return to the
normal world he has to meet the figure of father which evokes the final conflict. To solve the conflict
the hero has either to kill the father or to subjugate his power over oneself. However, it may also be
assumed that the “decisive ordeal of the quest is when the hero confronts death” (ibid.). When the hero
completes all the tasks, he is either deified or has a time of rest and relaxation before his return as an
individuated self. The return may be either filled with difficulties or absolutely uneventful. If the hero
achieves true individuation, he becomes transcendental as the Buddha or Christ, or lives with wisdom
throughout his life.
It should be noted that the stages of the Hero’s journey do not always appear in the same order
and sometimes some stage is missing. Moreover, he story may be developed only on one stage, still
bearing the same symbolic meaning.
Although the archetypal pattern of the Hero’s journey is the most common to literary works, in
Heart of Darkness other archetypal patterns are also recognized. Maud Bodkin suggests that the
archetypal patterns may be assumed as the mythological frame which recurs in the form of a theme or a
1.2 Maud Bodkin: mythopetics in literature.
Maud Bodkin is a famous scholar in the archetypal criticism. Bodkin is known for her work
Archetypal Patterns in Poetry (1934) which is a major work in applying the theories of Carl Jung to
literature. In the book she analyses how the archetypes function in literature and how they affect the
The scholar states that when one aims at studying the deeper processes involved in response to
poetry it occurs that extensive methods of research must be replaced by the intensive work in the
experience of individuals “since only by continued direction of attention can one hope to become aware
of those more obscure responses that underlie reactions easily recognized” (Bodkin 1978, iii).
The impact of Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung issuing in the study known as “Depth
Psychology” has “penetrated educated thought – notably literary criticism” (Bodkin 1978, vi). A
modern writer who deals with the theme of archetypal patterns in poetry may pursue as Bodkin puts it:
“the question concerning a kind of truth that cannot be expressed in verifiable factual terms but is
sustained and communicated through our heritage of poetry – such poetry – whether in verse or prose form – as
the Greek tragedies and the Myths of Plato, the poetry of Shakespeare, Shelley, Dante or the author of the Fourth
Gospel” (Bodkin 1978, vi).
Although “Depth Psychology” was developed by both Freud and Jung, only the latter is
relevant to this BA thesis.
1.2.1 Archetypal patterns in tragic poetry.
Bodkin sets herself a task to test the hypothesis of Jung proposed in his article On the Relation
of Analytical Psychology to Poetic Art published in The Spirit in Man, Art and Literature (1941). Jung
claimed that certain poems possess special emotional significance which goes beyond any definite
meaning revealed. Bodkin notes that Jung
attributes to the stirring in the reader’s mind, within or beneath his conscious response, of unconscious
forces which he terms as ‘primordial images’, or archetypes. These archetypes he describes as ‘psychic residua
of numberless experiences of the same type’, experiences which have happened not to the individual but to his
ancestors and of which the results are inherited in the structure of brain, a priori determinants of individual
experience (Bodkin 1978, 1).
The critic also hopes to approach the matter from different standpoints bringing together the
recorded experience and reflection of minds and to enrich the developed theory of the systematic
psychologist through the insight of more intuitive thinkers whereas the results of the intuitive thinkers
may be defined more exactly.
Bodkin relies on Professor Murray’s comparison of the tragedies of Hamlet and of Orestes as an
illustration. Murray points out the curious similarities between the two. He also suggests that the theme
that underlies them seems to possess a nearly eternal durability. Murray maintains that when such
themes as in Hamlet and Orestes which stirred the concern of a primitive man are still capable to move
contemporary people that they do so in particularly profound and poetical ways. Bodkin quotes Murray
by claiming that:
in plays like Hamlet or the Agamemnon or Electra we have certainly fine and flexible
character-study, a varied and well-wrought story, a full command of all the technical instruments of the
poet and the dramatist; but we have also, I suspect, a strange, unanalyzed vibration below the surface,
an under-current of desires and fears and passions, long slumbering yet eternally familiar, which have
for thousands of years lain near the root of most intimate emotions and been wrought into the fabric of
our most magical dreams (Bodkin 1978, 2).
Bodkin suggests studying the themes that show continuity within the life of a community or a
race and to compare their different forms of assumption. She also suggests studying analytically the
inner experiences of different individuals responding to such themes. As there is little possibility for
experiment the recorded experiences of those who have profound experience of poetry must be
employed. She notes that “profound response to great poetic themes can be secured only by living with
such themes, dwelling and brooding upon them, choosing those moments when the mind seems
spontaneously open itself to their influence.” (Bodkin 1978, 3)
Bodkin states that studies of the imaginative response of contemporary minds to the great
themes of poetry may benefit from the works of the anthropologists who have tried to study
scientifically the reactions of more primitive minds. Anthropologists have studied the reception of new
cultural elements by a people and they have used the term ‘cultural patterns’ to characterize the preexisting ‘configuration’ of tendencies which govern the way in which members of the group respond to
the new element. Bodkin leans upon thoughts of Goldenweiser and Bernard expressed in The Social
Sciences and their Interrelations (1928) dealing with the ‘culture pattern concept’. The former noted
that it is related to the concept of form and system in the arts and cultural disciplines. Whereas the later
has “undertaken a classification of different kinds of environment, distinguishing the psycho-social
environment which includes such systems of symbols as are preserved in books and in which he says
‘psychic process reach the highest type of their objectified development” (Bodkin 1978, 4).
The symbolic content of this type can activate the corresponding patterns in the minds of
members of the group “whose collective product and possession the symbols are” (Bodkin 1978, 4).
The scholar chooses to use the term ‘archetypal pattern’ to define what is within human psyche.
Although, both Jung and Murray assert that these patterns imprinted in one’s physical organism are
inherited in the structure of the brain, Bodkin notes that no evidence of this statement can be
considered. On the other hand, the spontaneous production of the ancient patterns in the dreams and
fantasies of individuals serve Jung as evidence.
The general argument that ‘predisposing factors’, a term used by Bodkin, must be present in
mind and brain where forms are assimilated from the environment after a short time of contact only has
more force in the present state of human knowledge. The assimilation of an idea is not secured by mere
contact with an idea’s expression since some inner factor must co-operate.
The scholar finds that there are certain patterns familiar to certain communities or races that stir
human mind and have continuity in the community or race. She notes that the patterns evoke memories
of distant experiences of the ancestors in human psyche and termed them as ‘archetypal patterns’.
1.2.2 Reasonable recourse to poetry.
In the subchapter titled “Why have recourse to poetry?” Bodkin asks “what is the distinctive
advantage of having recourse to poetry for the study of these patterns” (Bodkin 1978, 5)? She claims
that the themes of Hamlet and Orestes existed as a traditional story before Shakespeare and before
Aeschylus. Bodkin makes use of A.C. Bradley’s term ‘inchoate poem’ for traditional themes and
explains that it is a subject which exists in common imagination and has some aesthetic value before it
is touched by a poet. Traditional themes are already, to some extent, organized and formed. When
touched by a poet a traditional story lives on in the reader’s imagination and creates a memory with an
aesthetic value which, however, fades into formlessness. What once was a vivid poetic experience
becomes a faint recollection. But for closer examination the actual poetic experience must be recovered
as “it is in the imaginative experience actually communicated by great poetry that we shall find our
fullest opportunity of studying the patterns that we seek – and this from the very nature of poetic
experience.” (Bodkin 1978, 5)
Bodkin argues Spearman’s thoughts in The Nature of Intelligence and the Principles of
Cognition (1927), Spearman referred to in Bodkin states that imagination is as intellectual as any other
logical process in which new content may be generated. However, she notes that it is hard to accept that
“its intellectual aspect can be separated from its emotional nature and covered by any such logical
formula as Spearman proposes” (Bodkin 1978, 6).
Spearman formulates the three laws of cognition, and the first one is nearly concerned with the
poetic imagination. This law states that all lived experiences evoke immediately a knowing of the
character and imagination of that experience. Here the word ‘immediately’ means that any mediating
process is absent. In Bodkin’s opinion, “it is perhaps within this mediating process, denied by
Spearman, that we may find a distinctive place for imagination as exercised in poetry” (Bodkin 1978,
The scholar states that the psychologists tend to assert that lived experience comes to awareness
through introspection. However, the medical psychologists contradict the academic psychologists
claiming that they have discovered a realm of lived experience, of conative 19 character, which
introspection can not explain.
Bodkin refers to conclusion drawn by Alexander who approaches the question as a philosopher.
He distincts ‘conative lived experience’ from sensations and images which are the objects of the mind.
Definition by Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: it is an inclination (as an instinct, a drive, a wish, or a craving) to act
The difference is that lived experience can only be ‘enjoyed’ and it cannot be contemplated. Bodkin
states that the philosopher sees introspection as ‘enjoyment’ lived through and together with a whole
set of elaborated speech “which causes the elements of the experience enjoyed to stand out in “subtly
dissected form” (Bodkin 1978, 7). Alexander, in his turn, views it as a small wonder and claims that
introspection should be regarded as turning one’s mind into objects and see how well the language
expressing our mental state has been elaborated to achieve practical interests and in relation with
Considering the view of Alexander, it becomes clear that the mediating process which enables
lived experience to come to awareness is the link between such experience and actions and objects and
the words that recall these objects which affect the senses and can be contemplated. While fantasizing
the contemplated features of things are broken from their historical setting and they become available
to manifest the needs and impulses of the experiencing mind. The study of dreams which was carried
out at the time when the Bodkin’s book was being written showed that perplexing chain of the images
thrown up by the sleeping mind “is due to processes of interaction between emotional dispositions
lacking the customary control.” (Bodkin 1978, 8) The chains of images in dreams and in waking
fantasy as well as myth and legend differ from each other leading one to contrast these “incompatible
renderings of experience.” (Bodkin 1978, 8)
A great poet does not objectify his own sensibility when he uses the story which has taken
shape in the fantasy of the community. The poet arranges the words which already manifest the
emotional experience of the community so that their evocative power would be fully used. In this way
he gains himself vision and possession of the experience originated between his own soul and the life
around him. A poet communicates the experience both individual and collective to others so that they
could understand the words and images he uses.
Bodkin concludes that one’s emotional patterns hidden in the individual life may be studied as a
reflection of his/her spontaneous actions, dreams and waking fantasies; whereas if one contemplates
archetypal patterns common to men of past generations, he/she has to study them in the experience
revealed by the great poetry which is able to stir emotional response in all ages.
Bodkin focuses on archetypal patterns which are preserved in poetry and communicated so that
every mind would be stirred to response to them. However, the modern man has alienated himself from
the symbols and does not recognize them due to his rational worldview. This alienation is portrayed by
Mircea Eliade who describes the sacred and the profane modes of being in the world. The profane man
is the one who does not live in the world of symbols in this way ignoring his unconscious mind while
the sacred man still recognizes the symbolic reality.
1.3 Mircea Eliade: paradigmatic repetition of divine work.
Harry Oldmeadow in his article C.G. Jung & Mircea Eliade: ‘Priests without Surplices’?
Reflections on the Place of Myth, Religion and Science in Their Work20 states that Jung’s works on
archaic mythologies and cosmologies also influenced a great Romanian scholar Mircea Eliade.
Oldmeadow claims that he was interested in Jung’s insights on the universal parallelism of symbols and
motifs found in mythologies from all over the world. However, the scholar goes beyond the attempt to
bring archaic cosmology back to one’s psyche. This becomes evident from the sense in which both
Jung and Eliade use the term archetype. The former defines it as structures of the collective
unconscious whereas the latter speaks of exemplary and ‘transhistorical’ patterns. In The Myth of
Eternal Return (1954) he claims that a historical event cannot withstand the powers of “mythization”
and enters the minds of people as a myth. This is due to the fact that folk memory does not memorize
“individual” events or persons. It employs different structures where events are substituted with
categories and historical personalities are replaced by archetypes. A historical personality is identified
with its mythological model, e.g. a hero, and an event is identified as paradigmatic, e.g. conquest of the
land. Another important aspect for him is sacred time. It is the category which cannot be reduced or
subdivided and which is essential for archaic and mythological understanding. Eliade also shows great
interest in sacred space which is one of the categories in his works. He notes that there is a great gap
between the archaic and modern man. Archaic man assumes the world symbolically and reactualizes
his mythology through rituals.
1.3.1 Manifestations of the sacred.
In his study The Sacred & the Profane (1957) the scholar sets himself a task to present the
phenomenon of the sacred “in all its complexity, and not only so far as it is irrational” 21 but to reveal
the “sacred in its entirety” (Eliade 1996, 10). The first definition of the sacred proposed by Eliade is
that it is “the opposite of the profane” (ibid.) He claims that the sacred comes to one’s awareness when
it manifests itsel as something completely different from the profane. The scholar uses the term
‘hierophany’ to define the “act of manifestation of the sacred” (Eliade 1996, 11). Hierophany implies
First delivered as a talk to the Bendigo Jung Society, 1992.
Eliade’s The Sacred & the Profane is influenced by Rudolf Otto (1869–1937) the author of the Golden Bough: The Idea
of the Holy (1917). Otto defines the concept of the holy as that which is numinous. He explained the numinous as a nonrational, non-sensory experience or feeling whose primary and immediate object is outside the self. However, Eliade
attempts to explain the sacred as wholeness and not just from its irrational side.
that the sacred object shows itself to man. There are different kinds of hierophanies ranging from the
most elementary, when the sacred shows itself in some ordinary object such as stone or tree, to the
supreme hierophany, e.g. God’s incarnation in a human being reflected in Jesus Christ. However, in
each case, one is presented with the manifestation of something representing totally different order
when objects of the natural ‘profane’ world manifest a reality.
However, a man of Western civilization finds it difficult to accept manifestations of the sacred
in stones or trees. It must be noted that these manifestations do not involve worship of the stone or tree
in itself. They are worshipped because they are hierophanies, because “they show something that is no
longer stone or tree but the sacred, the ganz andere22” (Eliade 1996, 12).
Every hierophany represents the paradox which cannot be overemphasized. Any object which
manifests the sacred becomes ‘something else’ at the same time remaining ‘itself’ as it still participates
in its surrounding cosmic environment. From the profane point of view, a ‘sacred’ stone remains as all
other stones but those who see it as sacred transmute its reality into a supernatural one. As Eliade puts
it, “for those who have a religious experience all nature is capable of revealing itself as cosmic
sacrality” (ibid.). The man of all pre-modern societies sees the ‘sacred’ as ‘power’ and ‘reality’ and tries
to live as much as possible ‘in the sacred’ or close to sanctified objects. However, the sacred, i.e. the
‘real’ world and the profane, i.e. the ‘unreal’ world stand as an opposition to each other. A ‘completely’
profane world, the world of completely desacralised cosmos is a new discovery in the history of the
Distinguishing between the ‘sacred’ and the ‘profane’ it may be stated that these two are the
“modes of being in the world” (Eliade 1996, 14). They show two existential situations that people have
taken up in the process of history. The modes show how one treats nature and the world of tools and
how one looks upon “the consecration of human life itself, the sacrality with which man’s vital
functions (food, sex, work and so on) can be charged” (ibid.). Taking into consideration what food or
work has become to modern man vividly shows the difference between the modern and archaic
1.3.2 Homogeneity of space.
Having considered the “two modes of being in the world” it may now be stated that a religious
man treats space as not homogenous. On the one hand, for a religious man there is a sacred space and
GANZ ANDERE, DAS: The "wholly other," which Georges Bataille developed into his theory of heterology. The phrase
occurs in the religious writings of Soren Kierkegaard and Karl Barth, but it is most intimately associated with the theologian
Rudolph Otto, whose The Idea of the Holy describes it is as the inexplicable otherness of God.
other spaces which are not sacred, thus, amorphous, i.e. without structure or consistency. The formless
space surrounds the only ‘real’ and ‘really’ existing sacred space. The ‘nonhomogeneity’ of space
comes from a primary religious experience which foregoes all reflection on the world. Eliade notes that
“when the sacred manifests itself in any hierophany, there is not only a break in the homogeneity of
space; there is also revelation of an absolute reality, opposed to the nonreality of the vast surrounding
expanse” (Eliade 1996, 21).
It is impossible to establish a point of reference or ‘orientation’ in the homogenous space, but
hierophany discloses an absolute fixed point which is a centre. By discovering a fixed point, i.e. the
centre, the world is created. The world is created when the homogeneity is broken creating “our world”
and “their world”. On the other hand, man of the profane world experiences space as homogenous and
neutral. This experience of a ‘nonreligious’ man is resulted by his attempt to reject the ‘sacrality’ of the
world. Hierophany of space lets one to obtain a fixed point which in its turn enables him/her to
orientate in the chaos of homogeneity. The profane experience opposes the sacred one by maintaining
the homogeneity and hence the relativity of space. Eliade states that, for a profane man, there is no
longer any world, but “only fragments of a shattered universe, an amorphous mass consisting of an
infinite number of more or less neutral place in which man moves, governed and driven by the
obligations of an existence incorporated into an industrial society” (Eliade 1996, 24).
Eliade chooses a church in a modern city to illustrate these experiences. For a religious, man the
space of the church is different from the street in which it stands. The interior door of the church breaks
the continuity. The threshold which is an object of great importance divides the two spaces and
indicates the alienation between the two modes of being, namely the sacred and the profane. The
threshold acts as a limit or a boundary which separates and contrasts the two worlds. However, it is a
paradoxical place “where those worlds communicate, where passages from the profane to the sacred
world become possible” (Eliade 1996, 25).
Every sacred space is separated from the surrounding cosmic milieu as it implies a hierophany,
a manifestation of the sacred. The opposition of the inhabited territory and the strange and indefinite
space surrounding it is, as Eliade notes, “one of the outstanding characteristics of traditional societies”
(Eliade 1996, 29) One may assume that this split in space is resulted by the opposition between an
inhabited space which represents cosmos and the unknown space representing chaos. According to
Eliade, the consecration is “the work of the gods or is in communication with the world of the gods”
(Eliade 1996, 30). He introduces an example of the Vedic ritual of taking possession of a territory. The
possession becomes lawful when a fire altar consecrated to Agni, the god of fire, is erected. Through
the erection of the fire altar communication with the world of gods is ensured and in this way the space
becomes sacred. Another example is that of Spanish and Portuguese conquistadores who conquered
territories in the name of Jesus Christ and consecrated countries by raising the Cross. Thus, any
unknown or unoccupied (usually unoccupied by ‘our people’ the people of a nation or a tribe) territory
is ‘cosmicized’ through a ritual repetition of the cosmogony. If one treats ‘our world’ as a cosmos any
attack from outside threatens to turn it into chaos. Since the cosmogony is repetition of a paradigmatic
work of gods, the enemies who attempt to destroy it are assimilated to the enemies of the gods, the
Eliade notes that “”our” enemies belong to the powers of chaos. Any destruction of a city is
equivalent to retrogression to chaos. Any victory over enemies reiterates the paradigmatic victory of the
gods over the dragon23 (that is over, chaos)”. (Eliade 1996, 48)
Repeating the acts of gods has a twofold effect: firstly, one remains within the sacred, thus in
reality, and secondly, by this repetition the world is consecrated. A religious man considers humanity as
having a ‘transhuman’, transcendent model. He considers himself a ‘true man’ only when he imitates
the gods, the culture heroes or the mythical ancestors. Eliade points out that “one becomes truly a man
only by conforming to the teaching of the myths, that is by imitating the gods”. (ibid, 100) It should be
noted that imitating the gods may involve a very grave responsibility as there are certain blood
sacrifices in a primordial divine act. Eliade reminds that “in illo tempore the god had slain the marine
monster and dismembered its body in order to create the cosmos”. (ibid.) This blood sacrifice is
repeated when one has to build a village or to pray for rich harvest. He proposes an example from the
myths of the earliest cultivators. Consider:
man became what he is today – mortal, sexualized and condemned to work – in consequence of
a primordial murder; in illo tempore a divine being, quite often a woman or maiden, sometimes a child
or a man, allowed himself to be immolated in order that tubers or fruit trees should grow from his body.
For palaeo-agricultural societies, the periodic evocation of the primordial event was essential.
By the rites they ‘reactualized’ the memory which played a deciding role; one must never forget what
happened ‘in illo tempore’. Thus, forgetting is assumed as a true sin. The urgent need not to forget what
have happened ‘in illo tempore’ causes essentially metaphysical rituals of cannibalism. The nature does
not ‘give’ the food plant; it must be produced by a slaying because in this way it was created in the
The primordial dragon, the archdemon and the paradigmatic figure of everything that is amorphous, was conquered by the
gods at the beginning of time. He was slain and cut to pieces so that cosmos could be created.
dawn of time. Cannibalism along with headhunting and human sacrifice was justified by man to ensure
the life of plants.
The author of the paper has chosen to employ Eliade’s category of sacred space and to analyze
“the two modes of being in the world” as presented in Heart of Darkness. The sacred mode of being of
the blacks who represent the world of unconscious and the profane mode of the whites who represent
the conscious world will be proved with the reference to Eliade’s ideas.
2. ARCHETYPAL PATTERNS IN JOSEPH CONRAD’S HEART OF
The archetypal patterns are woven into Conrad’s story. The novella encompasses the frames of
the ancient myths and the Hero’s myth along with the archetypes which reveal the hero’s inner world.
On the mythological level the paper will analyze the archetypal image of woman in accordance with
Bodkin’s analysis of Homer’s Iliad and the Epic of Gilgamesh. The author will reveal the mythological
pattern suggested by the scholar in Heart of Darkness. Moreover, the Hero’s myth and the archetypes
of the Shadow, the Anima and the Self will be discussed in accordance with Jung’s theory of
individuation and Campbell’s monomyth. Finally, Eliade’s proposed two modes of the being in the
world will be applied to analyze the European and African cultures as presented in Heart of Darkness.
2.1. The archetypal scheme of the Hero’s journey.
Symbolically, the Hero’s journey represents the descent into the unconscious. In Heart of
Darkness, the hero is represented in Marlow and his personal unconscious is represented by the jungle,
or the forest. The forest is “traditionally dark, labyrinthine” entity (Ferber, 1999, 78). The most
developed stage of Marlow’s journey is to realize his Shadow. When he reaches the jungle, he
recognizes it. In the story the Shadow character is Mr. Kurtz. The other archetypes, namely Anima and
the Self, are not so well developed. Nevertheless, their meaning is very important in understanding the
story. The author of the paper has chosen to present Marlow’s journey in accordance with Campbell’s
pattern of Hero’s journey and Jung’s psychological interpretation of the Shadow, Anima and the Self.
2.1.1 The jungle as the parallel of the unconscious.
As Campbell states, the Hero must feel that “something is missing in life” (Campbell) and it
should evoke his desire to leave the familiar space and enter the unknown. The familiar and the
unknown spaces represent the conscious and the unconscious respectively. For Marlow, a spur to go on
a quest was his, i.e. the mariner’s, not being on a voyage for long enough and desire to visit the place
he had wanted to go since childhood. His craving to go to Congo was so strong that having failed by
himself Marlow asked his relatives to help him get appointed for a job there, though he was not “used
to getting things that way” (Conrad 1986, 139) 24. He explains that “the notion drove [him]” (ibid, 142).
Marlow was eager to go to the jungle because there was a river which “resembling an immense snake
uncoiled <…> had charmed [him]” (ibid, 139). A strong impact of the idea on Marlow’s conscious
reveals that it was caused by the Self which typically creates either outward or inward necessity for
changes. Being a wonderer he could do without traveling. Moreover, the longing for voyages implies
that the hero got tired of the surroundings of the land and needed an escape to the sea or a river.
However, the need for a change in surroundings may be symbolically viewed as a need of a change in
Marlow went to the jungle of Congo where he was skipper of a river steamboat. The mental
changes of those who go to the jungle, or archetypally, descend into the unconscious, were stressed by
the doctor whom Marlow met before he went on a trip. The doctor who used, “in the interest of science,
to measure the crania of those going out there” remarked that “the changes take place inside”, they are
not observed externally, and it would be “interesting for science to watch the mental changes on the
spot” (ibid, 142). The doctor prepares Marlow for the voyage instructing him to “avoid irritation more
than exposure to the sun” (ibid, 143).
Jung’s associate Franz who helped him to Jung’s theory in Man and his Symbols, states that,
when a child reaches the school age and begins to develop his Ego, “the imperfections of the world,
and the evil within oneself as well as outside, become conscious problems; the child must try to cope
with urgent (but not yet understood) inner impulses as well as the demands of the outer world” (Franz
1977, p. 168 – 169). This stage of psychic growth is full of painful shocks and a child may feel very
different from others which causes a feeling of sadness. Some children at this age begin to “earnestly
seek for some meaning in life that could help them to deal with the chaos both within and outside
themselves” (Franz 1977, 169). It is worth noting that Marlow “was not in the least typical” (Conrad
1986, 143) Englishman and “he did not represent his class” (ibid, 136), the sailors. He was a wonderer
while other seamen “lead <…> a sedentary life” (ibid, 136). Moreover, it is said in the story that
“Marlow was not typical <…> and to him the meaning of an episode was not inside like a kernel but
outside, enveloping the tale which brought it out only as a glow brings out a haze, in the likeness of one
of these misty halos that sometimes are made visible by the spectral illumination of moonshine” (ibid,
137). The fact that for Marlow the meaning of events was outside the kernel suggests him being able to
get detached from a situation and thus better estimate how serious it was and what should be done. A
person usually suppresses the emotions and/or wishes which are incompatible with the social system
This and other quotations of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness in Cassill, R.V. (1986). The Norton Anthology of Short
he/she lives in. Thus, it may be stated that hero being not a typical person at all had faced many
difficulties throughout his life and had suppressed experiences. Marlow told that when he had been a
child he used to pick a place on a map and said that he would go there as a grown up. The jungle of
Congo was the place which he wished to visit most of all. When he was a boy, the geographical space
had not yet been explored and the region was marked as a blank space. However, at the moment when
he could go there, there was no blank space on the map any more:
It had got filled since my childhood with rivers and lakes and names. It had ceased to be a
blank space of delightful mystery – a white patch for a boy to dream gloriously over. It had become a
place of darkness. (Conrad 1986, 139)
The white colour of the region in Marlow’s childhood evokes a positive connotation. It symbolizes
purity, cleanness and innocence. While the colour black is authoritative and powerful as it may evoke
strong emotions and too much of it may be overwhelming. The geographical space presented on a map
symbolically represents the hero’s psyche. When he was a child and did not have as much experience
as an adult, his unconscious was a blank space to be filled in. It became a place of darkness when
Marlow was much older and had much more experience since it got filled with “rivers and lakes and
names” symbolically representing experience. Comparing to the blank space, when there were neither
rivers nor names it had become black. Hence, his unconscious got filled with suppressed emotions and
hankerings, attitudes, superstitions and prejudice. The authoritative and overwhelming power of the
black also reveals that the unconscious controls the consciousness. According to Jung, the part of the
unconscious “consists of a multitude of temporarily obscured thoughts, impressions, and images that, in
spite of being lost, continue to influence our conscious minds” and sometimes “unconscious contents of
the mind behave as if they were conscious” (Jung 1977, p. 18-19). The motif of darkness is found
throughout the story. The jungle, which symbolically represents the hero’s unconscious, is described as
“so dark-green as to be almost black” (ibid, 144) with “the profound darkness of its heart” (ibid, 163).
Moreover, Marlow feels as if “transported into some lightless region of subtle horrors” (ibid, 187).
When Marlow saw Mr. Kurtz, who is the hero’s archetypal Shadow, for the first time he found out the
following: “never before did this land, this river, this jungle, the very arch of this blazing sky, appear to
me so hopeless and so dark, so impenetrable to human thought, so pitiless to human weakness” (ibid,
184). The “human thought” stands here for the conscious self which cannot enter the unconscious
which manifests itself in dreams. Marlow describes the jungle as “smiling, frowning, inviting, grand,
mean, insipid, or savage and always mute with an air of whispering, Come and find out” (ibid, 144) as
if the unconscious had suggested him to start the individuation. Hence, Marlow’s unconscious which
had become “a place of darkness” gained much power over his life and influenced him to go to Congo.
According to Jung, “because there are innumerable things beyond the range of human
understanding, we constantly use symbolic terms to represent concepts that we cannot define or fully
comprehend” (Jung 1977, 4). Due to this fact all religions make a use of symbols and images.
However, the conscious employment of symbols in a language embraces only one aspect of a
psychological fact. The scholar claims that the symbols are likewise produced unconsciously and
spontaneously in the form of dreams. It is worth noting that “it was the study of dreams that first
enabled psychologists to investigate the unconscious aspect of conscious psychic events” (ibid, 5). It
means that a person’s dreams may reveal the events he/she was consciously involved into.
I am speaking here of things we have consciously seen or heard, and subsequently forgotten.
But we all see, hear, smell, and taste many things without noticing them at the time, either because our
attention is deflected or because the stimulus to our senses is too slight to leave a conscious impression.
The unconscious, however, has taken note of them, and such subliminal sense perceptions play a
significant part in our everyday lives. Without our realizing it, they influence the way in which we react
to both events and people. (Jung 1977, 20)
There is a considerable number of the cases when Marlow referred to his experience in the
jungle as a dream. Although the reality of the jungle was real, the unconscious symbols found there
manifested themselves as if a dream. Thus, Marlow’s experience in Congo may be paralleled to the
experience of a dream. The hero said that the beginning of his journey was “like a weary pilgrimage
amongst hints for nightmares” (Conrad 1986, 145). Furthermore, there were moments “when one’s past
came back to one <…> in the shape of unrestful and noisy dream, remembered with wonder amongst
the overwhelming realities of this strange word of plants, and water, and silence” (Conrad 1986, pp.
163-164). The hero also spoke of “the choice of the nightmare” (ibid, 190) when he chose to contradict
the manager of the Central station saying that Mr. Kurtz was a remarkable man. Moreover, Marlow
stresses that he had to be loyal “to the nightmares of [his] choice” (ibid, 192). Marlow claims that while
confronting Kurtz they pronounced the words which had the “terrific suggestiveness of words heard in
dreams, of phrases spoken in nightmares” (ibid, 194). He also notes that “it seems to me I am trying to
tell you a dream – making a vain attempt, because no relation of a dream can convey the dreamsensation, that commingling of absurdity, surprise, and bewilderment in a tremor of struggling revolt,
that notion of being captured by the incredible which is of the very essence of dreams” (ibid, 157).
Although Marlow was right by saying that it was impossible to make another person feel just like
he/she did in a dream since “we live, as we dream – alone” (ibid.), it should be noted that archetypes
which are found in dreams are common to all humanity and can be recognized by any person who has
some knowledge of psychology. The “incredible” which captures one in dreams is the unconscious
which merges with the conscious in one’s dreams. As a result, a person is forced to face his inner
psyche which may be horrifying. Taking into consideration the facts that dreams represent the
unconscious aspects of events and that Marlow described his experience in the jungle as a nightmare it
the hero confesses that in his life he had seen “the devil of violence, and the devil of greed, and the
devil of hot desire” (ibid, 147). Recalling Jung’s statement that all the events a person has seen, heard
or experienced himself reside in the unconscious it should be noted that the “devils” Marlow mentions
reside in his unconscious. In Heart of Darkness the violence was represented when a grass shed burnt
and Marlow saw that “a nigger was being beaten near by” (ibid, 154). Marlow also tells about “the
body of a middle-aged Negro, with a bullet-hole in his forehead” (ibid, 151). The hero has also heard
the story when his predecessor “whacked the old nigger mercilessly <…> till some man <…> made a
tentative jab with a spear at the white man” (ibid, 140). The “devil of greed” may be symbolically
embodied in the desire for ivory. The hero remarked that “the word ‘ivory’ rang in the air, was
whispered, was sighed and one could assume that “they were praying to eat” (ibid, 153). The backward
movement from the loudness of the sound in ringing to sighing implies that the mass hankering after
the ivory deeply affected an individual. The sighing also implies passion. “The devil of desire” is
related with “the devil of greed” because to the whites “the only real feeling was a desire to get
appointed to a trading-post where ivory was to be had, so that they could earn percentages” (ibid, 155).
The appointment to a trading-post suggested easy income, meanwhile Marlow was a sailor which is a
demanding profession. In the jungle Marlow did not crave for ivory although he his relations could
have made him rich. His sole interest was Mr. Kurtz. Jung claims that “dreams compensate for the
deficiencies [the] personalities” (Jung 1977, 34). Thus, greed and desire in this case is an inner
compensation of the outer reality since it may be assumed that the hero was quite ascetic. Meanwhile,
the violence in the jungle, symbolically in the unconscious, represents the unconscious residua of the
When Marlow described Congo he pointed out “a mighty big river, that you could see on the
map, resembling an immense snake uncoiled, with its head in the sea, its body at rest curving afar over
a vast country, and its tail lost in the depths of the land” (Conrad 1986, 139). The river resembling the
snake on the map fascinated Marlow and evoked his journey to that region. However, the river also
provided him the opportunity to reach the depths of Africa, symbolically the depths of unconscious.
According to Jung, snake is “the embodiment of wisdom” (Jung 1977, 85). Thus, the hero who had
traveled along the snake-like river should have gained wisdom which is a part of individuation and an
outcome of the Hero’s journey.
The scholar also states that human collective consciousness was developed “in a process that
took untold ages to reach the civilized state”, however, “what we call the ‘psyche’ is by no means
identical with our consciousness and its contents” (Jung 1977, 6). Thus, the unconscious is as old as the
human race. When Marlow was in Congo he could feel that “the smell of primeval mud was in [his]
nostrils, the high stillness of primeval forest was before [his] eyes” (Conrad 1986, 156). He also
mentions “settlements some centuries old” (ibid, 144) and that he felt as if he and his crew “were
wonderers on a prehistoric earth that wore an aspect of an unknown planet; we could have fancied
ourselves the first men taking possession of an accursed inheritance” (ibid, 165). The “accursed
inheritance” is represented by the ivory which awakened the greed in its utmost proportions. It would
also be relevant to stress that Marlow did not think that the natives “had any clear idea of time” (ibid,
165) suggesting that there was none. These examples provide the notion that the jungle, i.e. the
unconscious was formed in the beginning of time.
Another aspect of the unconscious found in the image of the jungle is that fleshly instincts
comet to the surface in its surroundings. Jung claimed that the human instincts are ignored and denied
by the rational mind so they are suppressed into an unconscious part of psyche. He further explains that
the instincts are not mere biological urges. Consider:
But at the same time, they also manifest themselves in fantasies and often reveal their presence
only by symbolic images. These manifestations are what I call the archetypes. They are without known
origin; and they reproduce themselves in any time or in any part of the world - even where transmission
by direct descent or "cross fertilization" through migration must be ruled out (Jung 1977, 58).
The scholar states that the consciousness of a civilized man has separated itself from the basic
instincts. However, they did not disappear and assert themselves in an indirect fashion. Jung suggests
that it may be done “by means of physical symptoms in the case of a neurosis, or by means of incidents
of various kinds, like unaccountable moods, unexpected forgetfulness, or mistakes in speech” (Jung
In Heart of Darkness such instincts may be found symbolically embodied in the natives of the
jungle. Marlow described how “they howled and leaped, and spun, and made horrid faces; but what
thrilled you was just the thought of their humanity – like yours – the thought of your remote kinship
with this wild and passionate uproar” (Conrad 1986, 165). The hero recognized these instincts and
admitted that there is a response to them within him. Thus, on the symbolical level, the instincts were
realized by consciousness and integrated into the conscious psyche. However, some of the instincts
may be suppressed. Here the situation with the fire of the shed should be considered. It was said that
the black who was beaten caused the fire and he was beaten for punishment which had to prevent all
transgressions. Archetypally, the fire caused by the black symbolizes an outburst of instinctive part of
one’s conscious and the beating is a repression. The example of the suppressed instincts is illustrated in
the characters of cannibals who were members of Marlow’s crew. Their superb restriction reveals that
they are under the strict control of the conscious self, represented by the hero. He wonders why they
did not attack and eat white people although being hungry for weeks. Marlow points out that “no fear
can stand up to hunger, no patience can wear it out, disgust simply does not exist where hunger is; and
as to superstitions and beliefs, and what you may call principles, they are less than chaff in a breeze”
(ibid, 171). The fact that they were controlled by the conscious self, symbolically embodied in Marlow,
reveals itself when they hear the howl of the natives on the bank. The chief of the cannibals asked
Marlow to catch and give those blacks to the cannibals as food. The feeding of the cannibals
symbolically represented giving freedom to the hero’s instincts. Moreover, the fact they fed on human
meat suggests their instinctive nature which was improper for the civilized conscious self. Another
instance of Marlow’s control over the cannibals is noticed when the hero threw out the body of the
fireman who was killed during the attack on the steamboat. The reaction of the cannibals who could
have eaten the body was “a very ominous murmur on the deck below” (ibid, 180). It should be pointed
out that the cannibals still did not though their murmur was ominous, but there is also another fact of
great importance. Marlow told that they were on the deck below implying that his position was higher
then their. Thus, the fact that the cannibals obeyed him shows that the instincts they represent are
suppressed. Recalling Jung’s statement that ignored instincts assert themselves in various ways one of
which is unaccountable mood may be presented in Marlow’s behaviour when he told his mechanic that
they would get rivets they had been waiting for months to fix the steamboat. The hero remarked that he
did not know they “behaved like lunatics” (ibid, 160). When the mechanic could not believe Marlow
“put the finger to the side of [his] nose and nodded mysteriously” afterwards he “tried a jig” and they
“capered on the iron deck” at night (ibid.).
Campbell claims that the hero has to cross the threshold of consciousness and adds that the
entrance is not free and is protected. The guardians “mark the point of no return” (Campbell). In Heart
of Darkness the symbolic threshold is the Continental Concern Marlow worked for. Here Marlow’s first
entering the company should be considered. He entered the building of the Company through an
“immense double door ponderously ajar” (ibid, 141). The door shares its meaning with the threshold. It
is a transitional point from one place to another, from lightness to darkness and vice versa. The opened
doors imply an invitation for great discovery and investigation. What concerns Marlow’s situation, he
was invited to move from the conscious to the unconscious and discover the realms of his unconscious
psyche. Nevertheless, the manner of his entrance is of great importance. The hero “slipped through one
of these cracks” (ibid.). The paradox of the “immense double door ponderously ajar” and “the crack”
suggests that the immense unconscious is entered through a narrow passage. The fact that he “slipped”
through the door implies the secrecy which creates the feeling of danger. It is noteworthy that Mircea
Eliade claims that the dangerous narrow passage “frequently occur in initiatory and funerary rituals and
mythologies” (Eliade 1996, 181). The religious approach of the scholar to initiatory passage should be
One does not become a complete man until one has passed beyond, and in some sense
abolished, “natural” humanity, for initiation is reducible to a paradoxical, supernatural experience of
death and resurrection or of second birth; initiation rites, entailing ordeals and symbolic death and
resurrection, were instituted by gods, culture heroes, or mythical ancestors. (Eliade 1996, 187)
The initiation described by Eliade may be paralleled to the process of individuation. First of in
both cases a person becomes a “complete man” or reaches the wholeness of his psyche. Secondly, the
abolition of natural humanity may compared to the entering the unconscious. The third common aspect
is the resurrection. Eliade assumes resurrection as a transformation into someone new, e.g. from a child
to an adult. Jung offers that during individuation the Ego submerges into the unconscious, i.e. the
conscious self temporally dies, and is born again when emerges from the unconscious.
Inside the building Marlow met the two women “guarding the doors of Darkness” (ibid, 142).
Their witch-like appearance suggested that they had supernatural powers. On the symbolical level, they
represent the Fates of Greek as well as the Norns of the Norse and Parcaes of Roman myths who were
present at birth and shaped the fate of the newly-born. The women, like Campbell suggests, mark the
point of no return because which is shown Marlow’s symbolical act of signing the employment contract
after having passed them.
Campbell also claims that when the hero reaches his unconscious he is overwhelmed with
doubtful thoughts and sometimes despair. It should be recalled that the Hero’s journey is paralleled
with individuation. Franz, who agrees with Campbell that the process of individuation begins with an
initial shock, or call, explains that the Ego, or the hero, “feels hampered in its will or its desire and
usually projects the obstruction onto something external” (Franz 1977, 169). He notes that the
discouragement occurs due to the fact that “the initial encounter with the Self casts a dark Shadow
ahead of time, or as if the "inner friend" comes at first like a trapper to catch the helplessly struggling
Ego in his snare” (Franz 1977, 171). The reader finds Marlow doubtful, too. When he signed the
contract, he “began to feel slightly uneasy <…> and there was something ominous in the atmosphere”
(ibid, 141). Marlow tried to justify his eerie feeling and explained that in the following way:
A queer feeling came to me that I was an impostor. Odd thing that I, who used to clear out for
any part of the world at twenty-four hours’ notice, with less thought that most men give to the crossing
of a street, had a moment – I won’t say of hesitation, but of startled pause, before this commonplace
affair. The best way to explain it to you is by saying that, for a second or two, I felt as though, instead of
going to the center of a continent, I were about to set off for the center of the earth (Conrad 1986, 144).
The very fact that Marlow felt as if going to the center of the earth sharpens its geographical
parallel with the human psyche. The movement in the geographical space represents the movement in
the hero’s unconscious. When Marlow got closer to the jungle, he found the rivers “whose banks were
rotting into mud, whose waters, thickened into slime, contorted mangroves” (ibid, 145). Rotting mud
and slime symbolically represent the contents of the unconscious. The deeper he penetrated, the more
and darker ‘mud’ and ‘slime’ he found around.
The following stage of the Hero’s journey is various tests and trials. In Heart of Darkness, the
trials are not described, they are only mentioned. Marlow notes that “the approach to this Kurtz
grubbing for ivory in the wretched bush was beset by as many dangers as though he had been an
enchanted princess sleeping in a fabulous castle” (ibid, 172). He was tested as the sailor. The hero had
to navigate the steamboat which proved to be extremely difficult. Consider:
I had to keep guessing at the channel; I had to discern, mostly by inspiration, the signs of
hidden banks; I watched for sunken stones; I was learning to clap my teeth smartly before my heart
flew out, when I shaved by a fluke some infernal sly old snag that would have ripped the life out of the
tin-pot steamboat and drowned all the pilgrims; I had to keep a lookout for the signs of dead wood we
could cut up in the night for next day’s steaming. (Conrad 1986, 164)
He faced another test when he reached the islet in the middle of the river. The hero had to
choose either to the left or to the right. The islet created an archetypal situation of the crossroads,
mainly observed in fairy-tales. Marlow chose the right passage which led him through. The final test
before reaching the Inner Station was an attack of the natives. He recollected “sticks, little sticks, were
flying about – thick: they were whizzing before my nose, dropping below me, striking behind me
against my pilot-house” (ibid, 174). The sticks were the arrows of the natives, and Marlow made an
assumption that they were poisoned. Although he did not get injured, Marlow lost the helmsman and
the “poleman” (ibid, 174) who were the important members of his crew. After the death of the two,
Marlow had to steer himself and not knowing how deep the river was at that length. Nevertheless, the
hero proved his ability to cope with the difficulties and mad right decisions. The most dangerous test
for Marlow was the encounter with his Shadow figure represented by Mr. Kurtz during which the
Shadow had to be integrated.
2.1.2 Mr. Kurtz as the Shadow figure.
One of the key elements in the Hero’s journey and individuation is the realization of the
Shadow. Franz states that Jung used this term to name the process during which a person gets
“acquainted with aspects of one's own personality that for various reasons one has preferred not to look
at too closely” (Franz 1977, 174). However, the Shadow may contain some positive features if a person
under certain conditions represses his positive side and lives out the negative. He also points out that
“the Shadow usually contains values that are needed by consciousness, but that exist in a form that
makes it difficult to integrate them into one's life” (ibid, 178). The Shadow embodies the qualities the
person dislikes in others and thus represents the opposite side of the Ego. The scholar maintains that in
dreams and myths the Shadow appears as a person of the same sex as the one who dreams.
In Heart of Darkness, the man of dark mystery is Mr. Kurtz. He is the Shadow figure of the
hero Marlow. The first parallel between the hero and his Shadow is that these two characters are the
only two in the story who are given names. All the other are addressed either by kinship or by their
profession and there is one case when a character representing the Self is identified by nationality as
Russian. If the Shadow is the opposite of the Ego, Kurtz and Marlow respectively, it means that they
both have the positive and negative aspects of the character. On the supposition that the hero assumes
his Shadow as a remarkable person it may be stated that the Shadow possesses some good qualities.
Thus, Mr. Kurtz as the Shadow encompasses both the negative and the positive. These aspects should
be analyzed separately.
On the one hand, Kurtz represents the lack of restraint which is shown in the story. Both
Marlow and Kurtz were thought to be capable of bringing civilization to savage country. Marlow
mentions that before he started the journey he felt “just as though [he] had got a heavenly mission to
civilize” (Conrad 1986, 138) his friends in England whom he tells the story of his journey to the jungle.
He admits that he was “hindering you fellows in your work and invading your homes” (ibid.). The
verbs hinder and invade suggest the irritating and unsound character of the way Marlow was civilizing.
Meanwhile, Mr. Kurtz was sent to the jungle as “emissary of pity, and science, and progress” (ibid,
155). The hero learned that “most appropriately, the International Society for the Suppression of
Savage Customs had intrusted [Mr. Kurtz] with the making of a report, for its future guidance” (ibid,
179). The main difference between them is that Marlow tried to civilize his friends on the conscious
level of his psyche, i.e. in Europe, while Mr. Kurtz represents the unconscious aspect, i.e. the jungle.
Although Kurtz managed to write the report, he failed in bringing civilization. His picture which he had
painted in the Central Station is important to be analyzed here. Consider Marlow’s description:
Then I noticed a small sketch in oils, on a panel, representing a woman, draped and blindfolded,
carrying a lighted torch. The background was somber – almost black. The movement of the woman was
stately, and the effect of the torchlight on the face was sinister. (ibid, 155)
The picture might be interpreted as an illustration of civilization bringing process. The woman
might be considered as an allegory of European civilization represented by Kurtz. He was supposed
civilize the savage natives, however, he did not in which way to achieve it. She carries a lighted torch
which symbolizes spirituality, intelligence, culture, and spirituality. If the torch is used in an
inappropriate way it symbolizes destruction. However, the woman is blindfolded; thus, she cannot see
the lighted way herself. This fact together with the dark background implies that the woman belongs to
darkness and does not understand the idea of the light of civilization and all its aspects. As a result, the
woman does not know how to move and how to find a right direction. The sinister effect of the light on
her face implies that the woman is in danger. She cannot see the light, but she becomes visible to the
darkness which devours her. Moreover, Kurtz embodies features opposite to those of the civilized man.
He had returned to primeval habits, yet deformed: between and betwixt, neither the one, nor the other.
He assumed himself superior over the natives of the jungle by claiming “that we whites, from the point
of development we have arrived at, ‘must necessarily appear to them [savages] in the nature of
supernatural beings – we approach them with the might as of a deity” (ibid, 179). Kurtz is sure that “by
the simple exercise of our will we can exert a power for good practically unbounded” (ibid, 179).
Unfortunately, when Kurtz took his power over the natives, he was tempted to abuse them and did it
with the same intensity as he had planned to civilize them. Kurtz, representing the Shadow, “came <...>
with thunder and lightning” (ibid, 184) and “he had the power to charm or frighten rudimentary souls
into an aggravated witch-dance in his honor; he could also fill the small souls of the pilgrims with bitter
misgivings” (ibid, 179). It may be assumed that the personal Shadow of the hero, embodied in the
character of Mr. Kurtz, had developed after the collective instincts, represented by the natives, entered
his unconscious. Thus, the Shadow who belongs to the personal part of psyche took dominion over the
instincts which belong to the collective unconscious. He abused the natives in two ways. Firstly, he was
“getting himself adored” (ibid, 185) and secondly “he got a tribe to follow him” and “he raided the
country” (ibid, 184) for the ivory. The way he acted “only showed that Mr. Kurtz lacked restraint in the
gratification of his various lusts” and that “there was something wanting in him” (ibid, 186). With the
use of the archetype of the Shadow Conrad depicted how the unconscious showed Marlow what his
consciousness needed. Although there is almost no information about Marlow’s personal life, the fact
that Kurtz had no restraint shows that Marlow was very limited in gratification of his wishes.
On the other hand, Mr. Kurtz had a “gift of noble and lofty eloquence” (ibid, 196). Marlow was
amazed by the report for the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs.
The peroration was magnificent, though difficult to remember, you know. It gave me the notion
of an exotic Immensity ruled by an august Benevolence. It made me tingle with enthusiasm. This was
the unbounded power of eloquence – of words – of burning noble words. There were no practical hints
to interrupt the magic current of phrases. (ibid, 179)
Kurtz, archetypally the hero’s Shadow, “presented himself as a voice” (ibid, 176) and all the
other characters “were so little more than voices” (ibid, 177). The fact that the characters were no more
than voices reveals their intangible nature. It may be assumed that the unconscious communicated with
the conscious self using voices and the strongest of them was the voice of the Shadow. Kurtz’ ability to
talk was the main characteristics he was adored for by other people. Among all his talents Marlow
distinguishes the gift to express himself:
The point was in his being a gifted creature, and that of all his gifts the one that stood out
preeminently, that carried with it a sense of real presence, was his ability to talk, his words – the gift of
expression, the bewildering, the illuminating, the most exalted and the most contemptible, the pulsating
stream of light, or the deceitful flow from the heart of an impenetrable darkness. (ibid, 176)
Although, Marlow is presented as a perfect teller of stories, it may be assumed that until he
integrated his Shadow he was an introvert. Franz explains that Jung used the term for “a man who tends
to retire too much from outer world” (Franz 1977, 178). Marlow recalled that when he was going to the
jungle he felt “the idleness of a passenger, my isolation amongst all these men with whom I had no
point of contact” (ibid, 144). Due to his reserved nature, the hero’s Shadow appeared as an eloquent
person implying the quality the conscious needed. Franz states that, according to Jung, it is a
complicated task to integrate one’s Shadow because it is not always enough to be righteous and to use
one’s insight. He warns that there is such “a passionate drive within the Shadowy part of oneself that
reason may not prevail against it” (Franz 1977, 182). The outward experience or the Self may help one
to repress the Shadow’s drives and impulses. The Self can be defined “as an inner guiding factor that is
different from the conscious personality and that can be grasped only through the investigation of one's
own dreams” (ibid, 163). However, the Shadow may possesses “valuable, vital forces, they ought to be
assimilated into actual experience and not repressed” (ibid, 183). In such a case the Ego must live out
what initially seems to be dark, but truly is not. It is worth reminding that the Shadow should be treated
“exactly like any human being with whom one has to get along, sometimes by giving in, sometimes by
resisting, sometimes by giving love – whatever the situation requires” (ibid, 182). In the novella,
Marlow was helped by his Self to integrate the Shadow.
2.1.3 The Self as reflected in the character of the Russian.
In Heart of Darkness the archetype of the Self is symbolically represented by the character of
the Russian whom Marlow met at Kurtz’ station:
There he was before me, in motley, as though he had absconded from a troupe of mimes,
enthusiastic, fabulous. His very existence was improbable, inexplicable, and altogether bewildering. He
was an insoluble problem. It was inconceivable how he had existed, how he has succeeded in getting so
far, how he managed to remain – why he did not instantly disappear. <…> The glamour of youth
enveloped his parti-colored rags, his destitution, his loneliness, the essential desolation of his futile
wanderings. <…> Glamour urged him on, glamour kept him unscathed. He surely wanted nothing from
wilderness but space to breathe in and to push on through. His need was to exist, and to move onwards
at the greatest possible risk, and with a maximum of privation. (Conrad 1986, 183)
The Self is an archetype pointing to the wholeness of psyche. It is a state when an individual does not
have any secret wishes. The Russian’s need to exist “with a maximum of privation” shows that the Self
is not obsessed by the wishes opposes the Shadow who greedy. The fact that the Russian was a son of
an arch-priest suggests him to be of spiritual nature. The Self urges the Ego into individuation. It often
suggests the ways how the Ego should act in order to overcome the obstacles. In the story, it was the
Russian who had helped Marlow to face Mr. Kurtz. Franz notes that “Jung has demonstrated, the
nucleus of the psyche (the Self) normally expresses itself in some kind of fourfold structure” (Franz
1977, 195). There was a symbolic number four involved in the story, too, as the Self helped Marlow
four times. The first instance of help was about fifty miles below the Inner Station. Marlow noticed a
hut with a stacked woodpile which was unexpected and a piece of board with the following inscription
on it: “Wood for you. Hurry up. Approach cautiously” (ibid, 167). The wood was needed for the
steamboat to move on, and the warning meant that it was dangerous to approach Kurtz, i.e. the Shadow.
Since it was already dusk, Marlow did not continue his journey and in the morning he was attacked by
the natives. Later on Marlow was told by the Russian that “it was Kurtz who had ordered the attack to
be made on the steamer” and explained that “he thought it would scare you away – that you would give
it up, thinking him dead” (ibid, 191). This situation reveals different impacts of the Self and the
Shadow upon the Ego. The Shadow is cunning and trying to break the process of individuation, so he
tries to deceive the Ego. Had Marlow believed that Kurtz was dead and had returned, he would have
failed to complete the process of individuation. However, the Self acts in an opposite way. The pile of
wood suggests the impetus to continue and the warning reveals protectiveness since the Self is
interested in that the Ego would reach individuation. The second time was when the steamboat nearly
reached the bank of Inner Station. The Russian warned Marlow that “there’s a snag lodged in there last
night” (ibid, 181). In this case the Self saved the Ego from the complex25 symbolically shown by
Marlow being not able to stand the loss of the steamboat.
After all, for a seaman to scrape the bottom of the thing that’s supposed to float all the time
under his care is the unpardonable sin. No one may know of it, but you never forget the thump – eh? A
blow on the very heart. You remember it, you dream of it, you wake up at night and think of it – years
after – and go hot and cold all over. (Conrad 1986, 164)
Moreover, the Russian told Marlow that in the case of trouble with the natives “one good
screech [of the steamboat’s whistle] will do more than all your rifles” (ibid, 182). Here he taught him
that in the jungle, or the unconscious, the physical force has no effect and that the problems might be
solved in other ways. The natives were not frightened by the rifles whereas they were afraid of the
steamboat which embodied a fierce river-demon. Finally, the Russian instructed Marlow how to act
with Mr. Kurtz. Symbolically, the Self guides the Ego so that the Shadow would not turn into hostile.
Marlow was told that one day Mr. Kurtz wanted to shoot the Russian for a small lot of ivory which the
latter was forced to give him. It may be assumed that the Self warns the Ego to give the Shadow
whatever he wants because “there was nothing on earth to prevent him killing whom he jolly pleased”
(ibid, 185). However, it should not be assumed literally that the Shadow must be provided with
everything he is craving for. The Self implies that the Ego should not restrict and suppress his wishes
because it has a negative effect on the unconscious mind. He also told Marlow that “you don’t talk with
that man – you listen to him” (ibid, 182), thus implying that the Ego should listen into the needs of the
Shadow before making any judgments. Marlow acknowledges that he “hadn’t heard any of these
splendid monologues on, what was it? on love, justice, conduct of life – or what not” (ibid, 187). The
range of the topic Kurtz spoke on suggests that the Shadow is present at every conscious event and
decision. The fact that the Shadow should be given whatever he wants and that he should be listened to
implies that the Ego must learn to listen to him in order to integrate his Shadow into the conscious
psyche. The hints of the Russian, archetypally the Self, given to Marlow, or archetypally the Ego, will
prove very helpful when Marlow confronts Mr. Kurtz. The guide gave the hero four pieces of advice
Complexes are “repressed emotional themes than can cause constant psychological disturbances or even, in many cases,
the symptoms of a neurosis” (Jung 1977, 11).
and the hero gave him four things in his turn. He supplied the Russian with tobacco, cartridges, shoes
and he gave back his book which he had lost next to the woodpile. All the four elements made the
Russian “think himself excellently well equipped for a renewed encounter with the wilderness” (ibid,
192). The departure of the Self suggests that the Ego has gained enough knowledge and is ready to
encounter the Shadow.
Marlow’s encounter with Mr. Kurtz is the culminating point in the story. Marlow woke up at
night filled with the monotonous beating of the drum which had a narcotic effect upon his senses. It
should be mentioned that the doctor whom Marlow visited at the beginning warned him that “in the
tropics one must before everything keep calm” (ibid, 143). If a person is not calm, he is distracted and
cannot hear the inner voice. Marlow “confounded the beat of the drum with the beating of [his] heart,
and was pleased at its calm regularity” (ibid, 193). When the hero faces his Shadow, he realizes that he
had for his “sins, I suppose – to go through the ordeal of looking into myself” (ibid, 194). Marlow, who
had been instructed by his Self, understood that “this was clearly not a case for fisticuffs, even apart
from the very natural aversion I had to beat that Shadow” (ibid, 193). He tried to persuade him to come
back because he “did not want to have the throttling of him, you understand – and indeed it would have
been very little use for any practical purpose” (ibid, 194). Marlow understood that the physical death of
Kurtz would not mean his victory since the Shadow has to be integrated, thus accepted into the
conscious. The Russian has taught him that in the unconscious the symbolic things possess much
greater power than the real ones. Thus, the hero “tried to break the spell – the heavy, mute spell of the
wilderness – that seemed to draw him to its pitiless breast by awakening of forgotten and brutal
instincts, by the memory the memory of gratified and monstrous passions” (ibid, 194). Marlow thought
that he had struggled with the soul and that he had “even like niggers, to invoke him – himself – his
own exalted and incredible degradation” (ibid, 194). Marlow’s words reached his Shadow as he was
“cocksure of everything that night” (ibid, 193)26 and he said the right words. The fact that the hero tried
to invoke Mr. Kurtz signifies that the Ego had made allowances. When he was told about the
ceremonies how the chiefs approached Kurtz, Marlow found that “such details would be more
intolerable than those heads drying on the stakes under Mr. Kurtz’ windows” (ibid, 187). He had in
mind the heads of the natives (who were called rebels) pulled on the poles for an example to make the
natives scared. Another case when the Ego shows the compromise is found in the episode when
Marlow returned home and told lie to Kurtz’ fiancée that the last words Kurtz uttered contained her
name. However, before he stressed the following: “I hate, detest, and can’t bear a lie, not because I am
Franz states that “somewhere, right at the bottom of one's own being, one generally does know where one should go and
what one should do” (Franz 1977, 184).
straighter than the rest of us, but simply because it appalls me (ibid, 157). Franz states that according to
Jung it is necessary for “the ego to give up its pride and priggishness and to live out something that
seems to be dark, but actually may not be” (Franz 1977, 183). In Marlow’s situation his invocation
which had seemed intolerable to him helped Kurtz to return to himself and the lies he told saved the
world of Mr. Kurtz’ fiancée as she had believed that “his goodness shone in every act” (ibid, 204). The
hero succeeded in fighting his Shadow and managed to convince for union:
I kept my head pretty well; but when I had him at last stretched on the couch, I wiped my
forehead, while my legs shook under me as though I had carried half of ton on my back down the hill.
And yet I had only supported him, his bony arm clasped round my neck – and he was not much heavier
than a child. (Conrad 1986, 195)
The excerpt suggests that it is extremely hard to deal with the Shadow. The paradox of weight
implies that one should never depreciate the difficulty of the integration of the Shadow. Kurtz’
comparison with a child alludes to the time when the Shadow had started to develop, but his weight
implies how immense his sins were. When Marlow had integrated his Shadow, “this initiated wraith
from the back of Nowhere honored me with its amazing confidence before it vanished altogether” (ibid,
178). The “Nowhere” is the unconscious suggesting that the Shadow came to the conscious psyche and
the integration is paralleled with vanishing.
2.1.4 The dual image of the Anima.
As Franz finds it, Jung states that “often [Anima] turns up behind the Shadow, bringing up new
and different problems” (Franz 1977, 186). In Conrad's story, the archetype of the Anima is a complex
one, since it is represented by the two distinctive women characters and is not directly connected with
the Hero, but is rather viewed in relation to the Shadow embodied in the figure of Mr. Kurtz. One is the
native woman whom Mr. Kurtz met in the jungle and another is her counterpart, his fiancée in Europe
whom Kurtz called “My Intended” (Conrad 1986, 178). Nevertheless, the two women have an indirect
impact on Marlow, since “to him the meaning of an episode was not inside like a kernel but outside”
(ibid, 136). Thus, it may be assumed that, according to the archetypal pattern of the Hero’s journey,
Marlow happens to recognize the possible variations of the two-fold Anima.
After confronting Mr. Kurtz in the jungle and persuading him not to join the natives in their
rites, Marlow brought him on the deck of the steamboat and saw the native woman who was Kurtz’
She walked with measured steps, draped in striped and fringed cloths, treading the earth
proudly, with a slight jingle and flash of barbarous ornaments. She carried her head high; her hair was
done in the shape of a helmet; she had brass leggings to the knee, brass wire gauntlets to the elbow, a
crimson spot on her tawny cheek, innumerable necklaces of glass beads on her neck; bizarre things,
charms, gifts of witch-men, that hung about her, glittered and trembled at every step. She must have had
the value of seven elephant tusks upon her. She was savage and superb, wild-eyed and magnificent;
there was something ominous and stately in her deliberate progress. (ibid, 189)
The description shows the native woman as fascinating and abominable. Marlow found her
“superb” and “magnificent”, self-assured by her femininity as she walked “proudly” and “with
measured steps”. But at the same time she was “savage”, “wild-eyed” and “ominous”. She embodied
the “tenebrous and passionate soul” (ibid.) of the wilderness. Since the savage woman is related to Mr.
Kurtz and represents the wilderness where he resided it should be noted that Kurtz both desired and
hated “all this and somehow couldn’t get away” (ibid, 185). Marlow described the state of Kurtz as
“the fascination of abomination – you know, imagine the growing regrets, the longing to escape, the
powerless disgust, the surrender, the hate” (ibid, 137). The black woman embodies the negative Anima,
i.e. the Temptress. The temptress kept Kurtz by her “charms”, however, he strived to get back to his
fiancée. The similar love is found in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 144:
Two loves I have of comfort and despair,
Which like two spirits do suggest me still:*
The better angel is a man right fair,
The worser spirit a woman colour'd ill.
To win me soon to hell*, my female evil
Tempteth my better angel from my side,
And would corrupt my saint to be a devil,
Wooing his purity with her foul pride.27
As Franz suggests the projections of the Anima is found in Temptress in the figure of Lorelei, a
water spirit whose singing lures men to death. The scholar refers to a Siberian tale to illustrate the
seduction-based destructive behaviour of the negative Anima. In the tale the hunter is seduced by a
woman on the other bank of the river by her beautiful songs:
Oh, come, lonely hunter in the stillness of dusk.
Come, come! I miss you, I miss you!
Now I will embrace you, embrace you!
Come, come! My nest is near, my nest is near.
Come, come, lonely hunter, now in the stillness of dusk.
(Franz 1977, 190)
Shakespeare, W. Sonnet 144. In http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/144.html
In Heart of Darkness, Kurtz was tempted by the wilderness whose embodiment the native
woman is. She “had taken him, loved him, embraced him, got into his veins, consumed his flesh, and
sealed his soul to its own by the inconceivable ceremonies of some devilish initiation” (Conrad 1986,
177)28. The pattern of embrace is observed in both stories. The lonely hunter may be paralleled with
Mr. Kurtz who “wandered alone far in the depths of the forest” (ibid, 184). Another similarity is that
both the hunter and Kurtz were tempted to swim across the river. In his interpretation of the tale Franz
suggests that the Anima is a symbol of illusionary love that lures the hunter away from reality. He
drowns since “he ran after a wishful fantasy that could not be fulfilled” (Franz 1977, 190). Mr. Kurtz
had a fantasy, too. He wished to civilize the savage people, however, it was unachievable and
symbolically he had nearly got drowned by taking “a high seat amongst the devils of the land” (Conrad
1986, 178). Marlow was not lured into temptation since he recognized the danger of temptation with its
devastating effects through his contemplation on Mr. Kurtz’ life. The barbarity and savageness of the
woman show her inner power which is symbolically reinforced by her helmet-shaped hairstyle, brass
leggings and brass wire gauntlets pointing to armour. Her appearance suggests an element of a female
warrior ready to fight for the possession of Mr. Kurtz. When seeing her, the Russian said that “if she
had offered to come aboard I really think I would have tried to shoot her” (ibid, 189-190). Since the
figure of the Russian represents the very determination of the Self not to allow the Anima to approach
the Hero suggests that the Anima, or the savage woman, was eager to draw the Shadow, embodied in
Mr. Kurtz, back to the jungle, archetypally the unconscious. Thus, it may be assumed that the Anima
tried to prevent the integration of the Shadow, but it failed as Mr. Kurtz had stayed on the steamboat
and left for Europe. Moreover, the “bizarre things, charms, gifts of witch-men” of the native woman
suggest that she might be taken for a female shaman and thus represent the prophetic hunches which
are one of the manifestations of the Anima in man (Franz 1977, 186). Marlow had such hunches when
he left for Africa he “began to feel slightly uneasy <…> and there was something ominous in the
atmosphere” (Conrad 1986, 141). This feeling had warned him of the dangers he would encounter in
Another representation of the Anima is embodied in the figure of Kurtz’ fiancée. Marlow
describes her in the following way:
She struck me as beautiful – I mean she had a beautiful expression. <…> She seemed ready to
listen without mental reservation, without suspicion, without a thought for herself. She came forward, all
in black, with a pale head, floating towards me in the dusk. <…> I noticed she was not very young – I
Italics mine. (Artūras Cechanovičius)
mean not girlish. She had a mature capacity for fidelity, for belief, for suffering. <…> This fair hair, this
pale visage, this pure brow, seemed surrounded by an ashy halo from which the dark eyes looked out at
me. Their glance was guileless, profound, confident, and trustful. She carried her sorrowful head as
though she were proud of her sorrow. (ibid, 200; 202)
As the extract shows, for Mr. Kurtz, his fiancée represents an ideal woman since she has a
highly developed ability to listen. And the Russian remarks that “you don’t talk with that man [Kurtz],
you listen to him” (ibid, 182). It should be noted, that Mr. Kurtz (or the Shadow) was totally dependent
his listener. As Franz posits, Jung thought that a man must get along with his Shadow and listen to its
needs (Franz 1977, 182). Thus, it may be assumed that for a long time Marlow had no chance to hear
the voice of Mr. Kurtz directly, and hence, the needs of his Shadow. Its messages were communicated
to the conscious self through the Self, embodied in the Russian, or the Anima embodied in the native
woman and Mr. Kurtz’ fiancée. It may be claimed that the character and content of Kurtz’ speech was
provoked by his interlocutors. When he talked to the Russian who wished to “see things, gather
experience, ideas; enlarge the mind” (Conrad 1986, 182), Kurtz spoke “on love, justice, conduct of life
– or what not” (ibid, 187). The natives listened to him as to some deity and fully obeyed his orders.
Moreover, they as listeners awakened in him the sleeping powers of evil. Meanwhile, the native
woman at the time when the Russian met her seemed not to listen to him but rather talked “like a fury”
(ibid, 190). The very fact that she was not scared by him and could even control some of his actions
reinforces her image of a commanding warrior and Temptress at the same time. Contrariwise, Kurtz’
fiancée was “proud to know [she] understood him better than anyone on earth – [Kurtz] told [her] so
himself” (ibid, 203). However, she lived in the realm of illusion which is symbolically illustrated in the
picture painted by Kurtz which represents a woman, draped and blindfolded, carrying a lighted torch.
The background was somber – almost black” (ibid, 155). The epithet blindfolded, symbolically
represents illusion since she does not see the real world. It is also embodied in the dark background of
the picture. That may be paralleled with the atmosphere in the fiancée’s house. Marlow remarks that
“with every word spoken the room was getting darker, and only her forehead, smooth and white,
remained illumined by the unextinguishable light of belief and love” (ibid, 202). The darkness for
Marlow symbolizes the illusion Kurtz’ fiancée lived in. Due to her “great illusion that shone with
unearthly glow in the darkness” (ibid, 203), Marlow as the Hero did not integrate the Anima into his
consciousness. Since he believed that women should live “in the world of their own [illusion]” (ibid,
143), he did not reveal her the truth about Mr. Kurtz and lied that his last utterance was her name which
in reality was – “The Horror! The Horror!” (ibid, 204)
Kurtz’ fiancée represents the capacity for personal love in man’s psyche. She claimed that “it
was impossible to know him [Kurtz] and not to admire him” (ibid, 202). Moreover, when Marlow kept
hesitating to tell her the last words of Kurtz since they were very heavy ones – “The Horror! The
Horror!” – she outcried “don’t you understand I loved him – I loved him – I loved him!” (ibid, 204). In
her case, the fact that she repeated it thrice suggests the spiritual nature of her love. The symbolic
meaning of number three is reinforced by the image of the “ashy halo” (ibid, 202) suggesting the halo
represented in the religious pictures of the Virgin Mary and the saints. The epithets “fair” and “pale”
symbolically suggest an implied whiteness which, in its turn, has a connotation of purity and, together
with the epithet “pure”, implies her innocence. Thus, it may be suggested that Kurtz’ fiancée represents
the divine or spiritual aspect of love for another person. The “ashy halo” implies the sorrow of the
fiancée which may be paralleled with the lamentation of the Virgin Mary for Christ. The ashy colour
may also be related to Ash Wednesday which is the first day of mourning Lent.
The two women are very different and at the same both are related with Mr. Kurtz, or the
Shadow. It should be noted that as the two variations of the Anima, they appear from the unconscious.
The native woman is portrayed in the background of the jungle which is the archetypal pattern
representing the unconscious. When Marlow returned from the jungle, he went to the house of Kurtz'
fiancée and gave his letters to her as Mr. Kurtz had asked him to do. When he came in, “a high door
opened – closed” (ibid, 201), and she approached him. On the symbolical level, the door represents a
threshold. Throughout his theory Jung mentions the threshold between the conscious and the
unconscious. Thus, it may be stated that the fiancée represents an archetype of Marlow’s unconscious
as well. Finally, Marlow gives the parallel between the two women. Consider “[she] put out her arms as
if after a retreating figure [she was] resembling in this gesture another one, tragic also, and bedecked
with powerless charms, stretching bare brown arms over the glitter of the infernal stream, the stream of
darkness” (Conrad, 204). It should be noted that, archetypally, this parallel may be considered as the
parallel between Eve and the Virgin Mary, represented in the savage woman and the fiancée
respectively. The native woman tempted Mr. Kurtz as Eve tempted Adam. In both cases, the temptation
resulted in the Fall which, in its turn, resulted in the torments of Hell. The fact that Kurtz experienced
inner Hell may be confirmed by his last utterance “The Horror! The Horror!” (ibid, 204). However, his
willingness to return to his fiancée may be paralleled to the reconciliation.
It is noteworthy that both women felt sorrow for the loss of Mr. Kurtz. This congruity of the
emotion in both characters embodying the Anima resembles Marlow’s emotion before he had talked to
Kurtz. After the steamboat was attacked, Marlow thought that Mr. Kurtz might be dead and his “sorrow
had a startling extravagance of emotion, [he] couldn’t have felt more lonely desolation somehow, had
[he] been robbed of a belief or had missed [his] destiny in life” (ibid, 176). Such outburst of emotion
Marlow told his male listeners of was accepted treated by them as absurd. To decipher it Franz insight
that Jung names vague feelings and moods as the other manifestation of the Anima in man might be
beneficial (Franz 1977, 186). It should be noted that the difference between the two women represents
the different sides of the archetypal Anima. In his study of Jung’s archetypal theory, Franz claims that
Jung introduces four stages of the Anima. Thus, the figure of the savage woman points to the first stage
which encompasses “purely instinctual and biological relations” and is related to Eve (ibid, 195),
whereas Kurtz’ fiancée embodies its third stage and is a personification of “love (eros) [in] the heights
of spiritual devotion” (ibid.) and is related to the motif of the Virgin Mary. It is worth remembering
here that Kurtz had his relation with the savage woman within the jungle, the archetype of the
unconscious, in which the memory of the “forgotten and brutal instincts <…> the memory of gratified
and monstrous passions” (Conrad 1986, 194) is encoded. It implies that the Shadow demonstrates the
fall from spiritual devotion to wild instinctual passion. Franz posits that “the secret aim of the
unconscious, in bringing about such an entanglement is to force a man to develop and to bring his own
being to maturity by integrating more of his unconscious personality and bringing it into his real life”
(Franz 1977, 191). In the novella, Marlow finally integrates his Shadow embodied in the figure of Mr.
Kurtz who died after having made the decision to leave the native woman and to return to his fiancée.
The facts that Marlow did not tell Kurtz’ fiancée the truth thus leaving her in the world of illusion and
that the native woman had been left in the jungle suggests that they had not been integrated into the
conscious self and remained in the realm of the unconscious. However, Marlow had a chance to
confront them due to their relation to Mr. Kurtz who represents Marlow’s Shadow. And having no more
than “the choice of the nightmare” (ibid, 190), the Hero refused to integrate either of them. Hence, it
may be assumed that the Shadow has entered the conscious self leaving the Anima in the unconscious
still to be integrated. Marlow had to admit the existence of his unconscious femininity when he was
overwhelmed by the sorrow for Mr. Kurtz. He had also discovered how devastating the fall from the
spiritual sphere to the instinctual passion might be.
2.2 Mythopoetic projections of the woman’s image.
The archetypal pattern of the Hero’s Journey reveals only one of the patterns observed in the
story. Another archetypal pattern in Heart of Darkness is that of the woman and it is presented
following the mythological frame suggested by Maud Bodkin. In the novella there are only a few
women characters. However, they are of great importance within the framework of the story and
represent the archetypal feminine aspects. Bodkin distinguishes several types of woman images. She
recognizes a woman as a mother or guardian goddess or a temptress and destroyer of man. Bodkin
proposes other feminine aspects which are irrelevant for this BA thesis. (Bodkin 1978, 158)
2.2.1 The figure of the aunt as the representation of the Mother-goddess.
The scholar suggests examining the mother-image “with its relation, in individual history, to
infantile fear and dependence, and in literary history to representations of a maternal goddess. In
Conrad’s, story the reader may identify Marlow’s aunt as the mother goddess who takes care of her
child” (ibid.). The character of the aunt stirs in mind the image of a mother who is “determined to make
no end of fuss” (Conrad 1986, 139) to meet the wishes of her beloved child. Marlow had a feeling that
he had to get to the jungle “by hook or by crook” (ibid.). When Marlow realized he would not get the
chance to get appointed for a job he asked his aunt for help as he knew that she had some acquaintances
in the highest layers of the company he wanted to work for. The aunt happened to know “the wife of a
very high personage in the Administration, and also a man who has lots of influence with, etc. etc.”
(ibid.). Similarly, the Greek hero Achilles asked his mother Thetis, who was a goddess and had some
impact on the mythological mount of Olympus where the gods lived, to beseech for him from Zeus
vengeance upon the Achaians because Agamemnon had taken from him the daughter of Briseus, his
meed of honour. In both stories, the effort of the mother is rewarded, as she achieves what she was
promised. In the case of Conrad, Marlow got appointed as skipper on a river steamboat because “the
Company had received news that one of their captains had been killed in a scuffle with natives”
(Conrad 1986, 140). The sudden death of the captain may show the supernatural powers of the mothergoddess who put efforts to help her child. Meanwhile in Homer, Thetis wins from Zeus “the boon of ill
fortune for the Greeks in battle” (Bodkin 1978, 159).
Bodkin refers to Jane Harrison who takes the relationship between a man and a goddess as sign
of ‘high companionship’ (Bodkin 1978, 160), and states that later on the patriarchal conditions changed
the role of the goddess and replaced it by “a sequestered and servile domesticity” (Bodkin 1978, 160).
The archetypal image of the mother-goddess arose as the relaxation of tension under matriarchal
conditions. However, with the coming of the patriarchal system, to put it in Gilbert Murray’s wording,
“women-ignoring atmosphere” arose and the image of the mother-goddess was suppressed. Such
suppression took place due to the fact that the souls of the conquerors of the foreign lands would
experience certain tension and their mind would get filled from the unconscious “by an image that has
relation as well to collective tendencies toward an older worship as to individual tendencies toward the
dependence of infancy” (Bodkin 1978, 161). Thus, it would diminish the spirit of the conquerors since
they would feel homesick. This image was suppressed so long ago that Marlow did not recall the close
relationship men had with women. He said that
it’s queer how out of touch with truth women are. They live in a world of their own, and there
has never been anything like it, and never can be. It is too beautiful altogether, and if they were to set it
up it would go to pieces before the first sunset. Some confounded fact we men have been living
contentedly with ever since the day of creation would start up and knock the whole thing over (Conrad
Later on, when comparing the dark and savage world of the jungle with the peaceful world of
the continental city Marlow claimed that “they – the women I mean – are out of it – should be out of it.
We must help them, to stay in that beautiful world of their own, lest ours gets worse” (Conrad 1986,
177). Marlow’s words suggest that the archetype of the mother-goddess has lost its significance in the
course of time as well as in the course of the story. Marlow’s aunt who had a power to help him at the
beginning of the story had lost it at the end of it when Marlow had returned from the Jungle. She
attempted to cure him as his “temperature was seldom normal” (Conrad 1986, 199), but his “aunt’s
endeavors to ‘nurse up my strength’ seemed altogether beside the mark (Conrad 1986, 199). Her failure
to cure him symbolically represents the loss of her dreams. Marlow’s aunt wished him to bring
civilization to the jungle, but he did not go there any more. Thus, symbolically Marlow has rejected the
influence of the mother-goddess.
2.2.2 The Wilderness viewed as the embodiment of the archetypal Temptress.
Another archetype of the woman which is distinguished in the novella is that of the temptress
and destroyer of man. This archetypal feminine aspect is presented in the mythological frame of Epic
of Gilgamesh29 the Babylonian goddess Ishtar30 is “faithless to her lovers and the source of their ruin”
(Bodkin 1978, 173). The archetypal pattern of Ishtar is symbolically represented by the Jungle that
tempted Mr. Kurtz. The Jungle represents the forest which is the symbol of femininity. Moreover,
according to le Goff, the forest as well as the desert is a place of temptation and its etymology relates
the word with the concept of loneliness 31 (Le Goff, 2003, 88, 94). The jungle is also addressed as the
Wilderness or nature whose “own tenebrous and passionate soul” (Conrad 1986, 189) was embodied in
In Mesopotamian mythology, Gilgamesh is credited with having been a demigod of superhuman strength who built a
great city wall to defend his people from external threats.
Ishtar is a goddess of fertility, love, war, and sex. She had many lovers whom she treated cruelly when they left for the
favours heaped on them.
The word forest originated from late Latin forestis which was used in 648 Sigebert III writ with the connotation of
a “gorgeous apparition of a woman” (ibid, 189). She is described as “savage and superb, wild-eyed and
magnificent” (ibid, 189). Marlow understands that the Wilderness had shown devastating affection to
Mr. Kurtz. He says:
the Wilderness had patted him on the head, and, behold, it was like a ball – an ivory ball; it had
caressed him, and – lo! – he had withered; it had taken him, loved him, embraced him, got into his
veins, consumed his flesh, and sealed his soul to its own by the inconceivable ceremonies of some
devilish initiation. He was its spoiled and pampered favorite 32. (ibid, 177)
The words in italics reveal that the love of the Wilderness is passionate and superficial. She has
tempted him by light touches on his head which drove him mad, then it took him in to her bosom
showing affection and destroying at the same time.
The goddess Ishtar was above all associated with sexuality and her love and favour was of
sexual nature, the love of the Wilderness to Mr. Kurtz manifested itself in “the gratification of his
various lusts” (Conrad 1986, 185). The ultimate desire of Mr. Kurtz was ivory. The Wilderness fulfilled
his wish and he had so much of it that one “would think here was not a single tusk left either above or
below the ground in the whole country” (Conrad 1986, 177).
Gilgamesh points to the merciless way of Ishtar treating her lovers:
You loved the supremely mighty lion,
yet you dug for him seven and again seven pits.
You loved the stallion, famed in battle,
yet you ordained for him the whip, the goad, and the lash,
ordained for him to gallop for seven and seven hours,
ordained for him drinking from muddled waters,’
you ordained far his mother Silili to wail continually.
You loved the Shepherd, the Master Herder,
who continually presented you with bread baked in embers,
and who daily slaughtered for you a kid.
Yet you struck him, and turned him into a wolf,
so his own shepherds now chase him
and his own dogs snap at his shins.33
The relationship between Mr. Kurtz and the Wilderness is archetypally represented following
the same mythological frame of the revenge of the goddess Ishtar on her lovers who were deprived of
what was best for them or turned into something terribly opposite of what they were, just like a
shepherd was turned into a wolf,. Marlow suggests that
Italics mine (Artūras Cechanovičius).
The quotation is from The Epic of Gilgamesh Tablet VI translated by Maureen Gallery Kovacs in
the Wilderness had found him [Mr. Kurtz] out early, and had taken on him terrible vengeance for
the fantastic invasion. I think it had whispered to him things about himself which he did not know, things
which he had no conception till he took counsel with his great solitude – and the whisper had proved
irresistibly fascinating. It echoed loudly within him because he was hollow at the core (Conrad 1986,
It may be stated that Mr. Kurtz was not turned into something opposite but he was rather turned
inside out. The whisper implies the temptation which was hard to resist since Kurtz was morally vain.
The whisper of the jungle had an immense effect on him revealed by the loud echoing. The hissing
sound o the whisper implies the temptation of the serpent in Christian tradition. The Wilderness just
like the mythical Ishtar turned Mr. Kurtz into his opposite. He was supposed to bring civilization for
the savages and believed that “each station should be like a beacon on the road towards better things, a
center for trade, of course, but also for humanizing, improving, instructing” (Conrad 1986, 162). Mr.
Kurtz had ideas and “immense plans” (ibid, 194) which he did not manage to implement since “the
appetite for more ivory had got the better of the – what shall I say? – less material aspirations” (ibid,
185). Eventually, Mr. Kurtz had taken “a high seat amongst the devils of the land – I mean literally”
(ibid, 178) and the worst punishment for him was that he “hated all this and somehow he couldn’t get
away” (ibid, 185). It may be assumed that with every fulfilled wish Kurtz craved for more and his
wishes got more intolerable until he had everything his “mad soul” (ibid, 194) hankered.
It must be noted that as their relation and revenge both the goddess Ishtar and the Wilderness
have chosen Animals or persons with outstanding qualities. Ishtar loved “the supremely mighty lion,
[…] the stallion, famed in battle, […] the Shepherd, the Master Herder” and the Wilderness preferred
Mr. Kurtz to the many white people because he was “a universal genius” (Conrad 1986, 200). As it
becomes clear from the story, Mr. Kurtz “had been essentially a great musician” (ibid.), and Marlow
took him for “a painter who wrote for papers, or else a journalist who could paint” (ibid.). It is worth to
remember the words of the journalist, who came to talk to Marlow about the last minutes of Mr. Kurtz’
life: “[his] proper sphere ought to have been politics ‘on the popular side’” (ibid.).
Moreover, in Marlow’s opinion only an intelligent and gifted person could experience such a
relationship as Mr. Kurtz had with the savage jungle. Consider:
you may be too much of a fool to go wrong – too dull even to know you are being assaulted by
the powers of the darkness. I take it, no fool ever made a bargain for his soul with the devil: the fool is
too much of a fool, or the devil too much of a devil – I don’t know which” (Conrad 1986, 178).
The archetype of the woman as a temptress and destroyer expresses the “fatality of woman in
her hold upon the passion of man” (Bodkin 1978, 173). The nature knew what was Mr. Kurtz passion
and its knowledge destroyed him. Kurtz had “no restraint” (Conrad 1986, 185) and he could not
withstand the opportunity to get what he wished. His lack of restraint may be opposed to the restraint of
the cannibals who were hungry and did not eat Marlow and his crew although “no fear can stand up to
hunger, no patience can wear it out, disgust simply does not exist where hunger is; and as to
superstitions and beliefs, and what you may call principles, they are less than chaff in a breeze” (ibid,
171). The Wilderness gave him enough to “forget himself” (ibid.). He had been worshiped by the
natives and had forgotten his goal to civilize them. However, Kurtz managed to overcome the attractive
powers of the jungle and agreed to go back to Europe. Although the nature took his body as he had died
on the way and was buried in the muddy hole his soul has escaped its charms.
2.2.3 The Company women as the symbolic projections of the mythical Fates.
Besides the two analyzed aspects of the image of the woman the third one may be presented in
the story. The woman is also seen as the arbiter of destiny. In Greek mythology, it is represented by
Fates whose equivalent in Norse mythology is Norns and Roman Parcaes. However, as the Greek
mythology developed it was believed that there were one or two and only seldom three Fates. They are
the deities who decide on human fate (Tokarev 1994, 290). Hesiod 34 portrayed the Fates as three old
women and called them Keres, which means "those who cut off," or the Moirai, "those who allot". 35
Hesiod called the latter Clotho ("the spinner"), Lachesis ("the allotter"), and Atropos ("the
In the course of time, the image of the Fates as controlling the thread of each person’s life
developed from the name Clotho with its reference to spinning thread. Clotho spun the thread and sang
of the past, Lachesis measured it out and sang of the present, and Atropos when singing of the future
cut it with a pair of shears to end the life span. The three are often portrayed as and old and ugly and
Atropos is the eldest of the three and smallest in stature.
In Norse mythology, the Fates were called the Norns and were seen as numerous female beings
who rule the fates of various races. The three principle Norns were named Urth (the past), Verthandi
(the present) and Skuld (the future).
Hesiod (Greek: Ἡσίοδος Hesiodos) was a Greek oral poet whose writings serve as a major source on Greek mythology,
farming techniques, archaic Greek astronomy and ancient time-keeping.
Encyclopedia of Myths. In http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Dr-Fi/Fates.html
In his interpretation of Völuspá36 Snorri Sturluson's states that the three Norns come out from a
hall standing at the Well of Urðr (well of fate) and they draw water from the well and take sand that lies
around it, which they pour the ash over the tree of the world Yggdrasill so that its roots will not rot.
Beside the three main norns, there were many other norns who were present at the birth of the
people and determined the person’s future. In Norse mythology, the two types of norns are
distinguished, namely, the malevolent and benevolent ones. The former were responsible for all the
tragic events in the world, while the latter were kind and protective deities.
In Heart of Darkness the woman as the arbiter of destiny is represented by the two women
Marlow met at the reception to the Company. The women “one fat and the other slim, sat on strawbottomed chairs, knitting black wool” (Conrad 1986, 141). The black wool is an equivalent of the
thread the Fates in Greek mythology where spinning and is a symbol of a person’s fate. In the novella,
the black colour implies that the fate of those who come to the Company is ominous. It is proved
further on in the story because in Congo many people died of fever, and even Marlow himself had
“wrestled with death” (ibid, 198). Mr. Kurtz’ disease and death should be taken into consideration as
Another resemblance between the women and the Fates is their appearance. Marlow mentions
that one of the women is young and the other is old. The old one sat on her chair with cloth slippers
Propped up on a footwarmer, and a cat reposed on her lap. She wore starched white affair on
her head, had a wart on one cheek, and silver-rimmed spectacles hung on the tip of her nose. She
glanced at me above the glasses. The swift and indifferent placidity of that look troubled me. Two
youths with foolish and cheery countenances were being piloted over, and she threw at them the same
quick glance of unconcerned wisdom. She seemed to know all about them and about me, too. (Conrad
As in Greek mythology, the elder woman had an ugly appearance suggested by wart on her
cheek. Her supernatural powers are implied by the image of the cat on her lap which is a common
companion of the witches. The glance with which she looks at Marlow and the two young men implies
that her knowledge embraces all the past and all the future and that she knows the fate of every person.
Considering the fact that Marlow met these women at the Company where he got appointed to
be the captain of a steamboat and received the mission to bring Mr. Kurtz back it must be said that such
was his destiny. Marlow mentions it himself when after the attack of the natives a few miles to Kurtz’
station he falsely assumed that Mr. Kurtz was dead. The hero said he felt he had been “robbed of a
belief or had missed my destiny in life” (Conrad 1986, 176). And again, when Mr. Kurtz has really
Völuspá is the first and best known poem of the Poetic Edda. It tells the story of the creation of the world and its coming
end related by a völva who was a priestess in Norse paganism addressing Odin, the chief god in Norse paganism.
passed away Marlow says: I remained to dream the nightmare out to the end, and to show my loyalty to
Kurtz once more. Destiny. My Destiny!” (ibid, 198).
The fateful role of the woman is also implied in the culminating point of the story where
Marlow encountered Kurtz at night and tried to talk him out of going to the forest where the rites in
Kurtz name were performed. While Marlow was pursuing Mr. Kurtz, he remembered the episode when
“the knitting old woman with the cat obtruded herself upon [his] memory as a most improper person to
be sitting at the other end of such an affair” (ibid, 193). He suggests that the affair with Mr. Kurtz was
very dangerous but the woman was sitting safely in the city. Moreover, the old woman represents the
archetypal pattern of the goddess Atropos of Greek mythology who cuts off the man’s thread to end the
life span. The picture of the woman Marlow met comes to his mind as he was close to death. When the
hero recalled the episode he realized how everything was arranged and understands the fateful role of
The women characters of the story represent a different aspect of the archetype of the woman.
Symbolically, the woman is seen as a mother-goddess, a temptress and destroyer of a man and as the
arbiter of destiny. The archetype of the mother-goddess proved itself to be suppressed in the mind of a
modern man, and the archetypes of a temptress and the arbiter of destiny are still active in human
Considering the archetypal mythological frame the paradigmatic conquest of Africa by the
whites and their profane mode of being opposed to the sacred of the native people should be
2.3. The revelation of sacred in the novella.
In Conrad’s story, the difference between the two modes of being, namely the sacred and the
profane is very well revealed. The white men represent the profane mode of being in the world whereas
the inhabitants of the jungle represent the sacred mode. These two modes may be portrayed by the
analysis of the archetype of the conquest as well as the sacred and the profane approach towards “the
world of tools” (Eliade 1996, 14).
2.3.1 The paradigmatic conquest of the jungle: the profane element.
The conquest of the land is archetypal as it recurs from the very beginnings of time. In the
novella, before telling his story Marlow “was thinking of the very old times, when the Romans first
came here, nineteen hundred years ago – the other day” (Conrad 1986, 137). The fact that Marlow
parallels nineteen hundred years and the other day proves that the conquest of the land is archetypal as
it is universal and eternally familiar. According to Eliade, the conquest of the foreign land which
represents the chaos is a paradigmatic repetition of the work of gods who created the cosmos. The
conquered land has to be consecrated to become cosmos or ‘our land’. However, the nonreligious man
who does assume the world as homogeneous does not consecrate the conquered land. Therefore the
cosmos is not created and the chaos remains which suggests that the land remains alien and hostile.
(Eliade 1996, p. 32-36)
In Conrad’s story, both the Romans in England and the Europeans in the jungle are portrayed as
men belonging to the profane world. Marlow’s story about the Romans reveals his own story in the
jungle. He tells about a Roman commander at “the very end of the world, a sea the color o lead, a sky
the color of smoke, a kind of ship about as rigid as a concertina – and going up this river with stores, or
orders, or what you like” (Conrad 1986, 137). He adds that “perhaps he was cheered by keeping his eye
on a chance of promotion to the fleet at Ravenna by and by, if he had good friend in Rome and survived
the awful climate (ibid.). The hero continues to tell about a descent young man who might have come
“to mend his fortunes”, and could not leave due to “the fascination of abomination – you know,
imagine the growing regrets, he longing to escape, the powerless disgust, the surrender, the hate” (ibid).
The same situation was in the jungle of Congo where the whites who had some relations in the
Administration of the Company were waiting for the promotion. However, to be more exact it should
be noted that both of the Romans share some similarities with Mr. Kurtz. The latter had many relations
in the Administration and the chief accountant said that “he will be a somebody in the Administration
before long. They, above – the Council in Europe <…> mean him to be” (ibid, 150). The manager of
the Central Station who wanted to take Kurtz position was frightened by “the influence that man must
have” (ibid, 161). The Russian told the hero that although sometimes Kurtz could not stand the region
“he hated sometimes the idea of being taken away – and then again” (ibid, 191). Marlow says that that
“they were conquerors, and for that you want only brute force – nothing to boast of, when you have it,
since your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others” (ibid, 138). The hero notes
that “the conquest of the earth <…> means taking it away from those who have a different complexion
or slightly flatter noses than ourselves” (Conrad 1986, 138) which is relevant for the Europeans who
conquered the jungle. Neither the Romans nor the Europeans managed to consecrate the foreign land.
Eliade mentions some ways of the consecration such as erection of an altar or raising of the Cross.
Although it may be assumed that bringing of civilization or establishing the facilities of the civilized
world such as a railway is a way to “consecrate” the unknown land, both the Romans in England and
the Europeans in the jungle conquered lands for the sake of profit.
Marlow viewed the Romans as conquerors of England who “grabbed what they could for the
sake of what was to be got” (Conrad 1986, 138). They were violent robbers, and Marlow thought that
the conquest might be redeemed by an idea only. The idea Marlow had in mind was not “a sentimental
pretense but an idea; and an unselfish belief in the idea – something you can set up, and bow down
before, and offer a sacrifice to” (ibid.). The idea Marlow spoke of was the idea of colonization 37. It was
believed that a colonist was “something like an emissary of light, something like a lower sort of
apostle” (ibid, 143) and that his mission was to wean “those ignorant millions of their horrid ways”
(ibid, 143). However, in Conrad’s story, the only person “equipped with moral ideas of some sort”
(ibid, 161) was Mr. Kurtz who did not manage to implement them and on the contrary he “raided the
country” (ibid, 184). Marlow also tells about the “Eldorado Exploring Expedition” (ibid, 160) which
was lead by the uncle of the manager of the central station where Marlow stayed and where from he
headed towards the station of Mr. Kurtz. Eldorado was a legendary land in the northern Andes of South
America. It symbolizes a rich abounding land (Becker, 66). Edgar Allan Poe in his poem Eldorado
implies that one may gain spiritual wealth from the quest of the Eldorado land. In the poem the pilgrim
Shadow tells the knight where to find the Eldorado.
"Over the mountains
Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,"
The shade replied "If you seek for Eldorado!"
The “Valley of the Shadow” may be paralleled to the jungle where the darkness prevails. Thus,
it may be suggested that in the jungle one may acquire spiritual growth. However, in the situation with
“Eldorado Exploring Expedition”, Conrad ironically calls them pilgrims whose mission was: “to tear
treasure out of the bowels of the land was their desire, with no more moral purpose at the back of it that
there is in burglars breaking into a safe” (Conrad 1986, 160). Therefore, the land remained complete
chaos and was hostile for the conquerors as if “Nature herself had tried to ward off intruders” (ibid,
Colonization occurs whenever any one or more species populate an area. The term is derived from the Latin ‘colere’, "to
inhabit, cultivate, frequent, practice, tend, guard, respect". Colonization refers to the establishment of settler colonies,
trading posts, and plantations, colonialism deals with this and the ruling of the inhabitants of new territories.
The parallel of the environment viewed by the Romans in England and the Europeans in the
jungle of Congo may be drawn. For the Romans the land of Great Britain was no more than
sand-banks, marshes, forests, savages, - precious little to eat fit for a civilized man, nothing but
Thames water to drink. No Falernian wine here, no going ashore. Here and there a military camp lost in
a wilderness, like a needle in a bundle of hay – cold, fog, tempests, disease, exile, and death, – death
skulking in the air, in the water, in the bush. They must have been dying like flies here. (ibid, 137)
The Europeans in the jungle experienced the same hostile atmosphere. Marlow said that he and
his crew “fed out of tins, with an occasional old he-goat thrown in (ibid, 170), the people died so quick
that there was no time to send them back to Europe. He described going up the river like
traveling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when the vegetation rioted on the earth
and the big trees were kings. An empty stream, a great silence, an impenetrable forest. The air was
warm, thick, heavy, sluggish. There was no joy in the brilliance of the sunshine. The long stretches of
the waterway ran on, deserted, into the gloom of overShadowed distances. On silvery sandbanks hippos
and alligators sunned themselves side by side. The broadening waters flowed through a mob of wooded
islands; you lost your way on that river as you would in a desert, and butted all day long against shoals,
trying to find the channel, till you thought yourself bewitched and cut off forever from everything you
had known once – somewhere – far away – in another existence perhaps (ibid, 163).
The chaos was manifested in the deplorable states of the stations of the Europeans as well.
Marlow called the first station he had reached an “inhabited devastation” (ibid, 146). The whites were
supposed to cultivate the region, in other words, to ‘cosmicize’ it, but “the objectless blasting was all
the work going on” (ibid, 146). There were houses “amongst the waste of excavations” (ibid.), and such
waste as “a boiler wallowing in the grass, <…> an undersized railway-truck lying there on its back
with its wheels in the air” (ibid, 146), etc. Another example of the chaotic and purposeless work of the
white invaders was
a vast artificial hole somebody has been digging on the slope, the purpose of which I found it
impossible to divine. It wasn’t a quarry or a sandpit, anyhow. It was just a hole. It might have been
connected with the philanthropic desire of giving the criminals something to do. I don’t know. Then
nearly I fell into a narrow ravine, almost no more than a scar on the hillside. I discovered that a lot of
imported drainage-pipes for the settlement had been tumbled in there. There wasn’t one that was not
broken. It was a wanton smashup. (ibid, 147)
The chaos is felt even more obviously in the Central station which
was on a backwater surrounded by scrub and forest, with a pretty border of smelly mud on one
side, and on the three others enclosed by a crazy fence of rushes. A neglected gap was all the gate it
had, and the first glance at the place was enough to let you see a flabby devil was running this show”.
The chaotic state of the station was the result of the objectless activity of the white invaders. No
work was done at all at the Central station, and people “beguiled the time by backbiting and intriguing
against each other in a foolish kind of way” (ibid, 155). They all desired “to get appointed to a tradingpost where ivory was to be had, so that they could earn percentages” (ibid.). Marlow’s remark reveals
that the purpose of the whites’ coming to the jungle was to “make no end of coin by trade” (ibid, 140).
Thus, until they got appointed these men
were strolling aimlessly about in the sunshine of the yard. <…> They wandered here and there
with their absurd long staves in their hands, like a lot of faithless pilgrims bewitched inside a rotten
fence” (ibid, 153).
The epithet “faithless” suggests that the world for pilgrims has lost its ‘sacrality’, thus they
represent the profane world. Eliade states that for the man of the profane mode of being in the world
the function of the habitation is “to allow men to work and rest in order that they may work” (Eliade
1996, 50). The ‘desacralization’ of the habitation is due to the process of transformation “made possible
by the desacralization of the cosmos accomplished by scientific thought and above all by the
sensational discoveries of physics and chemistry38” (Eliade 1996, 51).
2.3.2 The religious nature of the native people.
Contrary to the profane mode demonstrated by the colonizers, the sacred mode of being of the
native people may be proved. Eliade proposes that a religious man charges nature and the world of
objects with ‘sacrality’. Marlow described the fireman who fired up the boiler on the steamboat. The
latter was instructed that if “the water in that transparent thing disappear, the evil spirit inside the boiler
would get angry through the greatness of his thirst, and take a terrible vengeance” (Conrad 1986, 166).
Therefore, he not only believed in the spirit within the boiler, but “sweated and fired up and watched
the glass fearfully” (ibid.). Another example is also related to the steamboat. When attacked by the
natives, the “pilgrims” were “squirting lead into the bush” (ibid, 174), but it had no effect except that
the smoke covered the river, and Marlow could not see “the ripple or the snag either” (ibid.) which was
on his way. It was not until Marlow felt the “line of steam-whistle, and jerked out screech after screech
Eliade may have suggested such discoveries which explain the phenomena of lightning, solar eclipse, the cycle of night
and day and the seasons, etc.
hurriedly” (ibid, 175). When the attack has ceased and there was silence again. Later on it was
confirmed by the Russian who suggested the same strategy: “one good screech would do more for you
than all your rifles” (ibid, 182). The natives worshiped and feared the objects of technical progress that
they did not know and had no idea about them. They imputed supernatural powers to strange things. As
Marlow understood the steamboat was considered as the “splashing, thumping, fierce river-demon
beating the water with its terrible tail and breathing black smoke into the air” (ibid, 195).
The only white person who had overcome the chaos of the jungle was the chief accountant
whose “appearance was certainly that of a hairdresser’s dummy; but in the great demoralization of the
land he kept up his appearance” (ibid, 148–149). Although he managed to teach a native woman to take
care of his linen, he claimed it was “extremely difficult to guard against clerical errors in this climate”
(ibid, 149). It should be stated that his work and appearance were the only things that helped him to
maintain in the jungle. Marlow told that while staying at the first station he “lived in a hut in the yard,
but out be out of chaos I would sometimes get into the accountant’s office” (ibid.). When a caravan
came to the station the accountant remarked that if “one has got to make correct entries, one comes to
hate those savages – hate them to death” (ibid, 150). His work was his way to consecrate the land and
create his cosmos and the errors endangered it to retrogress into chaos. However, his consecration was
completely of the profane nature, thus, his cosmos stretched as far as his office.
The following examples of the rites show the natives representing ‘homoreligiosus’. Marlow
told that Mr. Kurtz presided at “certain midnight dances ending with unspeakable rites, which – as far
as I reluctantly gathered from what I heard at various times – were offered up to him – do you
understand? – to Mr. Kurtz himself” (ibid, 179). When Marlow woke up at the station of Mr. Kurtz,
the monotonous beating of a drum filled the air with muffled shocks and a lingering vibration.
A steady droning sound of many men chanting each to himself some weird incantation came out from
the black, flat wall of the wood […] and had a strange narcotic effect upon my half-awake senses
(Conrad 1986, 192).
Throughout the story Marlow mentions “the tremor of far-off drums, sinking, swelling, a tremor
vast, faint; a sound weird appealing, suggestive, and wild, – and perhaps with as profound a meaning as
the sound of bells in Christian country” (ibid, 150). The repeated encounter with the sound of drums
suggests that the rites were performed regularly and had a great meaning to the native people. Whereas
the parallel between the drums and the bells implies that they had a religious aspect in themselves. The
fact that Marlow found the meaning of the drums to be similar as that of the bells, suggests that he is
capable to accept the cosmos of the natives. It should be also noted that he does represent neither the
profane nor the sacred mode of being. His aim is not to conquer or civilize the land, thus he accepts it
as the temporal environment.
When facing Kurtz at night only thirty yards from the nearest fire Marlow noticed how “a black
figure stood up, strode on long black legs, waving long black arms, across the glow. It had horns –
antelope horns, I think – on its head (ibid, 193)”. 39
The repetition of the epithet “black” implies that the meaning of the rite was impenetrable for
the outsiders. Although Marlow was not a typical representative of an industrial society, still he could
not understand its meaning. Another example of the rite in Conrad’s story is described when Marlow
was leaving the station with Kurtz on board. Taking the steamboat for a river-demon, the natives
performed a rite to stop it because they did not want Mr. Kurtz to leave. They knew that could not
destroy it with their weapons. Marlow saw a mob of people in front of whom
three men, plastered with bright red earth from head to foot, strutted to and fro restlessly. When
we came abreast again, they faced the river, stamped their feet, nodded their horned heads, swayed their
scarlet bodies; they shook towards the fierce river-demon a bunch of black feathers, a mangy skin with
a pendent tail – something that looked like dried gourd; they shouted periodically together strings of
amazing words that resembled no sounds of human language; and the deep murmurs of the crowd,
interrupted suddenly, were like the responses of some satanic litany (Conrad 1986, 195).
The “satanic litany” suggests that they worshiped the dark powers of the land which may be
embodied in Mr. Kurtz who used to “preside at certain midnight dances ending with unspeakable rites,
which <…> were offered up to him” (ibid, 179).These quotations reveal that the natives demonstrate
the sacred mode of being. Thus, according to Eliade, they must have assumed the world as not
homogeneous (Eliade 1996, 20). He claims that for a religious man there is cosmos, or ‘our world’ and
chaos, or ‘their world’. The suggests that if ‘our world’ is created by the repetition of the paradigmatic
work of gods, the cosmogony, then the enemies who attack ‘our world’ are assimilated to the enemies
of gods and seen as demons. The demons attempt to annihilate the cosmos and establish or re-establish
the chaos. The concept of ‘our world’ may embrace the whole country, city or village. Any destruction
is assimilated to a decline and thus to chaos. In The Myth of Eternal Return Eliade mentions the myth
of ancient Hebrew where it is stated that a temporal victory of demons is possible. In Conrad’s story,
from the perspective of the natives the whites are equivalent to demons as they attack the world of the
natives taken by them as sacred. After such attacks the villages of the blacks got deserted and looked
chaotic. Marlow was told about the Danish captain who “whacked the old nigger mercilessly” (Conrad
Italics mine (Artūras Cechanovičius).
1986, 140) and was killed in defense by his son. When Marlow went to take care of the remains of the
captain, he found the bones in high grass and an empty village:
the supernatural being had not been touched after he fell. And the village was deserted, the huts
gaped black, rotting, all askew within the fallen enclosures. A calamity had come to it, sure enough. The
people had vanished. Mad terror had scattered them, men, women, and children, through the bush, and
they had never returned (ibid.).
Marlow also mentions the solitude felt in the jungle because “the population had cleared out
long time ago, <…> the dwellings were gone, too” (ibid, 150). Moreover, he passed through “several
abandoned villages” (ibid.). The very fact that the villages were abandoned or vanished shows that the
cosmos of the natives was turned into the chaos. As Eliade maintains, “human beings cannot live in
chaos” (Eliade 1996, 34).
Although the white people represent the profane mode of being, the images of chaos and
cosmos are familiar to their mind. Marlow notes that “if a lot of mysterious niggers armed with all
kinds of fearful weapons suddenly took to traveling on the road between Deal and Gravesend 40,
catching the yokels right and left to carry heavy loads for them, I fancy every farm and cottage
thereabouts would get empty very soon” (Conrad 1986, 150). Consider Eliade:
It is worth observing that the same images are still used in our own day to formulate the
dangers that threaten a certain type of civilization; we speak of the chaos, disorder, the darkness that
will overwhelm “our world”. All these terms express the abolition of an order, a cosmos, an organic
structure, and reimmersion in the fluidity, of formelessness – in short, of chaos (Eliade 1996, 49).
It should be stated that the sacred mode of being of the natives is revealed in the restraint of the
cannibals whom Marlow had on his ship. The cannibals who had been hungry for months did not attack
Marlow or other people on board. Marlow believed that it was due to restraint, but he also believed that
restraint cannot deal with “gnawing devils of hunger” (Conrad 1986, 171) and that “no fear can stand
up to hunger, no patience can wear it out, disgust simply does not exist where hunger is; and as to
superstitions and beliefs, and what you may call principles, they are less than chaff in a breeze” (ibid.).
However, as Eliade maintains for the religious man, the sacred also manifests itself in food. The
cannibals did not attack the whites since they represented the demonic powers of chaos which enslaved
the cannibals to serve them. The dependency of the cannibals upon the whites is implied by the fact
that their headman asked Marlow to catch other blacks who were on the bank of the river and give to
them to be eaten. They also showed their loyalty and obedience when Marlow had thrown the corpse of
Coastal cities in England.
the helmsman, who was killed during the attack on the steamboat, over the board instead of giving him
to the cannibals. He heard “a very ominous murmur on the deck below” (ibid, 180), but they still did
not attack. It may also be assumed that the cannibals ate only those who were killed in a battle which
suggests their ritualistic eating. There were tribes who believed that eating your enemy’s body would
give you his strength. On the board of the steamboat they ate the rotten meat of the hippopotamus
which was thrown over the board by the white people because it had a terrible smell and thus they
remained with “only thing to eat – though it didn’t look eatable at all – I saw in their possession was a
few lumps of some stuff like half-cooked dough, of a dirty lavender color, they kept wrapped in leaves,
and now and then swallowed a piece of, but so small that it seemed done more for the looks of the thing
than for any serious purpose of sustenance” (ibid, 170).
In Heart of Darkness, the conquest of the Congo region is archetypal or paradigmatic as it
imitates the attack of the demons of the land of gods in order to destroy the cosmos and establish the
chaos. The contention between the powers of chaos and the inhabitants of cosmos who imitate the work
of gods began in the beginning of time, ab origine, is present till today. However, the people
representing the profane mode of being in the world do not recognize the archetype consciously
although they use the same images as the people who belong to the sacred mode of being. The sacred
manifests itself in objects and everyday activity, such as eating. However, these manifestations are true
only for archaic societies who have preserved the sacred mode of being in the world.
The analysis of the archetypal patterns in Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness has
provided the following conclusions.
Carl Gustav Jung’s theory of Individuation involving the major archetypes of the Shadow, the
Anima/Animus and the Self made a great impact on literary theory and criticism and literary work. The
process of Individuation is archetypally recognized as the Hero’s journey, the term proposed by Joseph
Campbell. It frames the story in the following way: the Hero is urged to leave his familiar space, or the
realm of the conscious, and enter an unknown and dangerous space, or the unconscious, where he faces
various tests and trials. Then he encounters this Shadow figure, a psychological projection of himself,
that he has to integrate. Afterwards, the Hero faces his Anima which he has to integrate, as well. The
Self comes into focus, too, since it assists the Hero in dealing with all the difficulties providing him
with useful hints and necessary knowledge. The last ordeal the Hero faces is the threat of death. After
having coped with all the ordeals tests and integrated the Shadow and the Anima, he reaches
Individuation and acquires the wholeness of his psyche. In Campbell’s terms, the Hero’s journey may
end in the transcendental way of life like in the case of the Buddha or simply gain the knowledge of
himself and the world. The pattern of the Hero’s journey has been observed in Conrad’s novella, too.
The protagonist and the teller of the story represents the Hero. According to the discussed
scheme he leaves the familiar space of Europe and enters the unknown and hostile space of the Congo
jungle and the river where he undergoes his testing. His mission is symbolical. He has to solve the
mystery of Mr. Kurtz, another central character of the novella. Mr. Kurtz is a symbolically
psychological representation of the Hero’s Shadow, and his determination to come back to Europe
symbolizes the Hero’s integration of the Shadow from the realm of his unconscious to his conscious
As Jung proposes, the Self assists the Hero in overcoming the obstacles and integrating the
Shadow. In the novella, the Self is represented by the character of the Russian. The Russian, like the
Jungian Self, prepares Marlow to face Mr. Kurtz, or his own Shadow. The scholar also notes that the
Self operates within the frame of fourfold structure: the Russian gives Marlow two pieces of advice and
warns him twice; hence he helps him four times. Marlow, or the Hero, gives him four objects in return.
The pattern of the Individuation has also been observed in Heart of Darkness: here Marlow
confronts his Anima, or the feminine soul. However, the encounter with the Anima is not traditionally
rendered and has a deviation from the Jungian pattern. Firstly, the Anima is represented by two women
and both of them are closer related to Mr. Kurtz, or the Shadow, than to Marlow. The first woman is
met by him in the jungle and she is Mr. Kurtz’ local mistress. Meanwhile the second woman is Kurtz’
fiancée, and Marlow meets her in Europe. The main decline from the archetypal pattern is found in
Marlow’s meeting the second figure representing the Anima after he has experienced the encounter
with death which, according to Campbell, should have been his last ordeal. Moreover, since Marlow
does not have a direct contact with the native woman, who has tried to prevent the Hero form the
integration of the Shadow, but comes to know the essence of the character through contemplating on
Kurtz and when meeting the latter’s fiancée he tells a lie to her and leaves her in the illusionary world
the hero has chosen not to integrate his Anima thus leaving her in the real of the unconscious. The
partial integration of the archetypes results in Marlow’s incomplete individuation. In the novella it is
symbolically represented by the image of the Buddha without the lotus flower.
Conrad’s Heart of Darkness has also been analyzed within the mythopoetic frame proposed by
Maud Bodkin in her Archetypal Pattern in Poetry. The scholar suggests that there are certain archetypal
patterns which may be found throughout the literary history. They include the archetypal themes and
images which evoke an emotional response in the reader’s mind enabling him/her to recognize the
encoded pattern. In the novella, the reader may recognize three archetypal patterns of the woman. The
first represents the woman as Mother-goddess. Bodkin illustrates this image by the figure of Thetis met
in Homer’s Iliad. This pattern has been applied for the analysis of Conrad’s novella. Here the figure of
Marlow’s aunt has been recognized as a representation of the Mother-goddess. The second pattern
distinguished by Bodkin is that of the woman Temptress which she finds in the Epic of Gilgamesh. The
pattern of goddess Ishtar has been recognized in the image of the Wilderness whose human
embodiment is found in the figure of black woman. The third mythological pattern extended by the
woman is the woman as the arbiter of fate. This archetypal pattern is met in Greek myths represented
by Moeraes, or Fates, the motif echoed by Romans in Parcaes and in Norse myths they are depicted as
Norns. In the novella, the Fates are embodied in the characters of two women whom Marlow met at the
reception to the Company he was going to Marlow work for. The women were knitting black wool
which symbolizes the thread of fate, an attribute of the Fates. The resemblance is also conveyed by the
with-like appearance of the old knitter.
Finally, the analysis has been made employing the insights of Mircea Eliade presented in his
study The Sacred and the Profane. Eliade distinguished two modes of being in the world, namely, the
sacred and the profane. He claims that the demonstrating people of the sacred mode of being, or
religious people, experience the world as not homogeneous and that they observe the manifestations of
the sacred, or hieropahies, in their everyday activity and objects. On the other hand, the representatives
of the profane mode of being, or non-religious people, have desacralized the objective reality and
assume the world as homogenous. Eliade maintains that religious people repeat the pattern of the
paradigmatic actions of gods. Thus, when they create a habitation, they imitate the cosmogony and
compose cosmos out of chaos. The ideas proposed by Eliade have been applied to Conrad’s Heart of
Darkness and the following conclusions have been drawn. The invasion of the Europeans to Africa is
viewed as a paradigmatic conquest of the land. The white people represent the profane mode of being
since they have not consecrated the conquered land and their sole interest is profit. Meanwhile, the
native people are portrayed as religious people who perform rites and believe that the objects of reality
possess spirits which may revenge if a person misbehaves. Thus, in Eliade’s terms, the blacks being
religious people assume the world as not homogeneous and distinguish between “our world”, or
cosmos, and “their world”, or chaos. The people of the jungle whose lands were invaded by the profitoriented Europeans might even take them for demons who attempted to destroy cosmos and establish
chaos which is obvious in the case of their temerarious worshiping of Mr. Kurtz.
Archetipinės kritikos mokykla tekstą vertin kaip jame esančių symbolių visumą. Archetipas –
tai simbolinis, pavyzdinis vaizdas ar situacija, kuri yra atpažįstama visų kultūrų žmonių, tai
daugkartinės protėvių partirties likučiai, kurie yra žmogaus pasąmonėje. Pasąmonė – tai asmens psichės
dalis, kurioje kaupiama nesąmoningai įgyta partirtis, nuslopintos mintys, norai bei polėkiai. Pasąmonė
stipriai įtakoja žmogaus gyvenimą, nes veikia asmens sąmonę. Pasąmonė dažniausiai pasiekiama per
sapnus, kuriuose, archetipų pagalba, ji nurodo žmogui ką reikėtų keisti šiuo gyvenimo laikotarpiu. Jei
asmuo nereaguoja į pasąmonės žinutes ir nieko nekeičia, ji gali pasireikšti psichiniai sutrikimais.
Sapnuose dažniausiai aptinkami archetipai yra šešėlio, animos ar Animus bei Savasties. Šešėlis – tai
tamsioji Ego pusė, kurią asmuo yra linkęs neigti. Šis archetipas sapnuose pasirodo tamsia, tos pačies
lyties kaip ir sapnuojantysis figūra. Anima yra moteriškoji vyro pusė, o Animus vyriškoji moters pusė.
Jei vyras ar moteris nepripažįsta savo vidinės antrosios pusės ji pasireikšia kaip tamsi ir naikinanti
būtybė. Jei Anima ir Animus yra pripažįstami tuomet jie pasireiškia teigiamu pavidalu. Savastis tai
nukreipaintysis centras, kuris valdo individuacijos procesą, ir yra asmens psichikos branduolys. Ji veda
žmogų savęs atradimo link. Individuacija tai procesas, kai asmuo pripažįsta ir integruoja savo šešėlį,
integruoja Anima ar Animus ir Ego, jis atranda save. Šie archetipai ir individuacijos procesas yra
atskleisti Džozefo Konrado kūrinyje „Tamsos širdis“. Marlou, pagrindinis veikėjas, susitinka su savo
šešėliu, ponu Kurtzu, ir, padedamas Savasties, pavaizduotos ruso personaže, jį integruoja. Jis taip pat
pamato savo neigiamą animą, kuri atsiskleidžia juodaodės moters personaže. Be šių pagrindinių
archetipų atrandami ir mitologiniai archetipų modeliai. Kūrinyje, pagal „Iliados“ ir „Gilgamešo epo“
modelius vaizduojamas moters, kaip deivės-motinos ir kaip gundytojos, paveikslai. Deivės-motinos
paveikslas atsiskleidžia Marlou tetos charakteryje, o gundytoją simboliškai atitinka džiunglės, vėliau
įkūnytos juodaodės moters paveiksle. Taip pat kūrinyje atsiskleidžia du buvimo pasaulyje būdai:
šventasis ir pasaulietiškas. Šventąjį gyvenimo tipą atitinką vietiniai džiunglių gyventojai, kurie
daiktuose mato šventybės pasireiškimą ir yra pasižymi religingumu, o pasaulietiškąjį tipą atitinką
Europos kolonistai, kurie yra atitrūkę nuo simbolinio pasaulio.
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