ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Theme of Colonialism in "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad

Updated on February 19, 2020
Malik Samreen Fatima profile image

Samreen has a keen interest in all aspects of Literature and writes extensively on the subject.

Theme of Colonialism in "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad

Themes are often universal ideas explored in a literary work. In the novel 'Heart of Darkness' there are many themes but Colonialism and imperialism are most important. Basically this novel is set on river Congo. Congo brought partition of Africa. European had set a conference and decided that all European countries should be free to enter into the interior of Africa.

Marlow says in this novel that white man had failed in their purpose to civilize the natives of dark continent, Africa. Whether, they had come with the purpose of civilizing the uncivilised natives of Africa but they themselves turn into brutes and exploit the natives of Africa.

In Congo there was a Bulgian king who was ruling. Bulgian trading companies send it's agent for trade. Like Bulgian agent, Mr Kurtz had come for trade but here he started collecting ivory.

Ivory was the chief concern of European. They collect ivory and sent it to Europe. Ivory is the symbol of European's greed and commercial mentality. These Europeans occupied Congo without any consideration that there already people are inhabited.

Marlow describes those sights which he has seen in Congo, which depicts misery of natives. Manager of central station told Marlow that Mr Kurtz collects more quantity of ivory than all other agents collect together. A Russian told Marlow about Mr Kurtz that Mr Kurtz threatened him to give him ivory which had gifted from native tribal chief.

Marlow depicts miserable picture of the natives of Congo. Marlow sees people most of them were naked and treated like insects. An other occasion he sees half a dozen of people chained to each other.

In conclusion, we can say that Colonialism and imperialism are most prominent themes of the novel 'Heart of Darkness' , in which exploitation of European countries is very beautifully described. And how they had come with false slogan to civilize the natives of Congo with the hidden attention to exploit the Africans. Through this novel Joseph Conrad exposes Europeans who exploit on the name of civilization.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)