Writing

Answer the following question after reading Heart of Darkness How are women treated andor portrayed in Conrad’s ‘Heart of darkness’

Conrad possibly employs women characters in his short novel "Heart of Darkness" in a way that reflect the archaic perspectives concerning women, and takes more primitive demeaning view point (Conrad 2000). Three major characters in this story namely, the aunt of Mr. Marlow, the African mistress of Mr. Kurtz, and his fianc are used to present different moods and apply twist to the story. Conrad also used two knitting women to symbolize the nature of human fate and to enlighten Mr. Marlow, before his departure to the dark region of Africa, the chaos and anarchy employed by western colonizers on the black African natives. Whether Conrad’s treatment of women in Heart of Darkness project extraordinarily complex male understanding of women, or puts the reader to contrasting pictures of women is interesting to explore.
Characterization of women in the ancient Greek to the present, and view point of Conrad calls for a rational view. Greek literature display power and authority in women and Homer was a master in presenting women in this role. For understanding Conrad, a deep and critical analysis of the social system and male prejudice about women, during the period of writing "Heart of Darkness," is essential to understand his motive in presenting three major characters in different colors in this novella. …
Greek literature, particularly The Odyssey of Homer, present woman as strong driving force behind man and the characters Penelope, Naussica, and Anticlia are good examples. Penelope, a faithful and loving wife of Odysseus, is a perfect, devoted, strong person and "blessed in the possession of a wife endowed with such rare excellence of understanding and so faithful to her wedded lord." (Homer 2000 p.256). It clearly depicts the powerful role of women in Greek literature.
Conrad also used women very sparingly in Heart of Darkness, but in a way that reflect the archaic perspectives concerning women, and takes more primitive demeaning viewpoint. In Heart of Darkness no explicit narrative is used by Conrad to describe women’s role except a whole page on the African woman, that too towards the end of the story. Conrad used only three major female characters in the form of: an influential aunt of Mr. Marlow in the beginning. the savage, imposing Black African women, the mistress of Mr. Kurtz in the middle. and the modest white lady, the intended of Mr. Kurtz in the end of the story. The white and black female characters are presented in contrasting status and it is a reflection of prejudice present in Conrad. Marlow considers white women as the keepers of the flame at home and the purest form of belief in their society. In the words of Marlow, "I tried the women. I, Charlie Marlow, set the women to work-to get the job" is clear example to show that in the view of Conrad women are simple medium to attain the men’s ambitions (Conrad. 2000. p. 22).
Again the male exploitive notion drove Marlow to his aunt, an ‘enthusiastic soul’ whom knew the wife of a very ‘high personage in the Administration" and she was determined to make no end a fuss to get him appointed

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