Joseph Conrad’s trip up a river in the Congo Free State of Africa gives details as to how this state was treated under the King of Belgium’s control. Heart of Darkness condemns imperialism, but it does so through the white eyes of Conrad. The book has received some criticism for the “white point of view” assumed in some of Conrad’s observations.
Conrad uses the character of Marlow to tell his story, as they look for the ivory trader Kurtz. The closer that Marlow gets, the more he realizes that Kurtz has been corrupted, and has become part of the savage life that he now lives with. As Marlow and his crew move up the river the danger increases, and they face a chilling ambush.
Kurtz’s camp is reached, but he is close to death. The natives are depraved and it is a dangerous situation. Kurtz, and of course, all the ivory that they can load, are taken back, but Kurtz doesn’t make the complete trip back alive and his last words, before he dies, are “The Horror, The Horror!”
The book attempts to present deep insight into human nature, but it is hard to follow. The plot and characters are similar to the movie “Apocalypse Now”, right down to Kurtz, who has the same name in both.
The movie is set in Southeast Asia, in a war setting. The book's story takes place Africa, in an overall setting of exploitation. The focus movie seems more focused on, oddly enough, “The Horror” of the situation.