Heart of Darkness/Blood Diamond

Last Updated: 24 Jun 2020
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Greed is the Root of All Evil Greed exists at the centre of evil on not only an individual level, but also that of a communal and global level. Contextually there is a superficial alteration in the stimulus (Ivory vs. diamond) for greed and of global awareness towards the issue, although in the century that separates Joseph Conrad’s exploration of colonial regime in his novella Heart of Darkness and Edward Zwick’s post-colonial film Blood Diamond, the values driving the major characters and factions from the different texts are comparably similar.

In both texts, there are individuals showcasing major facets motivated by greed, obsessed with the stimulus that is presented in either century. In Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the character ‘Kurtz’ is primarily stimulated by greed. His obsession with ivory was at an extreme where main character ‘Marlow’ refers to his physical appearance as “like a ball- an ivory ball” and as having an “ivory face. ” These respective simile and metaphors encapsulate how Kurtz had become gripped by ivory to the point where it was taking over his very being.

This description that Kurtz is placed in is carried through to his dying moments where “The brown current ran swiftly out of the Heart of Darkness-Kurtz’s life was running swiftly, too…” This indirect juxtaposition links the ideas of Kurtz’s life with the Heart of Darkness, not being a physical location, but an internalised nature representing Kurtz. These links of the rapacious Kurtz to a being of pure immorality is an insight into the overtaken existence of greed within individuals of evil.

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In similarity, is ‘Colonel Coetzee’ from Zwick’s Blood Diamond. This individual has a lust for wealth, one so overbearing that it blinds him from the fact that he destroys masses of lives to achieve his personal benefit. A scene that best represents this mindless mass murder for a cause that results in selfish profit is the Colonel’s order from the helicopter, “I don’t give a damn who’s down there, kill them all! ” A low angle close up shot of the centre framed helicopter is used, presenting it as an overpowering, menacing presence.

The line itself poses an emphasis on the Colonel’s voracious motives, suggesting he would kill his friend, and main character ‘Danny Archer’, if it means his war is won and his seldom benefits are received. There is considered intertextuality between this quote and that of Kurtz from Heart of Darkness. At the complete loss of morality from Kurtz, a quote marks this points “Exterminate all the brutes. ” These quotes juxtapose the two characters from the individual texts together and with it, their greedy purposes and malevolent natures, proving that the greed of an individual is the root of their co-existing evil.

Greed driven corruption is also existential on a communal level, both in Heart of Darkness and Blood Diamond. In Heart of Darkness, the Company is the centre of trade in the Congo, a seemingly legitimate industry, although with hidden voracious motives. “She talked about weaning those ignorant millions from their horrid ways-I ventured to hint that the Company was run for profit. ” This understatement made by Marlow expresses the Company’s care, or lack of, for the natives of the Congo, but in fact they only care to exploit the natural resources.

We are consistently hinted that their work isn’t “out there in the luminous estuary” but “within the brooding gloom. ” These binary opposites are repeatedly used in the novella to separate the ideas of light and dark with good and evil respectively, an extreme use of irony that Conrad persists with throughout the book. This mindless exploitation is an example of how greed can negatively affect a community. The communal effects of evil driven by rapacity in Blood Diamond, is displayed through the actions of the R. U.

F, the Revolutionary United Front. Their turning of native children into child soldiers and other locals into slave labourers, marks their negligence to human life so that they can gain wealth from the diamond trade. A heavily symbolistic scene in the film is the celebration following the overtake of Freetown in Sierra Leonne by the R. U. F. The loud, scratchy music accompanying the low key lighting in contrast to the bright blurred flames creates a sense of chaos and lack of morality, emphasised by the fast cuts and camera movement.

The chiaroscuro lighting on the character’s faces and the silhouettes juxtaposed to the bright fiery background symbolises their consummation by darkness. Several presentations of immoral acts are shown, dead bodies being strung, children consuming alcohol and drugs and the destruction of property, linking to the classical allusion of Dante’s Inferno, exemplifying pointless suffering and destruction. This, among other scenes, symbolises the complete carelessness for human life in the voracious scramble for Africa’s resources.

Although in the century that separates the two texts, awareness has grown dramatically, the global scale of corruption due to acts of greed are present in both texts. In Heart of Darkness, the novella ends back aboard the boat with Marlow and his crew as they are “lead into the heart of an immense darkness. ” The physical connotations of this quote is that the effects can be seen on the other side of the world in England, although ironically the Heart of Darkness doesn’t lie in both the Congo and the Thames but man himself, whose actions have a global effect; the actions of Kurtz. Upon the whole, the trade will suffer. I don’t deny there is a remarkable quantity of ivory-mostly fossil…” This quote demonstrates the global effect that Kurtz’s actions undertake, making a historical allusion to the fossil ivory that ended up in Siberia. This demonstrates the global effects that branches out from the corrupt actions of a greedy soul. In contrast, the global awareness to the situation in Blood Diamond was comparably increased to that of the nineteenth century, although the global effects of gluttony driven evil were evidently more severe. The third world is not a world apart” is an ironic statement represented by the heavily juxtaposed scenes between a G8 conference and the diamond fields of Sierra Leonne. The high key lighting of the conference opposed to the overcast lighting of the diamond fields along with the respective modern colour scheme and the dirty, unappealing colour scheme is contrasted with quick scene cuts to juxtapose the sheer difference between the two ‘separate worlds. ’ Although these two locations seem so distant, the effects are carried through from one to the other.

The conflict diamonds reach the stores of the first world but “are not ours to steal in the name of comfort, corporations, and consumerism. ” This captures the global effects that man’s greed enfolds, taking advantage of the actions of corruption for our own consumerism, or greed. So in the century that separates Joseph Conrad’s exploration of colonial regime in his novella Heart of Darkness and Edward Zwick’s post-colonial film Blood Diamond, there is sufficient evidence to remark that greed is the root of all evil in man, the effects pning not only the heart of man but within its community and on a global scale.

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Heart of Darkness/Blood Diamond. (2018, Jun 11). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/heart-of-darkness-blood-diamond/

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