Essay 5 The nature of man is often represented in novels as both dark and light. In Joseph Conrad’s novella, “Heart of Darkness,” the ambiguous nature of man is explored in each character and enhanced by Conrad’s abundant use of detail. Conrad reveals this ambiguous nature through the specific diction employed in the details Marlow observes on his journey into the “Heart of Darkness.” The meaning of the phrase “Heart of Darkness” can be construed both literally and figuratively. Regardless of whether it is defined as the center of the jungle or the dark nature which lays within all humans an ambiguity within the title and detail reveals a certain ambiguity of the nature of man. Throughout the novella Marlow is ventures further into the atrocities of the darkness and as his initial observations turn dark, so too does Marlow’s nature. The contrasting nature of many characters Marlow meets creates a veil of ambiguity over what the true nature of man may actually be. The duality of man’s nature is further explored by Conrad’s contrasting of the characters Marlow and Kurtz. While Kurtz is unable to escape “the horror, the horror” of death, Marlow is able to overcome the dark sickness which overtakes him. This recovery further supports the ambiguity and unknown true nature of man. While based on previous actions a man may appear to be dark, he is still able to pull away from darkness and return to light if he is strong enough. Throughout the novella, the contrasting natures of Marlow and Kurtz lead the reader to an unclear and ambiguous conclusion as to what the true nature of man may be. Within Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” the author illuminates the duality of man’s nature and proposes the theory that man’s nature is not singular, but comprised of two spectrums which can be determined by the action each man takes.