He looks at the water and as the sun sets and darkness comes, he starts describing the river and its history. He says that people come and go but the river stays. If you pass through it, you can feel the history of it. He starts talking about very old times when Romans first came to England. And he starts talking about the journey of a Roman soldier on his way to “the very end of the world”. He talks about all of the things that go through the soldier’s mind, and why the soldier remains despite the difficulties.
By the end of the story, with Kurtz’s death, the reader discovers there is a connection between this opening scene and Marlow’s experience in Africa. Everything that the Roman soldier has been through and thought is the same as what Marlow has been through and thought. In the opening, Marlow says,” I was thinking of very old times, When the Romans first came here, nineteen hundred years ago – the other day … Light came out of this River since – you say Knights”. He talks here about when Rome was the most powerful country and dominated many countries in the world .
At that time; the measurement of power was taking land and possessions. The conquerors used brute force, Marlow says, “They were conquerors, and for that you want only brute force” Rome came to conquer Britain and the climate was different. The culture was different; Roman soldiers saw it as a misery to be in Britain. They couldn’t wait to go home. The only thing that kept the Romans in England was the hope for promotion In Marlow’s time Britain set out to civilize Africa, to help develop the country and make the people more independent. But, they didn’t do that.
In actuality, Britain conquered Africa the same way that Rome had conquered Britain. They took ivory, land, slaves, as Rome had taken everything. The same way that the Romans had seen the British as savages and taken advantage of their weakness, the British saw the Africans as savages and used them as slaves, and didn’t care what happened to them The Russian says, “heads drying on the stakes under Mr. Kurtz’s windows. After all, that was only a savage sight, while I seemed at one bound to have been transported into some lightness region of subtle horrors. ” The British were afraid of the dark green tropical land.
The only thing that kept the British workers in Africa was the ivory and the money. But what kept Marlow in Africa was the fact that land was not explored and he wanted to explore it. That was his motivation in the beginning. But Marlow struggled a lot in Africa because he wasn’t used to the culture, the land, the climate. Once the Romans got to Britain many of them got sick and died from diseases that they got on their journey and the fact that they weren’t used to the weather. In Marlow’s allegory, he says, “death skulking in the air, in the water, in the bush. ” Marlow uses this same description later in the book to describe Africa.
He goes to sit next to the ivory station while he was waiting for his ship to take him into the Congo to meet Kurtz and he notices that he is surrounded by dead bodies. He sees dead bodies half on land, half in the river. Marlow says, [“Near the same tree two more bundles of acute angles sat with their legs drawn up. One with his chin propped on his knees, stared at nothing, in an intolerable and appalling manner: his brother phantom rested its forehead as if over-come with a great weariness; and all about others were scattered in every pose of contorted collapse, as in some picture of a massacre or a pestilence.
“] When the Roman soldiers came to kill the British partisans, the partisans did not give in. They fought until the end. Marlow said they had the hearts of wild men. In Africa, when Marlow was on the ship, an African tribe jumped on the ship. Marlow and “the Russian fought them. In the end, Marlow put on the siren to scare them away, but they had already killed two people on the ship and lost many of their own. Although they knew that they were going to die, they were not scared to attack the ship.
Marlow describes the behavior of the Roman soldiers during the British conquest. He says ” the conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much “, However in the middle of his description he suddenly refers to “Those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves”. In this statement, we can see that Marlow starts to relate to what happens in the book, about him going to Africa.