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Machiavellian Echoes in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness
Syed Ziaullah Shah
Conrad’s fiction, this thesis argues, reveals his ambivalent response to the experiences of ruthlessness and cruelty in the form of adopting Machiavellian strategies. On one hand, Conrad's notorious obscurity attempts to criticize a world that has been thoroughly mapped and remapped for the sake of the selfish motives of some powerful states. On the other, Conrad's formal innovations inextricably coupled with his spatial imagination unveil the reality of the selfish and utilitarian behavior of humans. The dissertation addresses the ‘state of qualitative inquiry’ twice; first, re-imagining the character of Kurtz as the Machiavellian prince; second, as an experiment in thinking and proving Congo as Machiavellian principality. The theoretical framework mainly focuses on Machiavellian philosophy supported by post-colonialism and new historicism while the method is close reading. The findings are the chaos in result of ‘Machiavellianism’ and dishevelment created by it in the present society in general and the world in particular. It offers a working example by connecting the past with the present to pave the way for a bright future.