Anna NycumEN 110-12Draft 3Blacks, Whites, and All the Shades of GreyCaptains Charlie Marlow of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darknessand Amasa Delano of Herman Melville’s Benito Cerenoboth encounter evil while working as seamen. Facing this evil is not easy for either captain because the areas of right and wrong are clouded by the consequences of their actions. Marlow is kinder to the Africans and chooses to be respectful while Delano acts out of his ignorance and societal pressures to confront evil. In my opinion, Captain Marlow acted more honorablyand effectively because of his restraint and respect for human life and dignity.While Marlow is not necessarily ready to accept the native Africans as human beings equal to whites, he is still respectful to the natives and Africans he had working on his ship. He talks highly of the trained black man who works on the steamboat. He often comments on how horrible it is to watch the other men mistreat the natives at the stations. When he first sees the starving people underneath the trees, he struggles to call them human; not because he does not think of them as humans, but because they are so thin and close to death from starvation and abuse. He seems moved by this scene: “I found nothing else to do but to offer him one of my good Swede’s ship’s biscuits I had in my pocket. The fingers closed slowly on it and held – there was no other movement and no other glance.” (Conrad 17) Marlow feels sympathy for these sickly people because he knows they should not be treated in this way.Marlow also shows a lot of respect and sympathy for Mr. Kurtz, even though he did not deserve it. Since Kurtz was frail and weak, it would have been easy for Marlow
Nycum 2to strangle him and continue on his way. Instead, Marlow decides that even though he has done horrible, evil things, Kurtz is still human and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. He even assures Kurtz that his name would still be worthy of praise.“’Your success in Europe is assured in any case,’ I affirmed steadily.” (Conrad 65) Marlow could have tried to take the jungle out of Kurtz, but instead, he recognizes that the best course of action is to take Kurtz out of the jungle.